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SSA News through July 14

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SSA News through July 14

EAST AFRICA

* Fitch Ratings downgraded Kenya's long-term local-currency issuerdefault rating to B+ from BB-, with a negative outlook, citing the trend of increasingcapital expenditure and delayed fiscal consolidation.

* Akin Majekodunmi, vice president and senior sub-Saharan Africa bankinganalyst at Moody's Financial Institutions Group, warned that the Central Bankof Kenya lacks the capacity to deal with a potential banking crisis and urgedthe regulator to overhaul its capacity to monitor and deal with potential bankfailures, Business Daily Africa reports.

* TheNairobi Securities Exchange obtained approval from Kenya's Capital MarketsAuthority to act as a self-regulatory organization and run a derivativesmarket, according toAfrican Markets. CEO GeoffreyOdundo said he expects the market to go live before the end of the year.

* TheKenyan subsidiary of South African insurer , which is ownedby Standard Bank GroupLtd., is planning to acquire 10 Kenyan insurers in the next fiveyears, Agence Ecofin reported.

* Some directors andmanagers of now-defunct Dubai Bank Kenya Ltd. were charged with conspiracy todefraud BANK OF AFRICA – KENYALtd. of more than 48 million Kenyan shillings, Daily Nation writes.

* Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda CEOIbrahim Kaddunabbi said the regulator is considering promoting Islamicinsurance following the introduction of Islamic banking in the country, The Observer wrote.Kaddunabbi said the move, slated for the first quarter of 2017, aims to expandthe range of insurance products offered to the private sector.

* ALTX Africa Group CEO Joseph Kitamirike toldReuters that the company this week inaugurated the ALTX East Africa Exchange, anew financial exchange in Uganda targeting smaller investors that do not tradeon the larger Uganda Securities Exchange.

WEST AFRICA

* Fitch Ratings took various on 13 Nigerian banks,including First Bank of NigeriaLtd., Zenith BankPlc and GuarantyTrust Bank Plc, following the recent downgrade of Nigeria'ssovereign rating. The agency said asset quality in the country's lenders hascontinued to weaken since its last review in February, and cited risingimpairments in lenders' commercial, trading and manufacturing books.

* The Central Bank of Nigeria is up to two other commercialbanks that failed recent liquidity tests. Tokunbo Martins, bankingsupervision director at the central bank, stressed that the banks beingmonitored are not in a state of distress and that the country's bankingindustry was healthy. The move follows the central bank's decisionto overhaul Skye BankPlc's management team and board of directors after it failed tomeet minimum capital requirements.

* S&P Global Ratings lowered Skye Bank's long-term counterparty credit ratingto CCC- from CCC+ , citing increased default risks after the Central Bankof Nigeria overhauled the lender's management team and board of directors.

* Ghana's parliament passed the Bank and Specialized Deposit-Taking Bill as part of efforts to improvethe country's financial regulations, PulseGhana reported. The new law will address restrictions on lending and investment, aswell as the taking of loans and deposits by financial companies with capitaladequacy ratios below the central bank's requirements.

* The IMF's July meeting to review Ghana's performance anddisburse the third tranche of loans to the country has been postponed toSeptember-end, accordingto Joy Business.

* SociétéIvoirienne de Banque SA will sell 2 million shares representing 20% of its totalshares, ahead of a planned listing on the West African regional stock exchange.The listing is part of the Ivorian government's plans to reduce itsholding in the bank.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Zambian Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda urgedIndo Zambia Bank Ltd.and Zambia National CommercialBank Plc to merge, ZambiaDaily Mail writes.Chikwanda also called on lenders to lower interest rates and contribute toeconomic growth, Zambia National Broadcasting Corp. reported.

* Banco BPISA shareholder Violas Ferreira suggested a mergingof Banco de Fomento AngolaSA, which is controlled by Banco BPI, and  as asolution to Banco BPI's exposure to Angola. However, such a deal would imply anend to Spanish lender CaixaBankSA's takeover bid for Banco BPI, Jornal de Negócios reported.The proposal has been presented to the relevant parties.

* Angola's finance ministry halved the country's 2016economic growth forecast to 1.3% from a previous forecast of 3.3% and slashedgovernment spending by $6 billion to $24 billion as the slump in crude oilprices cut state revenues, Reuters wrote.

* Moody's downgraded Mozambique's issuer and senior unsecured debtratings to Caa3 from Caa1, reflecting its assessment of the government'sreduced willingness to honor its debt-related obligations in the face ofliquidity pressures, after state-owned firm Mozambique Asset Management in Maymissed an interest payment of approximately $40 million on a loan thatreportedly amounts to $500 million. 

* FirstRandLtd. unit appointed Leonard Haynes CEO, Reuters noted.Haynes, former CEO of FirstNational Bank of Namibia Ltd., will succeed Johan Maree, who ismoving to another role within the FirstRand group.

CENTRAL AFRICA

* Authoritiesuncovered a 12-year-old embezzling network at Groupe BPCE unit Banque Internationale du Cameroun Pour l'Epargne et leCrédit, Agence Ecofin reported.Investigators said more than €75 million was siphoned off through overchargesand fictitious invoices by the bank, which is 17.5%-owned by the government ofCameroon.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global MarketIntelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

Mariana Aldano and Pádraig Belton contributed to thisreport.