* Proparco, part of the French Development Agency, plans to give between €2.7 billion and €6.7 billion in financial commitments to Africa between now and 2020, its CEO Grégory Clemente said in an interview with Jeune Afrique.
* Switzerland-based insurance company Chubb Ltd. promoted Steve Parry to director of claims for Europe and Eurasia and Africa. Parry previously worked as claims director for the U.K. and Ireland operations and integration.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* The Central Bank of the UAE expects the country's real GDP to have grown 2.6% in 2016 and to expand 2.3% this year. The central bank attributes the projected slowdown to the expected fall in oil production in 2017 following the UAE's decision to cut its oil production. It added that the banking sector has improved at 2016-end compared to the end of September 2016, with deposits and assets growth accelerating in the fourth quarter of last year compared to the previous quarter.
* UAE central bank Governor Mubarak Rashed Khamis al-Mansoori clarified that regulations that took effect Jan. 1 do not ban virtual currencies in the country, Gulf News reports. He added that the regulator is still reviewing virtual currencies and new rules covering the industry will be issued as appropriate.
* Suvo Sarkar, senior executive vice president and group head of retail banking and wealth management at Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, said the lender expects growth in retail loans of between 5% and 7% this year, Reuters reports. It comes as the bank works on setting up Liv., its digital banking service offering targeted at millennials, with the hope of rolling out the service in Saudi Arabia and Egypt over the next year or so.
* Canada-based payment solutions provider Mint Corp. said Mint Middle East LLC signed a term sheet to acquire a financial institution licensed by the UAE central bank for a purchase price of $27.3 million. Mint said it is exploring options to raise the capital needed to fund the acquisition and that it expects the capital to be raised without the need to issue securities.
* Dubai Islamic Bank (PJSC) will hold a Feb. 6 meeting with fixed-income investors in London ahead of a potential Islamic bond offering, Reuters reports. The bank earlier mandated several banks to manage a potential five-year benchmark sukuk issue.
* Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said shares in oil firm Saudi Aramco will probably listed on multiple stock exchanges at the same time, but insisted that the government is still evaluating the matter, Reuters reports.
* The recent decline of the three-month Saudi IBOR confirms that Saudi Arabia's liquidity conditions have eased since the third quarter of 2016, a credit positive factor for the funding costs of banks in the country, CPI Financial reports, citing Moody's. SAIBOR fell below the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority's 2% repo rate Monday to hit its lowest level since April last year.
* Data from the Qatar Central Bank showed that annual bank credit growth in the country picked up in December 2016 while the M2 money supply measure declined for the 11th month in a row, Reuters notes.
* The number of ATMs in Israel rose nearly 6% over the course of the first half of 2016 to reach 1,933 at the end of June last year, Globes reports, citing central bank data.
* Egyptian banks offered a total of 975.8 billion pounds in loans in October 2016, up from 964.8 billion pounds a month ago, Daily News Egypt reports.
* Banque Centrale Populaire named Kamal Mokdad head of its international operations, according to Financial Afrik.
* The Tunisian central bank maintained its key interest rate at 4.25%, Reuters reports. The regulator last reduced the rate by 50 basis points in October 2015.
* AXA Algérie named Pierre Vasserot CEO, effective from Feb. 15, Financial Afrik reports. He will succeed Adelane Mecellem, who will oversee AXA's operations in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* The IMF lowered its 2017 growth outlook for Kenya to 5.3% from 6.1%, owing to a law capping bank loan charges, The Wall Street Journal writes. The fund noted that the measure reduces access to credit for small businesses.
* The Central Bank of Kenya gave banks until April to provide comprehensive reports about their revised business models, Business Daily Africa reports. The regulator ordered banks in November last year to review their models in line with new regulations requiring them to hold capital that is consistent with their risk profiles and business strategies.
* It emerged that Kenya's central bank rejected two offers to acquire Imperial Bank Ltd. shortly after the troubled lender was placed under receivership in 2015, People Daily reports. The offers are said to be from SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd. and I&M Bank Ltd.
* Mansa Nettey was appointed CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Ltd., the Ghana News Agency reports. Nettey will take over from Kweku Bedu-Addo, who will become Standard Chartered Plc's CEO for South Africa and southern Africa.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Nonresidents in Angola will soon be allowed to invest in the local capital market, Angola Press reports. The Banco Nacional de Angola is working with the country's capital markets and insurance regulators to develop a strategy that will generate capital flow into Angola without putting its financial stability at risk.
* Four Banco BPI SA shareholders have filed a judicial claim against the sale of a 2% stake held by the Portuguese bank in Banco de Fomento Angola SA to telecommunications firm Unitel, Dinheiro Vivo reports.
* African Phoenix Investments Ltd., the investment holding company born out of the failed African Bank Investments Ltd., has started trading on the Johannesburg stock exchange with an estimated 1.4 billion ordinary shares and 13.5 million preference shares, Independent Online reports.
* VBS Mutual Bank Chairman Tshifhiwa Matodzi indicated that the bank is looking to list on the Johannesburg stock exchange within three years, Reuters reports. The lender, which made headlines in 2016 for providing South African President Jacob Zuma a loan to compensate the state for upgrades to his personal home, plans to expand from just four branches currently to a nationwide network.
* The South African Reserve Bank plans to explore the possibility of issuing a national digital currency that would likely be based on blockchain technology, Moneyweb reports. The regulator will carry out experiments and evaluations to determine whether such offerings would be appropriate for the country.
* The South African Reserve Bank said Sanjay Agarwal, CEO of the South African unit of India-based Bank of Baroda, has died, Bloomberg News reports.
* The Democratic Republic of the Congo fell deeper into political turmoil following the death of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi late Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal writes. The death of Tshisekedi, who had been hospitalized in Brussels since last week, jeopardizes a deal aimed at preventing Joseph Kabila from staying on for an extra term as president.
* The World Bank expects the Democratic Republic of the Congo to see an average 5% economic growth in the 2017-2018 period, compared to 2.7% in 2016, Reuters reports. The forecast is attributed to stronger commodity prices and expanding agriculture and services sectors in the country.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Bank of England holds rates; ASEAN governments ramp up spending
Europe: NN makes €2.5B Delta Lloyd offer; Deutsche posts Q4'16 loss; MPs OK Brexit bill
Latin America: CNP cancels Pan Seguros deal; Bradesco's Q4'16 profit falls 17.5%
North America: Scaramucci reportedly loses liaison gig; Hamilton Lane files for IPO
North America Insurance: NAMIC seeks to close Federal Insurance Office; Medicare Advantage rates may rise
Leo Magno, Sarah Raslan, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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