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SSA news through Sept. 29

Independent Networks Gain Little Traction On Virtual Multichannel Services

Big Strategy Decisions Ahead For Viacom As It Moves Into The CBS Fold

Street Talk Episode 48 - Bank M&A, Investing Against An Inverted Yield Curve Overview

Asia OTT Leaders Continue To Expand Partnerships With Telcos


SSA news through Sept. 29

* The World Bank adjusted its growth forecast forsub-Saharan Africa to 1.6% for the year, down from 2.5% in its last forecast inearly June, Jeune Afrique said. This parallels the IMF, which has trimmed itsforecast to 1.6% — the slowest growth forecast in 20 years.

* Economists interviewed by Jeune Afrique calledfor reforming the CFA franc, criticizing the role of the French Treasury inholding the currency's external trading account reserves, and calling itsmonetary policy overly restrictive.

EAST AFRICA

* The Central Bank of Kenya said lenders from eight foreigncountries, including the United Arab Emirates and South Africa, are aiming toenter Kenya, even after it capped interest rates and suspended the entry of newlenders, Business Daily wrote.

* Large Kenyan banks will benefit most from the new lawcapping interest rates, with medium and small banks' profit margins expected tobe tightened, Capital Business noted.

* KCB GroupLtd. recorded 6.3 billion shillings in new personal loans inthe past three weeks, increasing from 1 billion shillings a month before the interestrate cap was implemented, contradicting earlier fears that the new law woulddiscourage lending, Business Daily wrote.

* Meanwhile, Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd. will likely reduceits 7.5% facilitation fee for M-Shwari mobile-based loans by year-end, TheStar reported, citing Managing Director Isaac Awuondo. The bankwill review the business model for the M-Shwari platform to realign its chargeswith the law capping interest rates.

* Separately, Bloomberg News cited Awuondo as saying CBA plans to export itsM-Shwari service as part of a strategy to eventually do business in 16 Africannations, with Rwanda being the "most immediate market" for theplatform.

* France-based Proparco and Germany's DEG will increasetheir stakes in I&MHoldings Ltd. from the current 10.68% in the bank's upcomingrights issue, Daily Nation reported.

* The National Bank of Rwanda maintained its key repo rate at 6.5%. The centralbank's financial stability committee observed that in the 12 months to June,Rwandan banks' total assets increased by 14% and are dominated by credit to theprivate sector.

* GhanaInternational Bank Plc intends to soon launch operations in severalEast African nations, including Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia, in an aim to boostGhana's trade finance, Citi Business News reported.

WEST AFRICA

* Bank of Ghana Governor Abdul Nashiru Issahaku told Bloomberg News that the central bank wants morebanking sector M&A activity ahead of new rules that will raise lenders'capital requirements. The central bank is set to publish by year-endrecommendations of a committee reviewing minimum capital requirements, withimplementation expected in 2017. Insiders told Joy Business that the capital requirement forcommercial banks could be lifted to 500 million cedis starting in 2017. The regulatorwill allow banks more time to meet the new requirements, Citi BusinessNews reported.

* Meanwhile, Issahaku called on banks to increase efforts tothwart electronic fraud and help prevent the country from being blacklistedagain by the Financial Action Task Force, Business & Financial Times noted. Issahaku said the rising number of e-fraud cases inthe country could cause reputational damage to banks.

* He also signaled that the performance of the country'slenders will improve significantly after having partly settled the debt owed tocommercial banks by the Volta River Authority, Ghana Star reported.

* A preliminary probe launched by the Bank of Ghana absolvedGCB Bank Ltd.Chairman Daniel Owiredu of any wrongdoing in relation to reports that Owireduhas been pushing the bank to approve loans without collateral, Joy Business noted.

* The IMF approved a loan of about $116 million to Ghana tosupport the country's balance of payment, Joy Business noted. The IMF earlier said a provision in the amended Bankof Ghana Act allowing the Ghanaian government to borrow from the central bankundermines the credibility of the nation's monetary policy "in the contextof the inflation targeting framework," Ghana Business News noted.

* The Banque Centrale des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouestdemanded 50 billion CFA francs from Ivory Coast, saying this amount was stolenfrom its Ivorian operations in the past decade, Financial Afrik reported.

* Nigerian lenders are having a "tough" timeraising capital as the country's dwindling economy scares off investors,Bloomberg News reported. Umaru Ibrahim, managing director of the NigerianDeposit Insurance Corp., urged local lenders to "become more creative tomobilize deposits." A report from Afrinvest West Africaindicated that three lenders will have to raise more funding in 2016-2017 tosustain their capital adequacy ratios, with further job losses in the sectorseen as likely, Vanguard wrote.

* Meanwhile, Access Bank Plc was set to begin an investor road showfor the first eurobond to emerge from Nigeria in nearly two years, Bloomberg noted.

* The African Development Bank will grant Nigeria a $4.1billion loan over 2016 and 2017, and $10 billion by 2019, to boost thecountry's economy, Reuters reported.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Linah Kelebogile Mohohlo will Oct. 20 as governor ofthe Bank of Botswana. No information was provided on a potential successorto Mohohlo, who became governor in 1999.

* Angolan central bank chief Valter Filipe signed an accordwith his South African counterpart to work together to improve supervision ofthe Angolan financial sector and help bring it up to internationalstandards, Novo Jornal and Angop reported. The central bankers also pledged toforge closer ties between their countries' commercial banks.

* Banco BICSA has not yet decided whether to sell its 2% stakein Banco BPISA following CaixaBank SA's takeover bid for the Portuguese bank lastweek, Jornal de Negocios and Dinheiro Vivo reported.

* Angola's insurance regulator said the country could havefarm insurance before the end of the year, Angop writes.

* Fixed-income asset manager Futuregrowth lifted thesuspension on buying debt of South African state-run Land Bank following an"extensive review of the governance and investor protectionmechanisms," Reuters noted. The Old Mutual Plc unit maintained its ban on buyingbonds from five other state-owned companies, but said it is in discussions withthem regarding the issue. Futuregrowth imposed the suspensions citing politicaluncertainty amid probes into South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

* Capitec BankHoldings Ltd. will cut back on lending to customers in lowerincome groups amid weak economic growth in South Africa, Reuters wrote. The bank also said it will team up with an insurerto launch insurance products in 2017, Bloomberg News reported.

* The head of an IMF mission to Mozambique praised thegovernment's efforts to restore investor confidence following revelations thatstate companies had taken on more than $1 billion in "hidden"debt, Jornal de Notícias reported. The IMF, which suspended loans to Mozambique due tothe scandal, began an audit of Mozambique's debt last week.

* Mauritian Finance Minister Pravind Jugnauth opened Bank ofChina's first branch in the African country and called on banks to show greaterinterest in financing government projects, L'Express said.

* Didier Harel replacedGérard Hardy as chairman of MCBGroup Ltd.

CENTRAL AFRICA

* The Democratic Republic of Congo's central bank raised itskey rate to 7% from 2% amid deterioration in international market prices forthe country's copper and oil exports, FinancialAfrik and BloombergNews noted.

* Gabon has a new prime minister in Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet,a career diplomat who previously was foreign minister, Agence Ecofin reported.

* AttijariwafaBank SA received regulatory approval to open a subsidiary in Chad, Jeune Afrique wrote.The approval brings to 14 the number of African countries where the Moroccanlender has a presence. Chairman Mohamed Kettani said, meanwhile, thatAttijariwafa is unconcerned by the strife in Gabon following disputed electionsthere, saying its unit in the country, Union Gabonaise de Banque, is doing well, accordingto L'Observateur du Maroc.

Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to thisreport.