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SSA news through Oct. 12


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SSA news through Oct. 12

* The World Bank revised its 2017 economic growth forecast for sub-Saharan Africa to 2.4%, down from the 2.6% initially projected in April. The region is projected to see a moderate increase in economic activity, with growth rising to 3.2% in 2018 and 3.5% in 2019.

* The IMF expects economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa to reach 2.6% in 2017 and 3.4% in 2018, compared to 1.4% in 2016.


* Mauritius-based SBM Holdings Ltd. made a nonbinding offer to acquire certain assets and matched liabilities belonging to Chase Bank (Kenya) Ltd. The Central Bank of Kenya and Kenya Deposit Insurance Corp. said the proposed transaction is expected to ensure substantial recovery for depositors of Chase Bank currently under moratorium and will entail the transfer of a substantial number of staff and branches of the Kenyan lender.

* Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Ltd. signed a partnership deal with Sanlam Ltd. unit Sanlam Kenya Plc, allowing the lender to sell Sanlam's insurance products for a fee, Business Daily Africa wrote.

* Company for Habitat and Housing in Africa, or Shelter Afrique, has begun its search for a new managing director to succeed James Mugerwa, Business Daily Africa reported. Femi Adewole will remain acting managing director until a permanent managing director is named.

* Ethiopia's central bank raised its interest rate by 2 percentage points to 7% and devalued the Ethiopian birr by 15%, Reuters wrote.


* S&P Global Ratings affirmed Ghana's long- and short-term sovereign ratings at B-/B and revised the outlook on the long-term rating to positive from stable, on expectations that the country's new administration would implement measures that would help strengthen public finances from their "very weak level."

* Ecobank Transnational Inc. issued a convertible debt facility of $400 million.

* Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Aishah Ahmad, currently executive director at Diamond Bank Plc, to succeed Sarah Alade as deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, ThisDay reported.

* Fidelity Bank Plc sold a $400 million eurobond Oct. 11, an insider told Bloomberg News. The five-year notes mark the lender's first eurobond which, with a 10.75% yield, is the highest-yielding eurobond from emerging markets in 2017. Separately, the bank said it received valid tenders for purchase of approximately $255.5 million in aggregate principal amount of notes pursuant to its tender offer to repurchase a $300 million series of 6.875% notes due May 9, 2018.


* The South African Reserve Bank is investigating India-based Bank of Baroda for holding trust funds of companies controlled by the politically connected Gupta family, insiders told Bloomberg. The probe comes after the bank was fined 11 million South African rand in June for violating anti-corruption and anti-money laundering rules.

* Standard Bank Group Ltd. is reviewing its ties with management consulting firm McKinsey and software firm SAP, which are caught up in a scandal involving the Gupta family, Reuters reported.

* The SARB said it has not instructed banks on what steps they should, or should not take, regarding their contracts with KPMG. The statement followed reports that the central bank had warned the country's top lenders that firing the auditing firm might undermine financial stability, Reuters noted.

* South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba called for an investigation into claims of irregularities at Public Investment Corp., Bloomberg reported.

* Rand Merchant Investment Holdings Ltd. said the CEOs of two of its portfolio companies resigned, effective Dec. 31. OUTsurance Holdings Ltd. CEO Willem Roos will leave the company to take an executive post in 4G+ mobile startup Rain, while Chris Meyer, CEO of asset manager RMI Investment Managers, will resign and relocate to Sydney.

* Zimbabwe's current home affairs minister, Ignatius Chombo, will replace Patrick Chinamasa as finance minister, Reuters reported. Chinamasa will head a newly created cyber security ministry as part of a cabinet reshuffle.

* Malawi-based First Merchant Bank Capital Holdings has secured all necessary regulatory approvals to acquire Barclays Bank Plc's majority stake in Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd., reported.


* Republic of the Congo Prime Minister Clément Mouamba said the government is considering placing a possible moratorium on the payment of its debt with private creditors as it negotiates an assistance program with the IMF, Reuters reported.