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SSA news through Jan. 10


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Banking Essentials Newsletter: 7th February Edition


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SSA news through Jan. 10


* The Bank of Uganda said in its latest Financial Stability report that the asset quality of the country's banks improved in the year to June 2018, with the ratio of nonperforming loans decreasing to 4.4% from 6.2%. The central bank, however, cautioned that asset quality "remains a concern, especially as interest rates start to rise."

* African private equity firms Catalyst Principal Partners and AfricInvest collectively bought a 24% stake in Kenyan lender Prime Bank Ltd., Reuters reported.

* Jamii Bora Bank Ltd. deputy CEO Timothy Mwaniki Kabiru will take over as the Kenyan lender's CEO, replacing Samuel Kimani, who is retiring "to pursue other interests," Daily Nation reported. Kimani, however, will remain a board member to smooth the transition.

* Tanzanian President John Magufuli said the country's central bank must start purchasing gold for its reserves, Agence-France Presse reported.

* The Bank of Tanzania does not plan to close or clamp on community groups offering microfinance services, Daily News reported. The central bank is preparing regulations for such providers, including requiring them to obtain a formal license.


* The Bank of Ghana said 23 lenders met the country's minimum capital requirement of 400 million cedi by 2018-end. GN Bank Ltd.'s license was downgraded to that of a savings and loans company after failing to meet the threshold by the Dec. 31, 2018. The central bank also revoked the banking licenses of Heritage Bank Ltd. and Premium Bank Ltd., with state-owned Consolidated Bank Ghana Ltd. taking over the assets and liabilities of the two failed lenders.

* Several private pension funds in Ghana also injected capital into five lenders through Ghana Amalgamated Trust Ltd., a special purpose holding company formed by the finance ministry to support "solvent and strong" indigenous banks to meet the central bank's new minimum capital requirement. Among those that benefited from Ghana Amalgamated Trust were Agricultural Development Bank Ltd., National Investment Bank Ltd., Universal Merchant Bank Ltd., Prudential Bank Ltd., and the merged entity of OmniBank Ghana Ltd. and Banque Sahélo-Saharienne Pour L'Investissement et Le Commerce (Ghana) Ltd. or Bank Sahel Sahara Ghana.

* The Central Bank of Nigeria is preparing rules that will allow wireless carriers to obtain licenses to transfer cash, as part of efforts to increase its financial inclusion rate to 80% by 2020, Bloomberg News reported. The regulator previously blocked such firms from moving money without using a bank.

* Zenith Bank PLC CEO Peter Amangbo said the Nigerian lender is pushing a retail strategy that focuses on boosting lending to individuals, small businesses and households at affordable interest rates, Vanguard reported.


* Mozambique's attorney general's office said it has indicted 18 individuals, including former Finance Minister Manuel Chang, for their involvement in a $2 billion fraud scheme involving loans to government-owned firms, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Chang's court hearing has been postponed until Jan. 18, Reuters wrote. Chang, who denies wrongdoing, has been detained since Dec. 29 in South Africa on U.S. charges related to the fraudulent loans.

* Madagascar's Constitutional Court declared former President Andry Rajoelina the winner of last month's run-off presidential election, Bloomberg News reported.

* Banco Nacional de Angola will carry out an asset assessment of the country's commercial banks as part of a memorandum signed with the IMF, Macauhub reported. The move will result in banks having to strengthen their capital levels, according to José de Lima Massano, the central bank governor.

* The Angolan central bank also withdrew the licenses of Banco Postal SA and Banco Mais SA after both lenders missed a 2018-end deadline to comply with new capital requirements, and should be declared bankrupt, Reuters reported.

* Banco Postal said its financial economic situation does not pose a risk to Angola's banking system or its clients, according to Angop. Meanwhile, Banco Mais said it respects the central bank's decision and is awaiting instructions on how to compensate customers, Novo Jornal and Jornal de Angola reported. Both banks denied that they were bankrupt.

* Six former board members at failed Mozambican lender Nosso Banco were fined 500,000 meticais each and banned from holding positions at financial institutions for three years, O País reported, citing a central bank statement. Nosso Banco was ordered to stop operating by the central bank in 2016 due to insufficient capital and management failings.

* Land & Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa named Konehali Gugushe acting CFO. Sakhumzi Diza will be acting chief risk officer of credit, while Nafiza Khan will be chief risk officer overseeing enterprise risk, market and liquidity risk and credit risk monitoring.

* Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Ltd. Group Chief Risk Officer Vishnu Naicker has resigned, along with Alexander Forbes Investments CEO Leon Greyling, amid a review of the South African group's strategy, Moneyweb reported. Estelle Viljoen will act as interim chief risk officer, while Group CEO Dawie de Villiers will oversee the investments business.


* Democratic Republic of the Congo opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was declared the winner of last month's presidential election, multiple news outlets reported, including Reuters and Bloomberg News. However, the country's Catholic church said the electoral commission's results "do not correspond to the data collected by our observation mission from polling stations and vote counts," which showed Martin Fayulu as winner.

Helen Popper contributed to this report.