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SSA news through Aug. 8

* China Everbright Bank Co. Ltd. has blacklisted Zimbabwe and several other African states — Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Liberia, Central African Republic, Libya, Somalia and Ivory Coast — from its activities, according to a document obtained by New Zimbabwe.


* Kenya's Treasury will rescue Consolidated Bank of Kenya Ltd. and help it meet payment obligations to debts totaling 1.6 billion shillings due in July, Business Daily Africa reported. The bailout will be made in line with the lender's plan to extend the debt repayment period by three more months.

* KCB Group PLC's proposed takeover of National Bank of Kenya Ltd. would depend on the acceptance of 75% of the latter's shareholders, Kenya's Capital Markets Authority told Reuters. The regulator was responding to a recommendation by lawmakers that the state, NBK's main shareholder, reject KCB's bid. Meanwhile, acting Finance Minister Ukur Yatani told Bloomberg that KCB's offer is the best option for the bank given its ailing condition.

* Ethio Lease, an equipment leasing company controlled by U.S.-based Africa Asset Finance Co., has clinched a financial services license from the Ethiopian central bank, becoming the first foreign-owned company to receive such a license, Reuters reported. The country has been seeking to attract more foreign investors in recent years amid foreign exchange shortages.


* The Ghanaian banking sector is better positioned to withstand losses after lenders' minimum capital requirements were increased under the government's cleanup of the sector, according to Fitch. The agency added that further consolidation could happen in the sector given that the number of banks relative to population remains high.

* The stock of nonperforming loans at Nigeria's micro-finance banks fell 5.27% to 24.80 billion naira in December 2018 from 26.18 billion naira in December 2017, Nigeria's Business Day noted, citing the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corp.'s 2018 annual report.

* The West African regional council for financial markets said it would consider the possibility of admitting international rating agencies to the West African Economic and Monetary Union's financial market, according to Financial Afrik. If approved, S&P Global Ratings, Fitch, Moody's and other international agencies would then be able to issue ratings without formal local counterpart relationships.

* Nigeria's central bank has ordered lending institutions to require clients to submit their credit history before granting them loans, Punch reported. The new regulations, which are under the central bank's consumer protection guidelines on responsible business conduct, will apply to commercial banks, merchant banks, micro-finance banks and credit bureaus, among others.


* South Africa Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago reiterated that he would fight to ensure the independence of the central bank if it is threatened by plans to return the bank to public ownership, Reuters reported. Kganyago also criticized the nationalization plan, saying the move is driven by foreign investors who could profit from it.

* The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe said it will fight a $100 million lawsuit filed by the local units of London-based Cambria Africa PLC after Paynet Zimbabwe suspended services to banks due to unpaid bills, Bloomberg News wrote, citing court documents. Cambria said the suspension prevented it from transacting with compliant banks and disrupted payment flow, leading to revenue losses.

* During Investec Group's annual general meeting, 20.1% of shareholders present voted against the reappointment of KPMG, while 16.6% voted against EY, as joint auditors of South Africa-listed Investec Ltd., mainly on concerns that the failure to rotate would compromise the independence of the auditor, the Financial Times reported. For London-listed Investec PLC, 12.9% of votes cast were against the reappointment of EY.

* Fitch Ratings acted on five South African banks and four holding companies, including Absa Group Ltd., FirstRand Bank Ltd., Investec Ltd., Nedbank Group Ltd. and Standard Bank Group Ltd., following the revision of the outlook on the country's long-term issuer default ratings to negative from stable.

* Sasbo, the biggest financial union in South Africa, threatened that its 73,000 members would go on a two-day strike next month targeting banks that have consulted employees over job cuts, Bloomberg News wrote. The union is asking lenders to explore options other than retrenchments and to retrain employees at risk of getting laid off.

* Angolan state oil company Sonangol will retain its 19.49% stake in Portugal's largest listed bank, Millennium BCP, and other shareholdings in companies in the former colonial power, news portal Macauhub reported. Sonangol representatives said the company's board of directors had decided to maintain the stake in BCP "at relevant levels." Angolan President João Lourenço said Sonangol had been told to withdraw from companies that have nothing to do with its core business but said earlier this year that the order would not extend to BCP.


* The central bank of the Central African states is setting up a regulatory and legal regime for the supervision of Islamic banking activities, according to Financial Afrik.

* After 50 years in which insurance was a state monopoly, the Democratic Republic of Congo has approved its first private insurance operators and launched a regulatory body, the Insurance Regulatory Authority and Control agency, Les Dépêches de Brazzaville reported.

Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.