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SSA news through Jan. 26


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SSA news through Jan. 26


* BANK OF AFRICA – KENYA Ltd. will reduce its branches across Kenya to 30 as it moves to digitize most of its services, Business Daily Africa reported. The move will entail staff cuts, but it is unclear how many will be affected.

* Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge said the regulator will not deviate from a flexible exchange rate regime despite the recent weakness of the shilling, Reuters wrote.

* The Central Bank of Kenya canceled the auction of a reopened, 15-year Treasury bond worth up to 30 billion shillings that was scheduled this month, Reuters reported.

* Mauritius Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth stepped down and was replaced by his son Pravind Jugnauth, prompting accusations of nepotism from opponents and calls for a referendum on the succession, Reuters reported. Pravind Jugnauth, who has served as finance minister since May 2016, said he would remain at the head of the ministry, Bloomberg News wrote.

* AfrAsia Capital Management Ltd., the investment management arm of AfrAsia Bank Ltd., named Bilal Adam CEO. He previously worked on capital markets and investment management at Investec Ltd.


* Fitch Ratings revised the outlook on Nigeria's long-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings to negative from stable, while affirming them at B+. The agency highlighted the Nigerian banking sector's worsening asset quality levels due to the deteriorating economy, problems in the oil industry and exchange rate pressures on borrowers to service their loans.

* Nigeria presented the African Development Bank with its recovery plan, which includes proposals for privatizing state assets and raising oil production, according to Financial Afrik.

* Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc named Yinka Sanni CEO, with effect from Jan. 19, replacing Sola David-Borha, who resigned from the post to become parent Standard Bank Group Ltd.'s CEO for the rest of Africa. Demola Sogunle took over Sanni's duties as CEO of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, effective Jan. 25.

* Wema Bank Plc named Ademola Adebise deputy managing director. In his new role, he will oversee the bank's corporate and business directorate, which incorporates corporate banking and the treasury and financial institutions business, among others.

* Yahya Jammeh flew out of Gambia and into exile in Equatorial Guinea after stepping down as Gambian president and ending his 22-year rule, Reuters and the Financial Times reported. Adama Barrow, who won against Jammeh in an election last month, was sworn in as Gambian president.

* Ghana's new administration intends to review a $918 million loan program with the IMF, with senior minister-designate Yaw Osafo-Maafo saying the program "squeezes" the government's fiscal capacity, Reuters wrote. Osafo-Maafo added that the government will continue allowing the central bank to help finance the country's budget deficit, an issue that the IMF opposes. Bank of Ghana Governor Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku backed the plan, saying it will not hamper efforts to stabilize the country's economy, the newswire also reported.

* Ghana-based Royal Bank Ltd. named Osei Asafo-Adjei managing director and CEO and Lawrence Newton Adu-Mante acting chairman.

* The IMF Executive Board approved just over $134.0 million in funding under the extended credit facility for Niger to support the local authorities' national plan for economic development. The IMF said Niger has a favorable medium-term economic outlook but noted that policy priorities must focus on preserving the country's fiscal and debt sustainability.

* Equatorial Guinea expects a decision soon regarding its application to join the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, following what Energy Minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang said were "fruitful discussions" with the cartel, according to Reuters.


* Konrad Reuss, head of the sub-Saharan region of S&P Global Ratings, said a lack of improvement in South Africa's economic growth and fiscal performance could put pressure on the country's current BBB- sovereign rating, which is just one notch above junk status, Reuters reports. In addition, the rating agency said rising political tensions amid infighting in the ruling African National Congress could disrupt South Africa's efforts to improve policy implementation.

* Protesters stormed a Barclays Africa Group Ltd. branch in Durban, South Africa, demanding that the bank pay back money from a bailout provided by the South African Reserve Bank to Bankorp, Bloomberg News wrote. The protests followed a leaked draft report by the country's graft ombudsman, which said Barclays Africa may have received undue state support when it acquired Bankorp in 1992.

* Sasfin Holdings Ltd. group financial director Tyrone Soondarjee will step down June 30 to retire. Soondarjee will also retire from the board of the South African group and its relevant subsidiaries.

* Sanlam Ltd. unit Sanlam Life Insurance Ltd. will acquire a 53% stake in life insurance provider BrightRock Holdings Pty. Ltd.

* Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc. agreed to acquire a 30% interest in Liechtenstein-based Bank Frick & Co. AG.

* Banks in Angola are reportedly urging the government to create a bailout package aimed at protecting account holders as low oil prices threaten to cripple the lenders' liquidity, according to Bloomberg News.

* A group of bondholders said Mozambique's decision last week to skip a near-$60 million interest payment on $727 million in eurobonds was a strategic move that could hurt the country's debt-restructuring process, Bloomberg News reported. The country, which is already reeling from the discovery of previously undisclosed loans, could have chosen to skip the interest payment in a bid to force bondholders to come to the table and discuss a restructuring.

Pádraig Belton contributed to this report.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.