* Majority of Kenyan banks continue to charge an annual interest rate of 13% on new loans despite gaining the ability to increase rates on credit facilities following the removal of lending controls, Business Daily Africa wrote, citing the Kenya Bankers Association and the central bank. More lenders will likely begin imposing additional charges on loans from the first quarter of 2020, driven by their entry into new market segments and launch of new products, a bank executive told the newspaper.
* Meanwhile, Kenyan banks expect the removal of lending rate controls to result in only a minor boost to their full-year 2019 earnings as they were barred from increasing interest rates on existing loans, Business Daily Africa reported.
* The Ugandan government plans to borrow up to €600 million from Stanbic Bank Holdings Ltd. and Trade Development Bank to fund a shortfall in its budget for the 2019-2020 financial year, according to a statement on the parliament's website.
* Kenyan lenders Equity Group Holdings PLC and Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd., now known as NCBA, could lose around 500 million shillings from a title deed fraud racket after a Kenyan court ruled that Co-operative Bank of Kenya Ltd. had the right to a property used to secure loans from the three banks, Business Daily Africa reported.
* The IMF said Kenya needs to cut its rising budget deficit and implement tax and expenditure reforms that will not stifle economic growth and hurt private sector investments before it can access its $1.5 billion precautionary loan that was suspended in September 2018, Amwal Al Ghad reported.
* Kenyan telecommunications firm Safaricom PLC has begun testing a new savings service on its M-Pesa platform called Mali, which will allow users of the mobile phone-based money transfer platform to invest and earn 10% annual interest, Business Daily Africa reported.
* The Ethiopian government will keep its banking, insurance, micro-credit and micro-saving sectors reserved for domestic investors despite opening up other sectors of the economy to foreign investment, according to a draft investment law seen by Reuters.
* Nigerian banks increased their aggregate loan-to-deposit ratio to 64% in the third quarter, according to Bloomberg News calculations, 1 percentage point below the central bank's minimum target for 2019-end.
* Moody's revised the outlook on Nigeria to negative from stable, citing mounting risks to the government's fiscal strength and external position.
* The Ghanaian cedi is set to depreciate for the 25th straight year as investor confidence in the country is eroded by the government's fiscal problems, Bloomberg wrote.
* The government of Côte d'Ivoire signed an agreement with Visa and Unitek to create a joint credit card product for businesses, according to Le Patriote.
* The Nigerian banking sector's nonperforming loan portfolios fell to 1.1 trillion naira in the third quarter from 2.24 trillion naira a year earlier, The Punch wrote, citing a report by the National Bureau of Statistics.
* The IMF concluded its first review of Mali's extended credit facility, welcoming improvements in the country's tax collection and predicting a 5% growth in 2019 and over the medium term.
* Nigeria's central bank intends to license more payment providers in a bid to provide payment services in unbankable communities, Bloomberg reported, citing a speech by Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele.
* Nigerian Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said the government could offer eurobonds as early as the first quarter of 2020, adding that the amount will depend on how much the state raises from concessional lenders such as the African Development Bank, Bloomberg reported.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* The South African rand fell Dec. 3 after the government's statistics department reported that real GDP decreased 0.6% in the third quarter following an upwardly revised 3.2% growth recorded in the previous quarter.
* South African insurer Sanlam Ltd. said its diluted headline earnings per share for the 10 months to Oct. 31 fell 20% year over year, mainly due to a one-off accounting charge of 1.7 billion rand in the first half. Excluding the charge, diluted HEPS would have increased by 2% per share.
* A representative for fired Old Mutual Ltd. CEO Peter Moyo said the South African insurer failed to convince the appeal court on why the previous ruling ordering the reinstatement of Moyo should be thrown out, Fin24 wrote. The Johannesburg High Court has reportedly reserved judgment on the case for 2020.
* South Africa-based African Phoenix Investments Ltd. and Zarclear Holdings Ltd. said their boards of directors agreed in principle to carry out several transactions resulting in the merger of the two companies. Meanwhile, African Phoenix Investments' board declared a capital reduction distribution as a return of contributed tax capital of roughly 599.3 million rand, or 42.00 cents per ordinary share, following the company's assessment that it had funds surplus to its requirements and strategic objectives.
* South African insurer Discovery Ltd. made a number of management changes within some of its units, with Neville Koopowitz, CEO of VitalityHealth and an executive director of Discovery, becoming CEO of the Vitality UK group with immediate effect.
* South Africa-based Vunani Ltd. said the terms of the acquisition of Metropolitan Life Swaziland Ltd. had been met and the deal is now complete.
* The IMF approved the disbursement of $247 million in aid to Angola, following the completion of its second review of the country's economic program. Angola needs to make further amendments to its central bank and financial institutions laws to allow authorities to strengthen bank supervision and resolution, the fund noted.
* The Mozambican government said it will move ahead with cases in which it is suing Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group AG and the CEO of Privinvest Holding SAL in London despite a U.S. jury's acquittal of the Lebanese shipbuilder's sales director, Bloomberg reported.
* Fitch Ratings affirmed Gabon's long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings at B/B, with stable outlooks on the long-term ratings.
Padraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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