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SSA news through Oct. 4

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SSA news through Oct. 4

* Sub-Saharan Africa-focused banking group Atlas Mara Ltd. named Arjan Molenkamp COO, among other appointments. Molenkamp will also serve as COO of Botswana-based unit ABC Holdings Ltd.

* The World Bank lowered its economic growth forecast for sub-Saharan Africa this year to 2.7% from its earlier projection of 3.1%, citing slower-than-expected growth in the region's three largest economies — Nigeria, Angola and South Africa, Reuters noted.

EAST AFRICA

* The Bank of Uganda increased the central bank rate by 1 percentage point to 10%.

* The Central Bank of Kenya and Kenya Deposit Insurance Corp. have received a binding offer from KCB Bank Kenya Ltd. for the takeover of Imperial Bank Ltd., which has been under receivership since October 2015. The High Court has also granted a request to continue bank's receivership until a case involving the Kenya Tea Development Agency is determined by the court.

* Tanzania's Fair Competition Commission said it received a merger notification that Mauritius-based private equity firm Microfinance East Africa Ltd. plans to purchase shares in I&M Bank (T) Ltd. and is exploring the intended acquisition, The Citizen reported.

WEST AFRICA

* Energy Commercial Bank Ghana Ltd. launched an IPO to raise 340 million cedis in a bid to meet the Ghanaian central bank's new regulatory capital requirements. The bank will issue 261,538,462 new ordinary shares at 1.30 cedi apiece, and the listing will also include all 60 million of its existing shares, according to a prospectus. The IPO launched Oct. 2 and is expected to conclude Nov. 2.

* Bank of Ghana Governor Ernest Addison said the regulator is revising its policies to make it easier for banks to list on the country's stock exchange, according to B&FT Online.

* Cynthia Pamela Akotoaa Addo, deputy CEO at Ghana EXIM Bank, has resigned to take up a new role at the Judicial Service, effective Oct. 2, Citi Newsroom reported.

* Central Bank of Liberia Governor Nathaniel Patray said the regulator has concluded its internal assessment of the cash printed and brought in the country between 2016 and 2018 and found that there is no 16 billion Liberian dollars missing. Patray said the cash was delivered into the central bank's vaults. Reuters previously reported that more than 30 Liberian central bank officials were issued arrest warrants by a local court over the matter.

* Togo's government will attempt to sell Banque Togolaise pour le Commerce et l'Industrie and Union Togolaise de Banque to private investors, Financial Afrik reported.

* Nigeria-based Wema Bank PLC appointed Ademola Adebise managing director and CEO, while Moruf Oseni was named deputy managing director, effective Oct. 1.

* Union Bank of Nigeria PLC CFO and executive director Oyinkan Adewale has retired. Joe Mbulu will replace Adewale as CFO.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

* National Bank of Greece SA completed the sale of its 99.83% stake in unit South African Bank of Athens Ltd. to GroCapital Holdings Ltd., a consortium comprising Afgri Holdings Pty. Ltd., Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. and Public Investment Corp. SOC Ltd.

* Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Ltd. named Dawie de Villiers group CEO and a director of the company, effective Nov. 1. De Villiers recently stepped down as CEO of Sanlam Ltd. unit Sanlam Employee Benefits, effective Oct. 31, according to an African News Agency report carried by Independent Online.

* Meanwhile, former Alexander Forbes CEO Andrew Darfoor, who was fired in September due to "a loss of confidence and trust," said he has lodged a case against the company with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration to challenge his dismissal, South Africa's Business Day reported.

* Naidene Ford-Hoon has resigned as group CFO and a director of Alexander Forbes, effective Dec. 31.

* Liberty Holdings Ltd. initiated a consultation process with employees regarding possible job cuts as part of a restructuring of the South African insurer's operations, Bloomberg News reported. The company expects to complete the process by year-end.

* Mozambique's so-called prime lending rate will be cut to 20.40% from 21.75% this month, according to the country's banking association and the central bank, Jornal Noticias reported.

* Mauritius-based SBM Holdings Ltd. said the Indian operations of unit SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd. suffered a cyberattack Oct. 2, with a potential loss of up to $14 million.

* MUA CEO Bertrand Casteres said the Mauritian insurer, formerly Mauritius Union Assurance Co. Ltd., intends to increase its market share in Africa by acquiring small operators in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, Bloomberg News reported.

* MauBank Ltd. Chairman Said Lalloo has resigned, L'Express reported.

* Jorge Gaudens Pontes has resigned as chairman of Angola's Banco Mais following accusations of links to a $500 million fraud case involving Valter Filipe, former central bank chief, and José Filomeno dos Santos, former head of the country's sovereign wealth fund, Expansão wrote.

* Zambia has proposed the introduction of a 5% withholding tax on foreign reinsurers not licensed in the country, which could amount to an annual value of more than 40 million kwacha, Zambia Daily Mail reported.

* Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has announced a tax on electronic transactions, effective Oct. 1, Fin24 wrote. The intermediated money transfer tax was revised from 5 cents per transaction to 2 cents per dollar transacted.

* Namibia-based Bank Windhoek Ltd. appointed David Nell as its new national operations manager, effective Sept. 1. Nell takes over from Lappies Labuschagne, who will retire at the end of October.

CENTRAL AFRICA

* The Republic of the Congo is coming out of recession, according to World Bank chief economist for Africa Albert Zeufack, Financial Afrik wrote. Low oil prices has driven up the country's debts since 2012, but President Denis Sassou Nguesso said in August that the government was negotiating an IMF bailout.

Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to this report.