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Bleak outlook for Mozambique; Qatari fund eyes $10B investment in US

Banking Essentials Newsletter - November Edition

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University Essentials | COVID-19 Economic Outlook in Banking: Rates and Long-Term Expectations: Q&A with the Experts

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Bleak outlook for Mozambique; Qatari fund eyes $10B investment in US

* Private equity firm LeapFrog Investments Ltd. wants to raise $800 million for a fund that will invest in stakes in African insurers, lenders and payment companies that target the continent's low-income consumers, according to Bloomberg News.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Maharan Frozenfar, chairman of Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's advisory committee, cast doubt on the benefits of selling Israeli insurance firms to Chinese companies, saying it is "not clear what benefits" Chinese firms can provide with regard to managing pensions, Bloomberg News reports. Frozenfar's statement suggests that the Israeli government may take its time scrutinizing China-based Fujian Yango Group Co. Ltd.'s acquisition of Phoenix Holdings Ltd.

* Qatar Investment Authority CEO Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani told U.S. officials that the sovereign fund will invest $10 billion in infrastructure projects in the U.S., insiders tell Reuters. It is unclear if the amount will be part of the $35 billion that the sovereign wealth fund pledged to invest in unspecified projects in the U.S. between 2016 and 2021.

* Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Iran and Russia are discussing the possibility of creating a joint Islamic bank, Tasnim News Agency reports.

* Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said the African Development Bank Group approved a $500 million loan to Egypt, Reuters reports. The loan is the second of three expected disbursals. The World Bank is also due to vote on providing Egypt with a second $1 billion tranche from a $3 billion three-year loan.

* Algerian Finance Minister Hadji Baba Ammi said the government is looking into the possibility of opening subsidiaries of its national banks in other countries, particularly in the rest of Africa, Agence Ecofin reports.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Fitch Ratings said the establishment of a specialized company to acquire nonperforming loans of Nigerian banks would be a significant and credit-positive measure to ease growing asset quality problems in the local banking sector. Fitch's statement followed press reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corp. set up a joint committee to look into setting up a new bad bank that will acquire Nigerian lenders' NPLs.

* Following an audit, the government of Nigeria found 2.2 trillion naira of unrecorded debt left over from the previous administration, Reuters reports. Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun said the debts, which were owed to contractors and oil marketers, among others, will be settled through a 10-year promissory note.

* Stanbic Bank Tanzania Ltd. relaunched its private banking services, Daily News reports.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* The IMF finished its mission visit in Mozambique, initiated Dec. 1, and concluded that the country outlook remains challenging, with the 2016 growth projected now at 3.4%, down from 6.6% in 2015. The fund said it held "constructive" discussions on a possible IMF arrangement for Mozambique, but stressed that additional policy adjustments are required for the country to secure a new IMF-supported program.

* Separately, the World Bank said Mozambique's economic outlook is uncertain as it faces an ongoing economic downturn, complicated by the effects of the discovery of $1.4 billion in previously undisclosed debt earlier this year. The institution forecasts Mozambique's GDP growth to reach 3.6% in 2016.

* Shareholders of Banco BPI SA approved the sale of a 2% stake in Banco de Fomento Angola SA to Unitel, finally reducing the Portuguese bank's exposure to the Angolan market, Dinheiro Vivo reports.

* The Bank of Botswana's monetary policy committee maintained the bank rate at 5.5%, citing a positive outlook for price stability, with the inflation forecast falling within the central bank's medium-term objective range of 3% to 6%.

* Letshego Holdings Ltd. named Enos Banda chairman. The appointment was effective Nov. 1.

* Sasfin Holdings Ltd. renewed a cautionary announcement to investors initially released Nov. 1, saying talks are ongoing with a potential broad-based black economic empowerment investor that "may lead to the conclusion of a formal agreement."

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: China Minsheng eyes Novo Banco; Allianz closing Australia aviation insurance biz

Europe: UniCredit maps out capital-raising plan; UK further cuts Lloyds stake

Latin America: Brazil plans new economic stimulus; Seguros Monterrey for sale

North America: Pacific Premier buying Heritage Oaks for $405.6M; Highland Capital sues investor

North America Insurance: Prudential Financial under probe; New York Life unit for sale

Leo Magno, Sarah Raslan, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

The Daily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.