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SSA news through Dec. 12

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SSA news through Dec. 12

* Moody's revised the 2020 outlook for banks in Africa to negative from stable, reflecting their worsening operating conditions and the increasing pressure on asset quality. The agency said there will be regional variation, with banks in Egypt, Morocco, Mauritius and Kenya expected to be more resilient than banks in South Africa, Nigeria, Tunisia and Angola.

* Goldman Sachs Group Inc. named Jonathan Penkin CEO of Goldman Sachs International Bank in Johannesburg, which serves as the base of the U.S. investment bank's business in sub-Saharan Africa, Reuters reported. The bank also appointed Willem Baars and Olivier Frendo co-heads of investment banking for the region.


* Fitch Ratings affirmed the B+/B long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings of Kenya, with a stable outlook.

* Chubb Ltd. made a $10 million equity investment in the African Trade Insurance Agency, becoming the first global property and casualty insurance company to become a shareholder in the Kenya-based company.

* The IMF and Ethiopia reached a staff-level agreement, subject to approval by the fund's executive board, on a three-year $2.9 billion financing package. The package is aimed at helping the country liberalize its exchange rates and address its shortage of foreign-currency reserves, Agence Ecofin noted.

* The Bank of Uganda maintained its key rate at 9%, rediscount rate at 13% and bank rate at 14%.


* Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria's finance minister, said the launch of a single-currency regime in West Africa in 2020 will unlikely happen since many countries in the region still fail to meet the criteria for a monetary union, The Punch reported. The 15 countries making up the Economic Community of West African States had previously agreed to call the common currency the "eco."

* GCB Bank Ltd. plans to kick off its first mobile money service G-Money in January next year, the Ghana News Agency reported. Managing Director Anselm Ray Sowah said the Ghanaian central bank approved the service last month.

* Ghana-based Glico Life Insurance Ltd. appointed Ladonna Agyeman-Buahin COO.

* The IMF's executive board completed the sixth review under the extended credit facility and extended fund facility arrangements for Côte d'Ivoire, enabling the disbursement of $133.4 million. The fund also approved the country's request to extend the IMF-supported program to the end of 2020.

* Moody's revised to negative from stable the outlook on nine Nigerian banks, including Zenith Bank PLC and Union Bank of Nigeria PLC, following a similar action on the sovereign.

* Hassan Mahmoud, the Central Bank of Nigeria's deputy director for financial policy and regulations, said the regulator intends to raise the loan-to-deposit ratio to 70% by 2020 from 65% at present, Daily Trust reported.

* Nigerian banks remain stable and are not in distress despite a recent outlook revision by Moody's on the sovereign, Abdulhameed Aliu, deputy director for banking examination of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corp. said, Premium Times reported.

* S&P Global Ratings revised the outlook on Senegal to stable from positive, saying the country's general government debt-to-GDP ratio would rise more than previously projected.

* Niger decided to join the African Trade Insurance Agency, with its $12.5 million costs of participation provided by the European Investment Bank, according to Agence Ecofin.

* The IMF's executive board completed its fourth review of the three-year extended credit facility for Mauritania, paving the way for the disbursement of about $22.8 million from the roughly $159.6 million facility. The board also approved a four-year extended credit facility of about $213.6 million for Liberia, enabling an immediate disbursement of $23.4 million.


* Absa Group Ltd. appointed Cheryl Buss CEO of Absa International to spearhead its global expansion plans. The appointment comes after the group secured regulatory approval in November to set up a representative office in the U.S. — expected to be operational within the next six months, subject to further regulatory approvals.

* Nedbank Group Ltd. and unit NedGroup Investments Africa agreed to sell 100% of Nedbank (Malawi) Ltd. to MyBucks SA's Malawi-based unit MyBucks Banking Corp. Ltd. for an undisclosed sum.

* Angola's central bank made a compulsory purchase of $89 million from four commercial banks that had exceeded a new lower limit on their foreign currency position, Jornal de Angola reported. The regulator, which wants banks to stop hoarding scarce greenbacks, recently reduced the limit on lenders' foreign currency position to 2.5% from 5%.

* Banco de Fomento Angola SA posted a third-quarter net profit of 74 billion kwanzas, down 51% from the same period a year ago, Expansão reported.

* The recapitalization of Angola's largest commercial lender, Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA, could cost the state $2 billion, equivalent to about 2.0% of the country's GDP, according to a report by Fitch Ratings, Lusa news agency reported.

* Angola's banks have Africa's highest rates of nonperforming loans, according to a report on the continent's financial sector by Moody's, Jornal Económico reported.

* The Bank of Zambia raised the statutory reserve ratio requirement on commercial banks' local- and foreign-currency deposit liabilities to 9% from 5%, effective Dec. 23. The central bank also required lenders to hold statutory reserve requirements on a daily basis instead of weekly, effective immediately.

* Banco de Moçambique maintained its MIMO key interest rate at 12.75%. The central bank also kept the standing deposit facility and standing lending facility unchanged at 9.75% and 15.75%, respectively. The reserve requirement ratios for liabilities in local and foreign currency were also maintained at 13.0% and 36.0%, respectively.

* Moody's downgraded Namibia's long-term issuer and senior unsecured ratings to Ba2 as public debt piles on, while growth remains weak for longer than anticipated.


* The board of directors of Central Africa's financial markets, undergoing a process of unification, said the united market will have 100 million CFA francs of market capitalization in 2020, Financial Afrik wrote.

* Egypt-based African Export-Import Bank is set to open a new office in Cameroon's capital of Yaounde that will serve as a regional office for Central Africa, Cameroon Tribune 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.