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SSA news through April 14

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SSA news through April 14

* The Western African CFAfranc will soon be used in the six member countries of the Central AfricanEconomic and Monetary Community, in a move to promote economic integration inthe two regions, Agence Ecofin reported. Tiemoko Koné, governor of the Central Bank of WestAfrican States, pointed out that the risks related to terrorism financingremain an important concern when the plan comes into force, the report said.

EAST AFRICA

* Recriminations swirled inKenya after last week's placement in receivership of Business DailyAfrica wrotethat differences between Chase Bank's senior executives and its auditors atDeloitte regarding the former's Islamic banking assets triggered the eventsthat caused the lender's collapse. Duncan Kabui, ex-managing director, saidDeloitte had not submitted the final audit report when the lender was forced bythe central bank to restate its financial results, resulting in a run ondeposits, the report noted.

* The said it would offer a creditfacility, effective April 11, to any lender facing liquidity pressures"arising from no fault of its own." The regulator is also providingbanks 10 billion Kenyan shillings in 28-days reverse repos in the wake ofconcerns related to lending in the repo market, Reuters reported.

* Members of Kenya's SenateFinance Committee asked the Director of Criminal Investigations to questioncentral bank Governor Patrick Njoroge and the senior officials responsible formonitoring commercial lenders, in the wake of several bank failures, BusinessDaily Africa said. Njoroge was criticized for closing down the troubled lenders insteadof taking steps to rehabilitate them.Kenya's parliament also demanded an investigation into central bank leadershipunder ex-Governor Njuguna Ndung'u to determine whether central bank officialsconspired with directors of the collapsed lenders in acts of financialmalpractice, the Daily Nation reported.

* There was reportedly widespread interest in acquiringChase Bank, with in particular linkedwith a possible deal. The group said it is open to consolidation in the country'sbanking sector but has not specified any plans, Reuters reported. ,Commercial Bank of AfricaLtd., I&M Bank and investment company Centum are reportedlyalso among the suitors.

* Another troubled lender,National Bank of KenyaLtd., replaced five senior executives, including the bank'smanaging director, who were placed on forced leave. Business Daily Africa said. Wilfred Musau was named acting managing director. The new roles are onan interim basis. Additionally, eight senior directors of National Bank ofKenya and Chase Bank (Kenya) were asked to turn themselves in to Kenya's Directorate ofCriminal Investigations over unsecured insider lending practices.

* National Bank was fined anundisclosed amount by the country's capital markets authority for failure toissue a profit warning before reporting a loss of 1.15 billion shillings for2015, Business Daily Africa said.

* Kenya's insurance regulatorruled out delaying new capital adequacy rules for the sector, under whichcompanies dealing with high-risk entities will be required to increase theircapital base to match what they are covering, Business Daily Africa said.The rules are scheduled to come into force in June and are expected to increaseconsolidation in the sector.

* The High Court refused toallow Imperial Bank Ltd.shareholders to become co-complainants in a lawsuit filed by the bank against20 firms and individuals, claiming more than 34 billion Kenyan shillings infunds allegedly stolen from depositors, accordingto the Daily Nation.

* The Kenya BankersAssociation asked for a High Court ruling to determine whether commerciallenders have been demanding illegal charges from borrowers, following lawsuitsfiled against certain lenders claiming compensation for such practices,Business Daily Africa said.

* Commercial lenders in Uganda asked the government tolaunch an appeals commission to supervise the , particularly fordecisions related to bank closures, East African Business Week reported

* Bank M(Tanzania) Plc CEO-designate Jacqueline Woiso said the lender hasbegun the procedures for an IPO on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange in aneffort to raise an additional 50 billion Tanzanian shillings of capital, theDaily News reported.The bank's capital plans, comprising the IPO and a private placement, areslated for the second and third quarters, she said.

WEST AFRICA

* reportedfull-year 2015 profit attributable to shareholders of $65.5 million, down from$337.9 million in 2014, as pretax profit fell to $205.2 million from $519.5million. CEO Ade Ayeyemi attributed the fall in profits to a significantincrease in impairment charges in the fourth quarter and "a difficultoperating environment" resulting from an economic slowdown in Africa.Full-year impairment losses nearly doubled year over year to $532.0 millionfrom $267.0 million, which Ayeyemi said was "unacceptable" andprompted "drastic steps to address asset quality and strengthen ourprocesses."

* Millison Narh, deputygovernor of the Ghanaian central bank, said the regulator plans to revisebanking sector regulations and will issue new rules and guidelines related torisk management, corporate governance, M&A and outsourcing, Joy Business reported.A law on deposit protection is expected to be passed soon, Narh reportedlysaid, adding that the improved framework will help address the crisis faced bythe country's microfinance sector.

* Meanwhile, newly installedGhanaian central bank Governor Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku said his first prioritywill be to tackle inflation but that he will also pursue policies to boostgrowth, Reuters wrote.

* unitFirst Bank of NigeriaLtd. said it concluded the integration of its units in six Africancountries, This Day reported,citing a statement from the bank.

* Group Nduom, a Ghanaianholding company, plans to list unit GN Bank on the Ghana Stock Exchange in2017, Ghana Business News reported,citing Paa Kwesi Nduom, the group's president. Nduom added that the lenderplans to increase its branch network to 300 from 245 by 2016-end.

* a capital hike of 200 millionGhanaian cedi via a rights issue and private placement, following which it willlist the newly issued shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

* will approval at a May 5 shareholdermeeting to begin acquisition discussions with a competitor and to raise 20billion Nigerian naira in 2016 via bonds or preference shares, Reutersreported. CFO Tunde Mabawonku said the company has plans to acquire amedium-sized commercial lender and is "keeping a close eye on variousoffers for sale in the market."

* Meanwhile the AssetManagement Corp. of Nigeria, the country's bad bank, is looking for potentialinvestors to buy Keystone BankLtd., and Unity BankPlc is looking to explore merger options to strengthen its capitallevels, Reuters noted.

* Standard & Poor'sRatings Services changedits outlook on Cape Verde's B long-term ratings to negative from stable.

* Patrice Talon, Benin'spresident, formed a new government composed of 21 members, with Romuald Wadagnidesignated minister of economy and finance, Agence Ecofin noted.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

* South Africa is set tofinalize amendments to the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, under whichlenders and other financial institutions will be forced to step up duediligence and the monitoring of client accounts, BusinessDay Live reported.Deals with individuals classed as "prominent and influential" underthe act could be subject to a more in-depth scrutiny, the report added. Themove comes as the country's four major banks have cut ties with the Oakbay Investmentsvehicle of South Africa's Gupta family, which has been criticized for allegedlyhaving undue influence over South African President Jacob Zuma.

* A consortium of SouthAfrican investors including South Africa's Public Investment Corp. is interestedin acquiring a 10% stake in Barclays Plc unit Barclays Africa Group Ltd., Bloomberg News reported.Meanwhile, Barclays Bank of KenyaLtd. CEO Jeremy Awori said Barclays Africa will look to retain itsbrand name even after the U.K. parent retreats from the continent, at least inthe two- to three-year period it will take for Barclays to conclude thepotential divestment, Business Daily Africa noted. 

* 's Old Mutual Zimbabweplans to launch a microfinancial bank with a focus on the country's informalsector, accordingto the Financial Gazette.

* An agreement for to acquire Angolanbusinesswoman Isabel dos Santos' 18.6% stake in reportedly will alsoinvolve Banco BPIunit Banco de Fomento AngolaSA's shares being listed on Euronext Lisbon.

* Meanwhile, CaixaBankestablished arepresentative branch in Johannesburg, becoming the first Spanish lender toestablish a presence in South Africa.

* Botswana-based insurancebroker First Sun Alliance, which also operates in South Africa and Zimbabwe, enlistedfour individuals to acquire a 51% stake in it as part of a strategy of citizenempowerment, Mmegi Business reported. Before the move, 100% ofthe broker was owned by Managing Director Paul Chitate's family.One of the new shareholders, Tiny Kgatlwane, is now executive director.

* The Namibian central bankraised its benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points to 7% in a move to curbcapital outflows, Reuters reported.Governor Ipumbu Shiimi reportedly said theregulator expected banks to hike deposit rates "by the same margin,thereby encouraging savings."

* John Mangudya, Zimbabweancentral bank governor, said "the transactional and contingency purposes ofmoney is sufficient in this economy," but an excess demand for cash orwithdrawals could be the cause of current liquidity constraints, The Standard reported. Certain Zimbabweanlenders have started demanding high charges for withdrawals, while most ATMshave stopped dispensing cash, to curb deposit outflows, The Herald said.    

* The Indigenous Business Association of Malawi asked theMalawian central bank to consider drafting rules to limit the interest chargedon nonperforming loans, similar to a South African law that caps interestpayments at the amount of outstanding principal, The Times of Malawi reported.

CENTRAL AFRICA

 *Morocco-based Attijariwafa BankSA will acquire BNPParibas SA's stake in Banque Internationale pour le Commerce etl'Investissement du Gabon in a move that signals the French lender's retreatfrom Gabon, according to Gaboneco. 

* The banking sector in Cameroon will see more than 200billion CFA francs of additional liquidity after a decision last week by theBank of Central African States, or BEAC, to halve the required reserves thatlenders must hold, Jeune Afrique wrote,citing Afriland FirstBank Managing Director Alphonse Nafack. Some 500 billion francs to600 billion francs in total will be freed up by the decision.

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