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South Africa's ANC to have new leader; Arab Bank chair released from detention

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Arab Bank Group Chairman Sabih al-Masri has been released by authorities after being detained in Saudi Arabia for questioning following a business trip to the country, an insider told Bloomberg News.

* The Dubai Financial Market launched Dec. 17 regulated short-selling as part of efforts to enhance market liquidity. The exchange said it is currently processing license requests from seven brokerage firms to provide the service.

* Moody's said regulatory changes in some Gulf Cooperation Council countries have pushed up insurance prices, particularly for motor and medical cover, improving the underwriting profitability of the region's insurers.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed Saudi Arabia's long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency ratings at A+/A1 and revised the outlook to negative.

* The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority granted Wataniya Cooperative Insurance Co. temporary approval on new aviation insurance products, Argaam reported. The approval is valid until May 31, 2018.

* Alinma Tokio Marine Co. named nonexecutive board member Hironari Iwakuma vice chairman, effective immediately, Argaam wrote.

* National Finance Co. SAOG shareholders authorized the board of directors to issue additional shares of the company within the limit of the company's authorized share capital to shareholders of Oman ORIX Leasing Co. SAOG, which is merging with National Finance. Shareholders also approved an increase in the company's authorized capital to 75 million Omani rials from 30 million rials.

* The Qatar Central Bank last week raised its repo rate to 2.50% from 2.25%. The Central Bank of Jordan also increased the interest rates on its various monetary policy instruments by 25 basis points, effective Dec. 17.

* Bank Mellat (PJSC) CEO Mohammad Bigdeli said the Iranian lender has implemented preliminary measures to sell its 20% stake in Asia Insurance Co. as part of plans to get rid of excess assets, the Financial Tribune wrote.

* The Majlis Research Center, the research arm of Iran's parliament, is studying the possibility of levying taxes on deposit interests to boost government tax revenues and reduce the Iranian administration's dependency on oil, the Financial Tribune wrote.

* Pioneers Holding For Financial Investments Co. (SAE) CEO Walid Zaki said the company plans to list 40% of its shares in Rooya Real Estate Investment Co. on the Egyptian stock market in the first half of 2018, according to Reuters.

* CI Ratings lowered to BB- from BB the long-term foreign-currency rating of Union Bancaire pour le Commerce et l'Industrie SA. It also affirmed Société Tunisienne de Banque's financial strength rating at B+.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed Uganda's long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings at B/B, with a stable outlook. The rating agency also affirmed Senegal's sovereign credit ratings at B+/B, with a stable outlook.

* Ivorian Minister of Industry and Mines Jean Claude Brou was appointed chairman of the commission of the Economic Community of West African States, effective March 1, 2018, Morocco World News reported. Brou replaces Marcel Alain De Souza.

* The Nigerian government filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase & Co. for $875 million, accusing the lender of transferring money to a company controlled by the country's former oil minister, Dan Etete, who had been convicted of money laundering by French courts, The Sunday Times reported.

* Belstar Capital plans to sell its shares in Agricultural Development Bank Ltd. and invest proceeds from such a sale for a stake in uniBank (Ghana) Ltd., according to Joy Business.

* A consortium led by Enko Africa Private Equity Fund has taken a stake in Ecobank Côte d'Ivoire for €68.6 million following the Ecobank Transnational Inc. unit's IPO, Financial Afrik reported.

* Tanzanian President John Magufuli signaled that Mwalimu Commercial Bank Plc is at risk of closure due to its poor performance, Tanzania's Daily News reported.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* The African National Congress, South Africa's longstanding ruling party, is set to have a new leader to succeed President Jacob Zuma, BBC News and Reuters reported. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are vying for the post, with the results of a party election expected Dec. 18. The winner is likely to become the next South African president after elections in 2019.

* Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA said it will collaborate with Angolan authorities regarding an investigation into an alleged corruption scheme involving employees of the financial institution, Jornal de Angola wrote.

* The IMF's Executive Board completed the third review under the extended credit facility arrangement for the Central African Republic, enabling the disbursement of around $40.2 million. The board also approved a request for augmentation of the arrangement of about $55.1 million.

* Hervé Kogboma Yogo replaces Yves Dessandé as CEO of Commercial Bank Centrafrique, according to Financial Afrik.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: ANZ to buy back up to A$1.5B of shares; ICICI Securities files for IPO

Leo Magno, Henni Abdelghani, 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. S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.