* U.S. President Donald Trump last Friday signed an executive order temporarily banning entry into the country of nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — all predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa — and suspended entry of refugees for four months, publications including The Wall Street Journal and Reuters report. The move sparked negative reaction from several countries and immigrant advocates, which criticized the measures as discriminatory and questioned the constitutionality of the order.
* Following the global backlash, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the entry of "lawful permanent residents" to the country will be "in the national interest" in applying Trump's executive order. Trump also said the U.S. will resume issuing entry visas for all country in the next 90 days, Reuters writes.
* African heads of states are gathering in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as the 54-member African Union convenes to elect the successor to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as commission chair, Al Jazeera reports. Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed and Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat are among the five contenders for the post, the election for which could be influenced by Morocco's bid to join the union, Bloomberg News notes.
* The Abu Dhabi Global Market and the Mauritius Financial Services Commission entered into a memorandum of understanding to strengthen regulatory cooperation for the supervision of financial institutions and to support cross-border activities, among others.
* French lender BNP Paribas SA named Andreas Bernstorff head of its equity capital markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Khaled al-Khoori is stepping down as CEO of Al Hilal Bank PJSC and will be replaced by CFO Craig Bell on an interim basis, Reuters reports. The bank said al-Khoori is leaving after completing his task of restructuring the company.
* The board of National Commercial Bank proposed a dividend of 1 Saudi riyal per share for the second half of 2016. The payout compares to a dividend of 0.75 riyal paid in the same period a year earlier, Reuters notes.
* Gulf International Bank BSC priced a $500 million, five-year bond issuance. The bank said orders for the bond peaked at more than $1.2 billion, allowing a final pricing of 170 basis points over midswaps.
* Arab Bank Group reported full-year 2016 net profit after tax of $533 million, up from $442 million a year earlier. The bank's board of directors proposed the distribution of 30% in cash dividends for the financial year.
* Oman's largest banks Bank Muscat SAOG, Bank Dhofar SAOG and National Bank of Oman SAOG face pressures on their profitability due to the current economic slowdown and the rapid penetration of Islamic finance, which intensifies competition for financial products, according to Moody's. The rating agency said expects Bank Dhofar and Bank Muscat's Islamic windows to help them manage the penetration from Islamic finance, while National Bank of Oman's cross-border expansion in the UAE should support its asset base despite its smaller Islamic window.
* Bank Sohar SAOG proposed a cash dividend of 5 Omani baizas per share for 2016.
* HSBC Bank Oman SAOG named Sherard Cowper-Coles as a director and chairman. Cowper-Coles succeeds David Eldon, who resigned as chairman to take on additional responsibilities elsewhere at HSBC Holdings Plc.
* Bank Tejarat filed a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice to seek compensation for losses it incurred as a result of several years of EU sanctions, Mehr News Agency reports. CEO Mohammad Ebrahim Moghadam said the sanctions, which were imposed in 2012 and lifted in 2014, had a negative impact on the bank's income by freezing its assets and resources overseas.
* Egyptian Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy said the government is looking into possibly issuing international bonds in currencies other than the dollar, such as the Chinese yuan and the Japanese yen, after selling $4 billion in dollar-denominated eurobonds last week, Reuters reports.
* Morocco's head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane, said the launch of Islamic banking in the country will allow a large portion of Moroccans who have reservations about conventional banking to join the national banking network, La Nouvelle Tribune writes.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Germany-based Deutsche Bank AG has closed all its accounts in National Bank of Kenya Ltd. over suspicions of money-laundering activities, Standard Digital writes.
* The Central Bank of Nigeria questioned a number of banks for submitting inaccurate information regarding their foreign exchange returns, This Day reports. The central bank said some financial institutions cited formatting errors as reasons for the irregularities.
* The assets and liabilities of Ugandan lender Crane Bank Ltd., which was placed into receivership by the Ugandan central bank in October 2016, were transferred to dfcu Ltd. unit dfcu Bank Ltd. Customers and depositors of Crane Bank will now have their accounts operated by dfcu Bank, which will also take over some branches of the insolvent lender.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said an independent, international audit of state accounts was progressing "at a good pace" and said his government is taking initiatives to re-establish relations with international financial bodies following the fallout from the discovery of previously undisclosed loans last year, according to Reuters. Nyusi also called on the Banco de Moçambique to strengthen the stability of the local banking sector.
* Credit institutions in Mozambique will this year start using the same lending interest rate, a measure introduced by the central bank to ensure transparency in banking operations and facilitate negotiations on loans, O País reports.
* Barclays Africa Group Ltd., Nedbank Group Ltd. and a unit of FirstRand Ltd. are considering bidding to distribute the South African government's welfare payments as its current contract with a unit of Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc. is set to expire at March-end, Bloomberg News reports.
Leo Magno, Sarah Raslan, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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