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S&P revises Ghana outlook; Iran unveils fintech policy; US lifts Sudan sanctions

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S&P revises Ghana outlook; Iran unveils fintech policy; US lifts Sudan sanctions

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* The Central Bank of Iran unveiled policies regarding the operation of financial technology companies in the country, saying it will neither establish a new institution to supervise fintechs nor issue licenses for their operations, the Financial Tribune reported. The regulator noted that such companies will be linked to Iran's financial system through authorized financial institutions.

* India's SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd. is likely to open a branch in Bahrain by December, an unnamed company official told The Economic Times of India. The move would mark the insurer's first foray into the Middle East.

* Arab Banking Corp. (BSC) appointed Fouad Salame group head of financial institutions at its head office in Bahrain.

* Moody's maintained its stable outlook on the United Arab Emirates' banking system, reflecting economic resilience, strong capitalization and stable funding and liquidity conditions.

* Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority Governor Ahmed al-Kholifey said the central bank intends to issue a digital currency that can only be traded among banks, according to Argaam.

* Saudi Re for Cooperative Reinsurance Co. completed the acquisition of 49.9% of the ordinary shares of Probitas Holdings (Bermuda) Ltd.

* The SAMA said retail insurance products should only be sold by Saudis by Feb. 1, 2018, Argaam reported.

* The Tunisian central bank last week kept its key interest rate unchanged at 5%, Reuters reported.

* Sudan's currency yesterday strengthened to 18.5 Sudanese pounds to the U.S. dollar from 20.2 pounds on the black market, after the U.S. on Friday lifted 20-year-old economic sanctions against the war-torn African country, Reuters reported.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed Ghana's long- and short-term sovereign ratings at B-/B and revised the outlook on the long-term rating to positive from stable, on expectations that the country's new administration would implement measures that would help strengthen public finances from their "very weak level."

* Access Bank Plc plans to inject additional capital into unit Access Bank (Ghana) Plc before the end of the first quarter of 2018 as part of efforts to meet the Bank of Ghana's new 400 million cedi capital requirement for local banks, Citi Business News reported.

* Ecobank Transnational Inc. issued a $400 million convertible debt facility, with a maturity of five years, to existing shareholders.

* Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Aishah Ahmad to succeed Sarah Alade as deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, ThisDay reported. Ahmad is currently executive director at Diamond Bank Plc.

* United Capital Plc named Odiri Oginni as acting CFO, effective from Sept. 28. Oginni replaces Sunny Anene, who recently stepped down as group CFO to become managing director of United Capital Asset Management Ltd.

* Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Ltd. signed a partnership deal with Sanlam Ltd. unit Sanlam Kenya Plc allowing the lender to sell Sanlam's insurance products for a fee, Business Daily Africa wrote.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Standard Bank Group Ltd. said it is reviewing its ties with management consulting firm McKinsey and software firm SAP, which are caught up in a scandal involving the controversial Gupta family, Reuters reported. The bank is also examining its relationship with auditing firm KPMG.

* Meanwhile, the South African Reserve Bank said it has not instructed banks on what steps they should, or should not take, regarding their contracts with KPMG. The statement comes after reports that the central bank told the country's top lenders that they cannot fire the auditing firm as such a move might undermine financial stability, Reuters noted.

* South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba called for an investigation into claims of irregularities at Public Investment Corp. and asked for a list of all the state-owned pension fund manager's investments, Bloomberg News reported.

* Nedbank Group Ltd.'s corporate and investment banking operation and Deutsche Bank AG's Deutsche Securities (SA) Pty. Ltd. entered into a cooperation to jointly provide primary equity and debt capital markets services to corporate, public sector and institutional clients in South Africa and select markets in sub-Saharan Africa.

* Kevin Hedderwick, COO and an executive director of South Africa-based investment company Long4Life Ltd., has tendered his resignation, with effect from Oct. 6.

* KPMG Botswana is facing a lawsuit from the liquidator of the failed Kingdom Bank Africa Ltd., which was shuttered by Botswana's central bank in 2015, Mmegi reported. The liquidator claims that the audit firm acted negligently by passing the lender as a solvent entity when it has long been losing money.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Far Eastern International Bank hacked; SBI Life gets nod to open Bahrain branch

Leo Magno, Pádraig Belton 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.