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Non-OPEC countries join in oil cuts; Gambian president rejects loss

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Non-OPEC countries join in oil cuts; Gambian president rejects loss

* Bahrain, Oman, Russia and eight other nonmembers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to reduce their oil production by a combined 558,000 barrels a day for a six-month period beginning in January 2017, just days after OPEC member countries decided to cut their own oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day. Shares in Saudi Arabia rose to a 12-month high yesterday following the announcement, The National reports.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* After winning the U.S. presidential election in November, Donald Trump has closed down some of his companies, including four companies that appeared to have links with a possible Saudi Arabia business venture, The Guardian reports, citing corporate registrations in Delaware. Alan Garten, general counsel for the Trump Organization, denied the existence of a Trump business venture in the country, calling the closure of the four companies routine "housecleaning."

* Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah named Essam Abdul Mohsen al-Marzouq oil minister, Reuters writes, citing Kuwaiti news agency KUNA. Former acting Oil Minister Anas al-Saleh retained his other role as finance minister. Separately, the emir told Kuwait's newly elected parliament that spending cuts have now "become inevitable" due to the plunge in oil prices, the newswire reports.

* Hedva Ber, supervisor of banks at the Israeli central bank, said she expects the banking sector to save at least 1 billion shekels annually from 2020 through cost cuts that include mandatory job cuts and branch closures, Reuters reports. Israel's largest banks are expected to shed approximately 5,100 jobs over the next five years, or a net 10% of the total workforce, while some 200 branches, or 20% of the total, are due to be closed.

* Bank Mellat (Public JS) plans to launch a subsidiary in Malaysia and a branch in Georgia in the next two months, the Financial Tribune reports.

* Abobakr Emam, head of research at Egypt's Prime Holding, said the next step in reforming the Egyptian banking sector should be the implementation of the Basel III regulatory regime, according to Daily News Egypt.

* Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer said Egypt has recorded roughly $1 billion of inflows in the month following the flotation of the pound early in November, Reuters reports.

* Morocco-based Crédit Immobilier et Hôtelier SA issued a 1 billion dirham subordinated bond, La Nouvelle Tribune reports. The bank intends to launch bond issues totaling 4 billion dirhams over four years in order to finance its development plan.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Gambian President Yahya Jammeh rejected the results of an election held Dec. 1 and called for fresh elections after what he said was a "thorough investigation" found "abnormalities" during the electoral process, Reuters reports. Jammeh initially conceded defeat to opposition leader Adama Barrow, who was declared the winner. Jammeh's ruling party is preparing a petition against the declaration, The Independent reports.

* Ghanaian opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo was declared the winner of the recent presidential election in the country, BBC News reports. Incumbent President John Mahama conceded defeat after the Electoral Commission announced the result.

* Agricultural Development Bank Ltd. raised 325.8 million Ghanaian cedis from its IPO, lower than the bank's expectation of 383.7 million cedis, according to Citi Business News. The bank plans to commence trading on the stock exchange today.

* Barclays Africa Group Ltd. invested 32 billion Tanzanian shillings in new capital into Barclays Bank Tanzania Ltd., Tanzania's Daily News writes. The capital injection aims to help position the Tanzanian unit for growth in the local market.

* Wilson Uwujaren, head of media and public affairs at the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, signaled that the law enforcement agency will soon take some bank CEOs and managing directors to court to answer money-laundering allegations, following the conclusion of its investigations into the issue, ThisDay reports.

* George Mensah-Asante was appointed managing director of Ecobank Liberia Ltd., Daily Observer reports. Mensah-Asante, formerly executive director of consumer banking at Ecobank Ghana Ltd., replaced Gilles Guerard.

* Imperial Bank Ltd. shareholders said in court documents filed Friday that some Central Bank of Kenya staff played a role in a purported $350 million fraud at the troubled lender, the Financial Times reports. About half a dozen of the central bank's officials allegedly conspired with senior executives at the bank to conceal millions of dollars of unauthorized loans and overdrafts to a number of companies and individuals over several years.

* KCB Group Ltd. and Western Union agreed on a mobile money transfer service, allowing customers of the bank to use their mobile phones to access cash from abroad through the money transfer company and transfer it to their bank accounts, Business Daily Africa reports.

* Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc's Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Ltd. expressed support for a proposed micro-pension scheme, The Nation reports. CEO Eric Fajemisin said the initiative offers enormous benefits to the society.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Angolan central bank Governor Valter Filipe da Silva said there is no need to devalue the kwanza at present, adding that the regulator will work on measures to reduce the gap between the formal and informal exchange rates, Reuters reports. The currency currently trades at a much weaker level in the black market than the approximately 165 kwanza per U.S. dollar quoted by the central bank.

* South Africa's current account deficit stood at 4.1% of the country's gross domestic product in the third quarter, widening from a revised deficit of 2.9% in the previous three-month period, Reuters reports.

* Standard Bank Group Ltd. acquired a majority shareholding in financial technology firm Firepay, AFKInsider reports.

* Zambia's Court of Appeal allowed Stanbic Bank Zambia Ltd. to appeal a court decision ordering the bank to pay 192.5 million kwacha of compensation to Savenda Management Services for registering the company as a delinquent borrower with the Credit Reference Bureau, Lusaka Times reports.

* The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will this week introduce a new transaction fee structure that will require banks to remove fixed withdrawal charges and apply a new system wherein the withdrawal charge is proportional to the amount of cash withdrawn by a customer, The Sunday Mail of Zimbabwe reports.

* Samuel Mebiame, son of former Gabonese Prime Minister Leon Mebiame, pleaded guilty Friday before a U.S. court to paying bribes to government officials in certain African countries to receive mining rights while working for a joint venture involving U.S. hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC, Reuters reports. Mebiame, who has been in U.S. custody since being arrested in August, faces a maximum prison sentence of five years. The verdict is expected to be out April 6, 2017.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: China to roll out interbank yuan trading; ASEAN to cut nontariff barriers

Leo Magno, Sarah Raslan, 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.