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SSA news through Jan. 9


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SSA news through Jan. 9

* The World Bank Group expects regional growth in sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate to 2.9% in 2020.


* Kenya's High Court is set to hear a 1 billion shilling dispute over Guardian Bank Ltd.'s acquisition of Guilders International Bank Ltd., Standard Digital reported.

* NCBA Group PLC CEO John Gachora called on the Kenyan central bank to boost minimum capital requirements for lenders to 10 billion shillings — a tenfold increase — in a bid to force consolidation and reduce the country's 40 commercial banks to less than 15, Bloomberg News reported. Separately, Gachora said NCBA Group's board will determine the Kenyan lender's new dividend policy before it releases its first consolidated results for the 2019 financial year in March, Business Daily Africa wrote.

* The acquisition of struggling Kenyan lender Jamii Bora Bank Ltd. by Commercial Bank of Africa is now uncertain following the completion of the latter's merger with NIC Group PLC, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Kenyan lender KCB Group PLC injected 5 billion shillings into unit National Bank of Kenya Ltd., which it acquired in 2019, Reuters reported.


* The Nigerian central bank retained the 65% minimum loan-to-deposit ratio requirement for local banks in the interim, saying it saw a significant increase in the size of gross credit deposit money banks provide to customers.

* Nigeria's National Insurance Commission mandated Odion Unuakhe to wind up the assets of collapsed Investment and Allied Assurance PLC, The Punch reported. Additionally, six insurers have reportedly told the commission that they plan to merge to meet its recapitalization requirements, the publication said in a separate report.

* Fitch Ratings revised the outlooks on United Bank for Africa (Ghana) Ltd., United Bank for Africa Senegal SA and United Bank for Africa Cameroon SA to negative from stable, following a similar action on parent United Bank for Africa PLC in December 2019. Meanwhile, United Bank for Africa reportedly asked multiple employees to resign as part of ongoing restructuring efforts, Premium Times reported.

* Côte d'Ivoire-based NSIA Banque's managing director, Léonce Yace, said that the lender is looking to expand in the 12 west and central African nations where it has existing insurance businesses, Bloomberg News reported. Yace added that the bank recently closed its acquisition of Benin-based Diamond Bank SA.

* The Ghanaian government will seek to raise $3 billion from its diaspora through an investment vehicle that will offer better rates than what depositors usually earn in countries such as the U.S., Bloomberg News reported, citing Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.

* The International Monetary Fund approved the disbursement of roughly $27.63 million to Mali and about $19.5 million to Niger.

* Burkina Faso plans to mobilize 25 billion CFA francs on the money market of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, Agence Ecofin reported.

* Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé accepted a request by the ruling UNIR party to seek another term in the coming Feb. 22 election, Bloomberg News reported.


* South Africa's Absa Group Ltd. appointed former central bank official Aaron Daniel Mminele as CEO of the group and unit Absa Bank Ltd., effective Jan. 15.

* The World Bank Group's unit Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency will provide Absa Group guarantees of $497 million to boost its lending capacity in seven countries. The guarantees will be valid for 15 years for Absa's subsidiaries in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Uganda and Zambia.

* Russia-based VTB Bank PJSC filed a lawsuit in a U.K. court against a Mozambican state-owned company, Mozambique Asset Management, that it lent $535 million to as part of a project that became embroiled in a $2 billion corruption scandal, Reuters reported, adding that the filed documents only outline that the case centers on "general commercial contracts and arrangement" without elaborating further.

* Angola's central bank ordered Banco Económico SA and Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA to boost their capital levels by the end of June after an asset quality review found them to be marginally below the minimum capital requirement, Bloomberg News reported.

* The Portuguese central bank is reviewing the suitability of businesswoman Isabel dos Santos as a shareholder in local banks following a recent court order that her assets in Angola be frozen, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, the Namibian central bank's president said Santos' 42.5% stake in Bank BIC Namibia Ltd. had not so far been affected by a freeze on her assets in Angola, Novo Jornal reported, citing a report in The Namibian.


* Attijariwafa bank SA subsidiary Société Commerciale de Banque Cameroun appointed Alexandre Beziaud CEO, replacing Mohamed Mejbar, Financial Afrik reported.

Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.