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SSA news through March 22


Banking Essentials Newsletter: 7th February Edition


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Private Markets 360° | Episode 8: Powering the Global Private Markets (with Adam Kansler of S&P Global Market Intelligence)

SSA news through March 22

* The leaders of 44 African countries agreed to create a $3 trillion continental free-trade zone, but without South Africa, Nigeria and eight other nations, Reuters and BBC News wrote.


* The Central Bank of Kenya's monetary policy committee unexpectedly cut its central bank rate by 50 basis points to 9.50%. The central bank also criticized a law that caps commercial banks' loan interest rates at 400 basis points above its key rate, saying the rate cap undermines its independence. Governor Patrick Njoroge said the regulator expects to complete its ongoing policy reviews, including that on the rate cap law, sometime in June, The Star reported.

* Equity Group Holdings Plc reported group profit after tax, exceptional items and minority interest of 18.87 billion Kenyan shillings for full year 2017, up from 16.55 billion shillings in 2016.

* Kenya Reinsurance Corp. Ltd. Chairman David Kemei said the reinsurer's recently fired managing director, Jadiah Mwarania, was dismissed as a result of the company's deteriorating performance over the past three years, Business Daily Africa wrote. Mwarania had reportedly claimed that his dismissal was due to attempts to oust the reinsurer's board chairman and two directors.

* A Kenyan court stopped KCB Group PLC from paying annual management bonuses, set to be paid at March-end, following a dispute regarding appraisals with employees who are able to unionize, according to Business Daily Africa.

* Centum Investment Co. Ltd. sold a majority stake in pension fund manager GenAfrica Asset Managers Ltd. to U.S.-based Kuramo Capital Management LLC. Centum also completed the sale of its 25% stake in microfinance lender Platcorp Holdings Ltd.

* Uganda-based dfcu Ltd. sold its entire stake in Crane Bank Rwanda Ltd. to Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd.


* The Bank of Ghana placed uniBank (Ghana) Ltd. in administration and appointed accounting firm KPMG as its administrator in a bid to save the lender "from imminent collapse." UniBank managers intend to seek the reversal of the takeover, saying the central bank failed to notify them before announcing the move, Reuters wrote.

* National Investment Bank Ltd. Chairman Togbe Afede said the bank has not been approached by the Ghanaian government over a potential merger with Agricultural Development Bank Ltd., Citi Business News wrote.

* Nigeria's Senate approved the appointment of three new members of the central bank's monetary policy committee, allowing the committee to establish a quorum of six and proceed as planned with the next interest rate-setting meeting set for April 3 and 4, Reuters wrote.

* Access Bank PLC reported group profit attributable to owners of 61.98 billion Nigerian naira for full year 2017, compared to 71.12 billion naira a year earlier.

* Unity Bank PLC is in discussions with some potential investors regarding a capital injection but has not finalized any deal. The Nigerian lender also noted that it had not received an investment commitment from U.S. private equity firm Milost Global Inc., which had been reportedly planning to invest up to $1 billion in the bank.

* Nigeria-based financial services firm FCMB Group PLC elected Oladipupo Jadesimi to be its new chairman.

* The final preparations are complete for the launch of business mogul Pépite d'Apollinaire Campaoré's Wendkuni Bank International in Burkina Faso, according to Financial Afrik.

* Togo-based pan-African lender Ecobank Transnational Inc. reported full-year 2017 group profit attributable to owners of the parent of $178.6 million, compared to a loss of $249.9 million a year ago.


* Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim resigned from her post "to prevent a constitutional crisis" amid allegations of misusing a credit card provided by an international nongovernmental organization, Reuters reported, citing Gurib-Fakim's lawyer Yousuf Mohamed.

* FirstRand Ltd. obtained a license for short-term insurance services from South Africa's Financial Services Board that will allow First National Bank to underwrite short- and long-term policies to businesses and retail customers as a complete insurer.

* South Africa-based Santam Ltd. named Steve Murphy head of unit Santam Reinsurance, effective April 1.

* The European Central Bank signed a memorandum of understanding with the South African Reserve Bank for the purposes of cooperation in the field of central banking.

* Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA Chairman Alcides Safeca said the state-run lender will resume lending from April, initially to companies and to consumers with wage guarantees on their loans, Jornal de Angola reported. The Angolan lender had halted lending as part of an ongoing restructuring.

* AfrAsia Bank Ltd.'s board approved a rights issue of up to 6,944,444 new ordinary shares to raise nearly 500.0 million Mauritian rupees in additional capital.

Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.