Africa Brief: Kenya’s KCB banks, Burundi, Zimbabwe, World Bank’s Africa growth and more

Foreigners watch as Kenya’s KCB banks profit in Burundi

It took Kenyan lender KCB Group less than a year to break even after opening in tiny Burundi, a country better known for explosive violence than explosive growth.

KCB’s success highlights the hunger for financial services that the biggest local banks are turning regional to tap. While there is an average of pretty much one deposit ac¬count for every South African, according to the latest World Bank data that falls to fewer than 220 accounts per thousand people in Burundi, a 2012 survey showed.

For the full story, read Foreigners watch as Kenya’s KCB banks profit in Burundi, by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura, published by Business Day on 15/07/13

Zimbabwe may shut down Tongaat operations

Zimbabwe government officials are gearing up to tackle South African agri-processing company Tongaat Hulett for its alleged reluctance to comply with the contentious indigenisation law. Economists said the indigenisation policy, which insists foreign companies give away 51% of the shares in their local units to black Zimbabweans, scared away much needed foreign investment, considered key in efforts to turn around Zimbabwe’s economy.

For the full story, read Zimbabwe may shut down Tongaat operations, by Tawanda Karombo, published by Business Day on 16/07/13

World Bank sees Africa growth speeding up

Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth should accelerate to more than 5% over the next three years, far outpacing the global average, but the region had to do more to convert this into reducing poverty, the World Bank said yesterday. In its latest Africa’s Pulse analysis of prospects for the region, the bank saw increased investment, high commodity prices and a pick-up in the global economy driving this expected growth surge in the world’s poorest continent.

For the full story, read World Bank sees Africa growth speeding up, by Pascal Fletcher, published by Business Day on 16/07/13

Private equity may find favour on the continent

The African growth story is one of the hottest tick¬ets in town, but after a lacklustre last year, investors and firms are quickly learning that alternative forms of capital raising are crucial ingredients for a successful strategy. A major decline in fund raising activity last year and challenges like labour unrest have raised the bar. With African stock markets underdeveloped, not very liquid and often not representative of underlying economies, Ms van der Merwe says that private equity, in combination with listed assets, could be a good strategy to consider.

For the full story, read Private equity may find favour on the continent, by Evan Pickworth, published by Business Day on 16/07/13

SA will provide Zimbabwe with $100m, says Biti

South Africa had approved $100 million (R912m) in budgetary support to Zimbabwe, helping plug a gap in government finances ahead of elections expected later this year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said yesterday.

For the full story, read SA will provide Zimbabwe with $100m, says Biti, by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 16/07/13

Growth forecast gives sub-Saharan Africa a chance to reduce poverty

The World Bank said better administering of mineral wealth, development of agriculture and a careful managing of rapid urbanisation would help African governments seize the opportunity to lift more of their people out of poverty. But the bank saw some problem spots, singling out labour unrest in South Africa, and political unrest in the Central African Republic, Mali and Togo.

For the full story, read Growth forecast gives sub-Saharan Africa a chance to reduce poverty, by Pascal Fletcher, published by The Star, Business Report on 16/07/13

Zimbabwe: Soft rand helps retard inflation

Zimbabwe’s headline consumer inflation slowed to 2.76 percent year on year in March from 2.98 percent in February data from Zimstats showed yesterday. On a month-on-month basis, the rise in the consumer price index (CPI) also braked to 0.21 percent from 0.95 percent, the national statistics agency said. Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the drop was due to a decline in the value of the rand against the dollar, making Zimbabwe’s imports from its neighbour much cheaper.

For the full story, read Zimbabwe: Soft rand helps retard inflation, by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 16/07/13

David Okwara

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