Africa Brief: Zambian bank sees cellphone potential, Mauritius growth, Egypt fuel shortages and more

Cai pushes for help for Africa

The new head of the International Finance Corporation, Jin-Yong Cai, believes the World Bank’s private-sector lender should “step up its game” in helping Africa clinch big infrastructure deals that are vital for the region’s economic transformation.

For the full story, read Cai pushes for help for Africa by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 10/04/13

Zambian bank sees cellphone potential

Zambia National Commercial Bank (Zanaco), which is adding 800 new customers daily, sees further growth by offering cellphone transactions to the almost two-thirds of potential clients in the country who have no bank account. Lenders in Africa’s biggest copper producer have benefited from the economy expanding at an estimated 7.3 percent last year, according to Bank of Zambia data. The lender aimed to grow its customer base to 1 million by 2015, a 62 percent rise from 617 000 at the end of last year.  Zanaco is trying to emulate the success of lenders in Kenya, where in June last year the value of cellphone money transactions equalled 60 per­cent of the country’s monthly gross domestic product, ac­cording to telecommunications trade group GSMA.

For the full story, read Zambian bank sees cellphone potential by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 10/04/13

Guinea:Mining taxed cut to lure cash

Guinea’s National Transitional Council had amended the mining code to reduce some taxes, in an effort to improve the investment climate. A member of the council, said that the changes cut taxes on mining profits to 30 percent from 35 percent and slashed the tax on bauxite to 0.15 percent of the international market price for aluminium, from 0.55 percent.

For the full story, read Guinea: Mining taxed cut to lure cash by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 10/04/13

Mauritius: Growth to stall at 3.7%-IMF

Mauritius’s economy would expand by 3.7 percent this year, slightly below potential due to subdued demand from its main markets and modest private investment, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday Growth would accelerate to 4.4 percent in 2014. The IMF said that inflation would be about 5 percent this year.

For the full story, read Mauritius: Growth to stall at 3.7%-IMF by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 10/04/13

Egypt: Fuel shortages hit cement firm

A lack of fuel supplies had forced Suez Cement to cut production by as much as 30 percent this year, Egypt’s biggest cement maker by market value.

For the full story, read Egypt: Fuel shortages hit cement firm by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 10/04/13

Daily Air Zimbabwe flights back for fair

Embattled Air Zim­babwe has resumed its service to Johannesburg and daily domestic flights in a bid to turn around its waning fortunes and to compete with other air­lines that have gained a foothold in Zimbabwe. Air Zimbabwe CE Innocent Mavhunga said the return to daily flights between Harare and Bulawayo ahead of an international trade fair at the end of this month in Bulawayo, would help boost business and the air­line’s profitability The airline has inten­sified efforts towards a return to full schedule in preparation for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation summit at Victoria Falls in August.

For the full story, read Daily Air Zimbabwe flights back for fair by Ray Ndlovu, published by Business Day on 10/04/13

IFC chief eyes Africa infrastructure spend

The new head of the Inter­national Finance Corporation (IFC), Jin-Yong Cai, believes the private-sector lender of the World Bank should “step up its game” in helping Africa to secure big infra­structure deals that are vital for its economic transformation. A growing population and rising new middle class demand­ing better services and housing have added to the urgency for bet­ter infrastructure in African cities, Mr Cai said in an interview. While Africa’s natural resour­ces have attracted increased pri­vate investment capital, little of that has gone into infrastructure, leaving budget-strained govern­ments to shoulder the cost of developing projects. China’s arriv­al in Africa has boosted infra­structure development, but much of it has been to link resource-rich areas by road and rail with ware­houses and ports. In the post-financial crisis world, our role has become even more important — we must act as a catalyst both in fragile and poor countries,” said Mr Cai. Poor infrastructure is also blamed for limited intra-African trade. “We need to be involved in important regional transactions, where we can serve as deal maker and enabler.

For the full story, read IFC chief eyes Africa infrastructure spend by Lesley Wroughton, published by Business Day on 10/04/13

Nigerian bank ‘to raise $550m

Nigeria’s Diamond Bank plans to raise $550m in debt or equity to expand its lending operations this year, the bank’s chief financial officer said yesterday. Abdulrahman Yinusa told a Reuters Africa Investment Summit in Nigeria’s capital, Lagos, that the bank would use the funds to increase lending to the oil and gas, power and infrastructure sectors in Africa’s second-biggest economy. It had not yet decided whether to issue debt or equity, but Diamond Bank would seek a shareholder vote on the plans this month. Diamond Bank completed the acquisition of a London-based niche operation owned by Nigeria’s Access Bank last week, which Access had earlier bought off rescued lender Intercontinental Bank, Mr Yinusa said.

For the full story, read Nigerian Bank ‘to raise $550m by Chijioke Ohuocha, published by Business Day on 10/04/13

David Okwara

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