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Ethiopian Airlines to open three new Chinese destinations1 minute read

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Ethiopian Airlines to open three new Chinese destinations

Ethiopia’s flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines plans to launch flights to three new Chinese destinations.

Dawit Temsgen, Communications Expert at the airline, explains that the carrier looks to open up new routes to the Chinese cities of Chongqing, Shenzhen and Zhengzhou and the airline has requested for permits to launch these flights.

Ethiopian and the Chinese government are working in collaboration to expedite the approval process and the airline will begin operations once it secures the permit.

Temsgen adds that the airline plans to expand its current operations to China by increasing its flight frequencies to popular destinations such as Guangzhou to twice daily.

Recently, Ethiopian Airlines unveiled a series of measures to boost its presence in the Chinese market, which is already the airline’s single largest air market.

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Masiyiwa to Bid for Ethiopian Telecoms License

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Zimbabwean Billionaire and founder of Econet Global Ltd, Strive Masiyiwa has disclosed his position on acquiring a telecommunications license in Ethiopia, which is opening up the industry to foreign investment for the first time.

The Horn of African country has announced plans to sell as much as 49% of the state-owned monopoly, Ethiopian Telecommunications Corp and to issue two new spectrum licenses.

Carriers including Orange SA, MTN Group Ltd. and Vodacom Group Ltd. have already shown interest in the country of more than 100 million people, which has a relatively low level of data penetration and internet access.

Econet, through a number of its subsidiaries, is actively developing interests in Ethiopia.

Econet has operations in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Burundi, with investments in Europe and South America.

The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had scheduled the liberalization of the industry for early this year.

However, it is yet to provide guidance on the exercise, including any limits on foreign ownership.

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Absa Kenya signs almost 5 million customers on virtual platform

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Kenya’s Absa Bank , a part of South Africa’s Absa Group, has signed almost 5 million customers on its virtual banking platform, which it sees as a major driver for future growth, chief executive, Jeremy Awori announced yesterday.

When the bank first launched its virtual savings and loan app known as “Timiza” — Kiswahili for “Achieve” — in March 2018, it attracted 300,000 customers. By the end of the year it had 3 million users, with lending standing at 10 billion Kenyan shillings ($98.91 million).

The bank, formerly known as Barclays Kenya, also has a separate mobile-based banking service to process normal customer transactions such as deposits and withdrawals.

Absa Kenya, posted a pretax profit of 8.18 billion shillings in the first nine months of 2019, compared with 7.72 billion shillings in year-earlier period.

Kenyan lenders have in recent years , turned to technology as they try to counter competition from mobile phone-based financial services such as from telecoms operator Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform, which had 23.6 million users as of last September.

Absa’s virtual banking app’s competitors include those run by KCB Group’s, NCBA Group and Equity Group.

Pressure to use mobile banking services increased further when the government imposed a cap on commercial lending rates in 2016 that ate into bank profit margins forcing banks to search for new ways to grow their businesses. The cap was scrapped at the end of last year.

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Common Customs bond in East Africa will to reduce costs

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Importers in East Africa will from July, operate under a common Customs bond, to guarantee uniform import duties and taxes across all partner states.

Currently, the value of Customs bonds varies from country to country because of the application of different duty rates, valuation and sensitivity of goods.

Kenya requires importers of transit goods to secure a Customs bond issued by an insurance company, while delicate or sensitive cargo requires a bank or cash guarantee. In Uganda and Rwanda, the Customs bond is issued by an insurance company with rates based on the taxes charged by the destination country.

According to the East Africa Community Single Custom Territory Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, the common Customs bond will reduce the cost of doing business and goods turnaround time.

This common Customs bond is expected to be adopted during the Council of Ministers in July as part of the pillar to create a Customs Union. It is meant to create a level playing field for the region’s producers by imposing uniform competition laws, Customs procedures and external tariffs on goods imported from countries outside the EAC.

To secure cargo movement in the region, revenue commissioners from Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda in attendance, say they are already implementing cargo tracking systems and before the end of this year, there will be one data control centre to monitor and track cargo.

The new data control centre involves computerisation of all Customs systems and it will help in enhancing online tools, which include a regional dashboard, transport observatory system and a geographic information system.

A regional cargo tracking system is already operational on the Northern Corridor and has reduced cargo loss to close to zero in 2019.

According to the committee, the EAC secretariat in collaboration with Trade Mark East Africa and other partner states particularly the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) are looking into the possibility of interfacing the TRA Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTs) platform with existing ECTS systems along the central corridor.

Kenya Revenue Authority regional co-ordinator Southern Region Kenneth Ochola said they are setting up internal mechanisms in consultations with the Kenya Bureau of Standards to monitor compliance.

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