In line with the Kenyan government’s Big Four Agenda, India will invest
Speaking at the India-Kenya Trade and Investment Forum held in Nairobi on Tuesday, India’s High Commissioner, Rahul Chhabra says India is keen to reduce its trade gap with Kenya and regain its top trade partner position.”
My country is committed to jump-starting Kenya’s industrial development in partnership with keen focus on manufacturing, agribusiness and pharmaceuticals. Coincidentally, the three sectors cover most of Kenya’s big four social economic goals’, says Chhabra.
In 2015, China overtook India as the leading net import market for Kenya on the strength of infrastructure materials for the Standard Gauge Railway.
Last year, China remained Kenya’s largest source of imports for machinery and transport equipment, accounting for Sh291.8 billion followed by India at Sh161.2 billion, Saudi Arabia (Sh138.4 billion) and the United Arab Emirates (Sh126 billion).
Pakistan remained Kenya’s biggest export market, mainly for tea, coffee and flowers worth Sh50.2 billion followed by Uganda (Sh42.2 billion), the US (Sh39.5 billion), the Netherlands (Sh38.9 billion) and United Kingdom at Sh37 billion.
India continues to outperform China in terms of the number of jobs created by its foreign direct investment (FDI).
World Bank rankings of FDI-to-job creation ratios place China fifth, while India tops the list for the number of jobs directly created by FDI. Other countries include Britain, USA, South Africa and Germany. The Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry chairman, Kiprono Kittony says India should take advantage of the strong trade ties with Kenya to exploit untapped business opportunities in manufacturing, agribusiness, health and housing sectors.
‘We welcome more investors from India, promising them skilled labour and a conducive business environment’, Kittony says.
State Department of Investment and Industry, Betty Maina assured investors of the government’s support, highlighting that plans are in works to further smoothen ease of doing business. “Although our ease of doing business has improved to position 61 globally, we want to clear more blocks to create the best environment for businesses coming to the country’’, Maina adds.
Masiyiwa to Bid for Ethiopian Telecoms License
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.
Nigeria posts highest quarterly GDP growth since recession
Nigeria’s economic growth rose to an annual rate of 2.55% in the three months to the end of December, its highest quarterly growth since a 2016 recession.
Africa’s largest economy grew 2.27% in 2019 from 1.91% the previous year. The country has struggled to shake off the effects of a 2016 recession that ended the following year and has been grappling with low growth since.
Crude production hovered at around 2 million barrels per day throughout the year.
The non-oil sector, which the government aims to make the main growth sector, rose 2.26% in Q4.
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to revive the economy and diversify it away from oil over-dependence but investors have been waiting for policy signals that could lift growth.
Recently, the IMF cut its 2020 growth forecast for the country to 2% from 2.5%, citing lower demand for oil due to fears that the coronavirus outbreak in China will cause a slowdown.
Annual inflation in Nigeria rose for the fifth straight month to 12.13% in January, its highest in nearly two years.
Absa Kenya signs almost 5 million customers on virtual platform
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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