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Uganda approves return of over 2,500 nationals stranded abroad

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Over 2,500 Ugandan nationals stranded abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic can now return home as approved by the Ugandan cabinet.

The cabinet on Monday, agreed that Ugandan nationals trapped in 66 countries can return home at their own cost.

The government is making arrangements with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to fly the stranded citizens home, Judith Nabakooba, the country’s minister for information, communication technology and national guidance says, adding that all the returning citizens will have to undergo a 14-day mandatory institutional quarantine. 

President Yoweri Museveni last month, directed Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to study the possibility of evacuating dozens of citizens stranded abroad amid Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions. 

To contain the spread of Covid-19, the country on March 22 suspended all incoming flights, except cargo flights. 

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Nigeria’s Central Bank Retains Lending Rate at 11.5 Per Cent

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Nigeria's Central Bank governor named for second term

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday, held the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 11.5 per cent and retained the Cash Reserves Ratio at 27.5 per cent as it battles to combat rising inflation and a recession.

Speaking at the apex bank’s first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in 2021, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said all 10 members of the committee voted to stick with the current rate.

Also retained are the Liquidity Ratio which was left at 30 per cent; and the Asymmetric corridor which was left at +100 and -700 basis points around the MPR.

Emefiele also disclosed that the CBN has secured approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the Nigeria Commodity Exchange.

The CBN governor said the Bank can no longer sit back and watch unscrupulous commodity merchants hoard commodities and force the prices of commodities to be high.

The bank cut rates twice last year to try to stimulate an economy that has been hobbled by the COVID-19 pandemic and an oil price crash.

The bank is facing the challenge of stimulating growth at the same time as trying to curb double-digit inflation while also propping up the ailing naira currency, hit by lower oil receipts, Emefiele said.

Africa’s biggest economy fell into its second recession in four years in the third quarter.

Nigeria, the continent’s top oil exporter which relies on crude sales for 90% of foreign-exchange earnings, was last in recession in 2016. It emerged the following year, but growth has remained fragile since.

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Kenyan Start-up Pula Raises $6 Million in Series A Funding

The start-up specialises in digital and agricultural insurance to protect smallholder farmers in Africa from risk.

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Kenyan insurance-tech start-up, Pula, has raised $6 million in its Series A round of funding. The start-up specialises in digital and agricultural insurance to protect smallholder farmers in Africa from risk.

Pula delivers agricultural insurance and digital products to help smallholder farmers improve their farming practices, navigate climate risks, and bolster their incomes over time.

Through its Area Yield Index Insurance product, the startup leverages machine learning, crop-cut experiments and data points relating to weather patterns and farmer losses, so as to build products that cater to various risks.

Investors who took part in the round include early-stage venture capital firm, TLcom Capital and Women’s World Banking. As part of the fundraising, TLcom’s senior partner Omobola Johnson will join Pula’s board. 

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According to Pula, the fund will be used to scale up operations in its existing 13 markets across Africa which are Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique.

In 2018, Pula raised another $1 million in seed investment from Rocher Participations, Accion Venture Lab, Omidyar Network, and several angel investors.  

Furthermore, the company is looking to propel its expansion for smallholder farmers in Asia and Latin America.

Its clientele includes the World Food Programme, Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Zambian and Kenyan governments. Social enterprises like One Acre Fund, startups like Apollo Agriculture and agribusiness giants like Flour Mills and Export Trading Group are also among Pula’s clients.

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Nigeria Stock Exchange Gains N46bn on Blue Chip Firms

Consequently, the All-Share Index grew by 86.97 basis points or 0.21 per cent from 41,001.99 index points last-week to 41,088.96, while the market capitalization of equities appreciated by N46bn to close at N21.49tn from N21.45tn.

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Equity trading on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Monday closed on a positive note with a gain of N46bn as the bulls regained grip on trading activities.

The market performance indices; Nigeria Stock Exchange All Share Index, appreciated by 0.21 per cent with market breathe, but closed negative with 19 gainers against 30 losers.

Consequently, the All-Share Index grew by 86.97 basis points or 0.21 per cent from 41,001.99 index points last-week to 41,088.96, while the market capitalisation of equities appreciated by N46bn to close at N21.49tn from N21.45tn.

On the activity chart, the banking sub-sector dominated in volume terms with 64.12m shares exchanged in 938 deals and was enhanced by the activities in the shares of Fidelity Bank Plc and Union Bank Plc.

Read Also: Nigeria Stock Exchange | All-Share Index and Market Capitalization increased by 2.19%

Diversified industries sub-sector was also boosted by the activities in the shares of Transcorp Plc and UACN Plc followed with 58.18m units traded in 348 deals.

In all, investors exchanged a total of 333.09m shares exchanged in 5,640 deals.

Further analysis of the day’s trading showed that Academy Press Plc led the gainers with 10 per cent to close at 44 kobos per share while May and Baker Plc followed with 9.86 per cent to close at N4.01 per share and MRS Plc with a gain of 9.82 per cent to close at N12.30 per share.

On the flip side, C and I Leasing Plc and Royal Exchange Plc led the losers’ chart with a drop of 10 per cent each to close at N5.13 and 36 kobos per share respectively. ARDOVA Plc also followed with a loss of 9.78 per cent to close at N18.45 per share, while Japaul Gold Plc dropped by 9.47 per cent to close at 86 kobo per share.

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