Here are three big stories from Africa’s business and policy space that might have escaped your notice but are crucial to keep in mind this week:
MTN Nigeria successfully sells commercial paper
MTN Nigeria achieved a significant financial milestone by successfully securing N52.9 billion ($65.7 million) in capital through the completion of Series 8 and 9 within its N20 billion ($25.1 million) commercial paper issuance program. This accomplishment was disclosed in an official notice submitted to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) last week’s Thursday. The Series 8 and 9 Commercial Paper notes fall within the framework of MTN Nigeria’s larger N250 billion Commercial Paper Issuance Programme. According to Uto Ukpanah, the Company Secretary, “The issuance aligns with the company’s strategic approach to diversify financing avenues, directing the funds towards meeting short-term working capital and funding requirements.” The telecom giant’s objective was to raise a total of N52,895,846,000 across both series, and the offer garnered full subscriptions from investors, underscoring confidence in MTN Nigeria’s financial endeavours.
Egypt’s tea by barter proposition with Kenya
Last week, in response to a scarcity of dollars in the Egyptian market, Egypt initiated discussions with Kenya to establish a barter arrangement aimed at securing tea supplies. Faced with challenges in importing the commodity through conventional dollar payments, Egypt proposed a distinctive solution, allowing Kenya to choose goods produced within the Egyptian market in exchange for tea.
Kenyan Treasury Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u, referring to Egypt’s ambassador, revealed the predicament wherein Egypt is currently unable to access Kenya’s tea, detained at the Mombasa port, due to a shortage of US dollars for export transactions. It’s noteworthy that tea export stands as a pivotal source of foreign revenue for Kenya.
This development unfolds against the backdrop of a broader trend across African nations, such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Egypt, grappling with an unprecedented scarcity of dollars within their economies. Kenya, for instance, witnessed a significant devaluation of its Shilling, losing nearly 24% against the US dollar in the preceding October. This depreciation was attributed to a decline in foreign currency inflows from tea exports and diaspora remittances, underscoring the economic challenges faced by several African nations in the current financial landscape.
AFDB lifts economic sanctions on Gabon
The Gabonese government has announced that the African Development Bank (AfDB) has officially lifted financial sanctions previously imposed on the country in the aftermath of the removal of President Ali Bongo in a coup in August.
The Ministry of Economy disclosed that this positive development occurred at the commencement of the week, following successful negotiations between the new Gabonese authorities and high-ranking officials from the AfDB. Noteworthy discussions took place during separate rounds in October, hosted in Morocco and the Republic of Congo.
The decision by the AfDB to lift the sanctions is attributed to Gabon’s proactive measures to instil confidence, including the resolution of outstanding payments to the continental financial institution by the end of October. This move marks a significant step towards the restoration of financial stability and international relations for Gabon.
ICYMI: Market roundup
- The NGX All-Share Index rose by +28.33 (+0.04% ) last week to close at 70,849.38 points on the 10th of November.
- The top gainers include VFD Grou +9.97%, Me Cure Industries +9.80%, DN Meyer +9.72%, FCMB Group +9.38% and Regency Alliance Insurance Company +9.37%. Top decliners were Caverton Offshore Support -9.52%, E-Tranzact International -4.43%, Cutix -3.93%, Fidelity Bank -3.68%, and Veritas Kapital Assurance -3.57%.
- The Nigerian naira started the week at N803.42/$1 and closed the week at a decline of N805.00/$1.
- Brent crude closed the week at $81.70, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude closed at $77.17.
- According to data from Coinmarketcap, the global cryptocurrency market cap stood at $1.42 trillion on Sunday, 11th of November, a 0.48% decrease over the last day. Bitcoin rose by 0.04% to trade at $37,090.87, Ethereum rose by 1.12% to trade at $2,046.96, and Binance Coin rose by 1.92% to trade at $248.20 – over the last day.
- Novastar Ventures, a pan-African VC firm, has secured $80 million in capital from Japan’s SBI Holdings.
- Egypt’s MNT-Halan raises $130 million securitisation to take 2023 funding to over $400 million.
- South African recruitment startup JOBJACK raises $2.5 million to help combat unemployment.
- Ivory Coast’s StarNews Mobile secures $3 million funding, French football players among investors.
- Egyptian SaaS e-commerce startup Awfar raises 6-figure funding to expand in Saudi Arabia.
- West African super app Gozem acquires Benin’s Moneex to boost its fintech expansion.