Tuesday 17 October 2017
(Daily Monitor 07/20/17)
Borrowers will have to contend with high interest rates, at least until commercial banks are able to reduce their operating costs, with the government not intervening. There have been calls that Bank of Uganda (BoU) and ministry of Finance legislate and cap interest rate to a certain percentage, like Kenya. However, Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, the BoU Governor, has downplayed the possibility saying it would exclude small businesses from accessing financing. “As the SME sector is crucial for the future growth of the economy and the creation of employment, capping lending rates would constitute a dangerous act of economic self-harm,” he said in a speech at the 1st Annual Bankers Conference yesterday at the Kampala Serena Hotel. Last year, the Kenyan...
(Daily Monitor 07/20/17)
Kampala- Kenya’s National Super Alliance presidential candidate, Mr Raila Odinga, says Kenya should not emulate Uganda to shut down communications on Election Day. Mr Odinga’s remark follows a statement attributed to National Cohesion and Integration Commission Chairperson Francis ole Kaparo that Kenya could shutdown social networking sites to check hate speech. Kenya will have a General Election on August 8. There are fears the polls could turn violent should either Mr Odinga or President Uhuru Kenyatta refuse to concede defeat. “I met Kaparo… he said he has no intention nor does he have the capability to shut off communication systems,” Mr Odinga told journalists on Thursday, in Nairobi. The event was relayed via periscope. “So I told him this [Kenya]...
(The East African 07/20/17)
Uganda--About 460 suppliers with in the oil and gas sector are yet to submit all the necessary documents and requirements to meet the needed capacity to work in Uganda’s oil and gas sector, the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) said in Kampala. Enerst Rubondo, the PAU Executive Director said out of the 753 entities that submitted applications before the closing date which was 15th May 2017, 293 entities were successfully verified to be on the National Supplier Database for Uganda’s Oil and Gas sector. This indicates that a total of 460 entities have not been successfully verified to be on the National Supplier Database for Uganda’s oil and gas sector. “It doesn’t mean that the rest have failed but they...
(Daily Monitor 07/20/17)
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde has said no payment will be made until traders who supplied goods and services to the government of South Sudan are verified. Ms Kyambadde said her ministry will write to the ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs to avail a report of confirmed traders to be catered for. She added that they will also write to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to halt the process regarding the matter. “We cannot run away from you traders when they have unfinished business. Ten years of suffering is too much for one’s business to be affected. We are going to do our part to ensure that all the processes are properly done,” the minister told a group of...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa's major central banks are entering an easing cycle as they try to stimulate growth after months of drought, austerity drives and confidence issues across the continent, a Reuters poll found on Thursday. Much of southern and eastern Africa is still recovering after an El Niño-related drought wilted crops last year. Poor business confidence in South Africa and foreign exchange restrictions in Nigeria have also hampered growth. "We expect that African monetary policy is entering a widespread and protracted period of policy easing. This will provide a boost to growth," said John Ashbourne, Africa analyst at Capital Economics. Ghana, which agreed a three-year fiscal discipline deal with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for aid in 2015,...
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Vodacom Group Ltd. sees the expansion of mobile-banking services into new markets in sub-Saharan Africa as a top priority following a shareholder vote to rubber stamp its purchase of a 35 percent stake in Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest company. “We will use Safaricom to enter other markets where neither Vodacom nor Safaricom are,” Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said in an interview at the wireless carrier’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The two businesses have a combined 30 million mobile-banking customers, giving them “a very sizeable platform on the continent,” he said. Vodacom’s purchase of the Safaricom stake from U.K. parent company Vodafone Group Plc gives the South African company access to the fast-growing M-Pesa platform, which processed...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
Three years after he risked his life crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy on a small boat crammed with migrants, 22-year-old Sow Muhammed can hardly believe his luck. The former street hawker from Guinea now works as a caterer in Venice, rents his own apartment, and sends money back home regularly to his mother and siblings in the West African nation. "I am happy I came to Europe, and my family is also happy," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation as he packed up leftovers at a training event for people who work with refugees, where he had served a menu which included traditional African dishes. "I talk to my family frequently, ask them their needs, and help...
(APA 07/17/17)
The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Saturday adopted a regional biodiversity protocol and related strategies at the conclusion of a two-day meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Executive Secretary of IGAD Mahboub Maalim said the protocol would help to mobilize resources and create much more cooperation on the issue of ecosystem development in the region. IGAD ministers of environment approved the protocol on biodiversity management, which the Maalim described as a milestone achievement. According to Maalim, regional economic integration in the Horn of Africa could be realized through prudent management of natural resources and trans-boundary ecosystems. Recently, Ethiopia and Kenya launched a cross-border program which is the first of its kind. “We are building on that high-level political support to...
(Xinhuanet 07/17/17)
Africa is making progress towards the establishment of a trade zone by Oct. 30 that will cover approximately half of the continent's member states. The Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Director of Trade and Customs, Francis Mangeni, said in a commentary published in the Star Newspaper on Monday that so far 19 of the 26 countries involved have signed the agreement. "Three outstanding annexes had meant the tripartite agreement was not complete and this was advanced by some countries as the reason they could not sign or ratify the agreement. However their adoption represented a milestone in the negotiation, as it removed the last obstacle to signing and ratifying the agreement," Mangeni said. The tripartite free...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/15/17)
The Ugandan government wants to remove the age limit for presidential candidates, a senior official said on Friday, a move that would allow Yoweri Museveni to stay in office. The rules were already changed in 2005 to remove a two-term limit that allowed Museveni, now 72 and in his fifth term, to stay on. Under the current constitution, he would be too old to run in the next election, due in 2021. Mwesigwa Rukutana, Uganda's deputy attorney general, said the cabinet was examining several possible changes to the constitution and that the age limit was one of them. The proposals will be put to parliament.
(Voice of America 07/15/17)
Five countries in East Africa face dire food insecurity after a third poor rainy season in a row, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said Friday. Areas in five countries - Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda - received less than half of their normal seasonal rainfall. "The current phenomenon encompasses an area of about 1 million square kilometers, which is roughly twice the size of France," FAO economist Alessandro Costantino told VOA's Africa division. The extended drought along with a pest called an armyworm has drastically reduced crop yields, leaving millions in East Africa without
(APA 07/12/17)
The United States has pledged an additional $639 million life-saving assistance in humanitarian assistance to Uganda’s refugee crisis, reports said Tuesday. Upon the conclusion of the G20 summit in Germany, and following the June 23 Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees, the U.S. government announced this contribution, which will provide emergency food and nutrition assistance, medical care, and protection to the millions of people affected by food insecurity and violence in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen. According to a statement from the U.S embassy Kampala Some $62.7 million of this total is supporting the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and World Food Program (WFP) refugee assistance operations in Uganda. “The United States remains the single largest...
(Cnbc Africa 07/12/17)
"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure. "I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said. De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size. "If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from ACLED, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. ACLED tracks political violence, protests and terrorist events across Africa. Their reports include attacks since 1997 based on data collected from local news media, government statements, non-governmental organizations and published research...
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Many cell phone companies are rethinking their headlong rush into the continent. Only Orange is staying the course. Back when African countries were auctioning off mobile licenses by the boatload to serve the region’s young, tech-savvy population, investing in the continent’s fast-growing economies seemed like a no-brainer. Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers rushed in. Now they’re wondering if they made a mistake. Increasing government and regulatory scrutiny, as well as a lack of expansion opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, are making it harder for operators such as Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd. to grow. Their choice: Pull back or double down. Two companies beating at least a partial retreat are Millicom International Cellular SA, which...
(AFP (eng) 07/07/17)
Three people carrying a coffin marked with President Yoweri Museveni's name were arrested in western Uganda on Friday and will be charged with "illegal assembly", police said. The three men were arrested in Mbarara, 300 kilometres (186 miles) west of the capital Kampala, after holding the mock funeral procession despite police orders not to gather for a protest. "The three carried a coffin with the inscription 'Rest in Peace, Museveni' and a portrait of the president", said Samson Kasasira, a regional police spokesman.
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The African Union's new chair Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday questioned US commitment to fighting terrorism on the continent after it blocked efforts to get UN funding for an anti-jihadist force in the Sahel. "This is a specific case of a certain number of African states taking the initiative to create a dedicated force to fight terrorism. So, we don't understand how the United States could hold back or not engage in the fight against terrorism," Faki said in an interview with AFP. Faki's January election as chairperson of the AU commission came days after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has proposed slashing US funding for aid projects and multilateral institutions like the UN. The former Chadian...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The costs of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa could double to almost $60 billion annually just 13 years from now, as obesity fuels an explosion of the disease, a report said Thursday. In 2015, the overall diabetes cost in the region was nearly $20 billion (18 billion euros), or 1.2 percent of total economic production, according to research published by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. This included medication and hospital stays, and loss of labour productivity due to illness or death. About half of all treatment costs were paid for by patients themselves.
(BBC News Africa 07/05/17)
Public servants in Uganda are facing a strict dress code after the government issued a circular warning them to "dress decently". Female staff have been told not to show any cleavage, wear brightly coloured nails, braids or hair extensions, sleeveless or transparent blouses. Men must wear long-sleeved shirts, jackets and ties, while trousers should not be tight-fitting. Staff failing to comply will be disciplined. The guidelines, issued by the Ministry of Public Service apply to all non-uniformed civil servants. But there is a feeling...
(Voice of America 07/04/17)
GENEVA — The U.N. children’s fund warns tens of thousands of malnourished children are at great risk in Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, which are on the brink of famine. UNICEF reports an estimated 4.7 million children in the cholera-stricken countries are malnourished. Of these, UNICEF spokesman Christofe Boulierac tells VOA, more than one million are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. “Let me remind you that a child who is suffering from severe acute malnutrition are nine times more likely to die of disease than a well-nourished child," he said. "So, having cholera and diarrhea in countries where so many children are so fragile because of malnutrition among other things because of such a bad access to safe water is...

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