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Kenyan authorities say Ebola case is a “false alarm”

The Health Ministry has spelt out a list of preventive measures that Kenya has already taken.

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Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki speaks to the media as travellers at the arrival terminal are screened by port health service, at the Jommo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi

Kenya sought to reassure the public and foreign visitors on Monday after a suspected Ebola case, which turned out to be negative, was detected near the border with Uganda.

Uganda last week reported three cases of Ebola, two of them fatal, among people who had been to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where an epidemic has been underway since last August.

Kenyan Health Minister Sicily Kariuki said a 36-year-old woman in the western county of Kericho had fallen ill with headache, fever and vomiting, which can also be symptoms of Ebola.

Further examination found she did not have the disease, Kariuki said at a press conference staged at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

“The Rapid Surveillance and Response Team has examined the patient, who is in stable condition, and has confirmed that she does not meet the case definition for Ebola,” she said.

“I wish to reassure all Kenyans and our visitors that we do not have any cases of Ebola.”

The Ugandan cases were confirmed in a town that is more than 600 kilometres from the border with Kenya.

Kariuki spelt out a list of preventive measures that Kenya had already taken.

They included the installation of thermal cameras at entry points to detect people with high temperatures, as well as isolation units to host suspected cases. More than 250 health ministry workers have been deployed at entry points as part of this strategy.

The minister called on the public to be vigilant, urging anyone with Ebola-like symptoms who had travelled to affected countries to go to the nearest hospital.

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Tanzanian mining firms to pay royalty fees on mineral production

The Tanzania Mining Commission set a deadline of September 15 to enforce the directive

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Tanzanian mining firms to pay royalty fees on mineral production

Mining companies in Tanzania risk being denied transport permits to ferry their products if they have not adhered to section 18 of the country’s Mining Act of 2010 (and revised in 2017), which requires all producers pay royalty fees on the gross value of minerals produced.

The Tanzania Mining Commission set a deadline of September 15 to enforce the directive.

The issue came up when Tancoal Energy Ltd. claimed that the law was punitive and would make its products expensive. However, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Simon Msanjila, says that the royalty fees have been in effect since 2010 and other companies producing coal and other minerals were already applying it.

“Tancoal have been avoiding paying the fees all these years, despite expanding their coal exports portfolio to include clients outside the country,” said Prof Msanjila. He further added that “it’s about time they start paying as well.”

The law requires every authorised miner in Tanzania to pay royalty fees based on the gross value of their produce. The gross value is the market value of the minerals at the point of refining or sale.

Violation of the directive results in up to two years imprisonment, maximum Tsh10 million fine in the case of an individual, or Tsh50 million fine for a corporate.

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Somalia’s economy to grow by 2.9% -World Bank

Tax collection by the government increased by 29 per cent last year, as the economy recovered from a drought the previous year

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Somalia’s economy to grow by 2.9% -World Bank

Somalia’s economy is expected to grow by 2.9 per cent this year, from 2.8 per cent last year, before growth quickens to 3.2-3.5 per cent in the medium term, the World Bank said on Monday.

The country has been in turmoil since 1991, when clan warlords overthrew President Siad Barre and then turned on each other. Over the past decade, it has been hit by famine and sporadic terror attacks by al Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab.

The higher growth forecast for the next three-to-five years would depend on the country being able to sustain its current economic reform momentum, the World Bank said in a statement.

Tax collection by the government increased by 29 per cent last year, as the economy recovered from a drought the previous year and the government changes its tax policies, the World Bank said.

“While this progress is encouraging, the available fiscal space remains insufficient to meet expenditure needs for education and health sectors,” the bank said.

It asked the government to form a fund dedicated to education to allow authorities in Mogadishu to mobilise more cash from regional states and other partners to support learning.

In May, the International Monetary Fund said Somalia’s economy was on the right track but warned that it was still vulnerable to fragile security, climate change and poverty.

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East Africa Business News

Kenya’s Equity to buy Congo’s second-largest bank

Equity Group Holdings plans to acquire a controlling stake in Banque Commerciale du Congo

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Kenya’s Equity to buy Congo’s second-largest bank
(File photo)

Kenya’s Equity Bank has announced plans to acquire the second-largest lender in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of the East African group’s strategy to expand across Africa.

The bank’s parent company, Equity Group Holdings, has entered into a non-binding agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Banque Commerciale du Congo.

“The proposed transaction is an opportunity for EGH to deliver the vision of building sub-Saharan Africa’s premier financial institution through delivering innovative products and services to customers, including, in particular, the effective use of technology,” the company said.

Founded as a provider of mortgage financing in the 1980s, Equity bank has expanded rapidly in the last 15 years by targeting previously unbanked, low-income depositors and is now Kenya’s biggest lender by market value and Africa’s largest bank by customer numbers.

Equity acquired Congo’s seventh-biggest bank, ProCredit Bank Congo, in 2015 and in April agreed to buy Atlas Mara’s banking operations in Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania, in a deal worth about $106m. Equity now has operations in eight African countries. It did not disclose how much it will pay for the stake in BCDC, which was founded in 1909.

BCDC had total assets of $706m at the end of 2017. The Congolese government owns a 25 per cent stake in the lender.

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