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World Bank approves $250million housing fund for Kenyans

Currently, commercial banks in Kenya hold only about 26,000 mortgage loans of an individual value of KES 11,000,000.

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World Bank approves $250million housing fund for Kenyans
An apartment house in the city of Nairobi, Kenya.

The World Bank approved a $250 million International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan to enhance access to affordable housing finance for Kenyans who are unable to access long-term housing finance.

The Kenya Affordable Housing Finance Project (KAHFP) will support the establishment and operations of the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Corporation (KMRC) -a largely private sector-owned and non-deposit taking financial institution under the supervision of the Central Bank of Kenya.

“We believe that Kenya’s vibrant private sector offers an excellent opportunity to crowd in privately held skills and resources towards achieving the country’s Big 4 affordable housing goals and in alignment with the World Bank Group’s Maximizing Finance for Development agenda,” says Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Kenya Country Director.

He further went on to say;

“Urban housing currently remains unaffordable for most Kenyans due to the cost of financing, the short loan tenures and the high cost of properties.”

Currently, commercial banks in Kenya hold only about 26,000 mortgage loans of an individual value of KES 11,000,000. The interest rate cap of 2016 coupled with an overall Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio of 12% led banks to tighten their credit standards and offer variable rate loans locking out middle to low-income would-be homeowners.

Kenyans largely access loans from Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) that are estimated to provide almost 90% of Kenya’s total housing finance.

“The project will endeavour to boost shared prosperity for all Kenyans by addressing rapid urbanization which often manifests itself through the development of slums,” says Caroline Cerruti, World Bank Senior Finance Specialist and Task Team Leader for the Project.

“The World Bank has supported many mortgage refinance companies in emerging markets, and Kenya has the right pre-conditions for KMRC to be successful, such as supportive macroeconomic conditions, well developed capital markets and financial institutions active in housing finance”.

KAHFP is expected to increase access to finance by tripling the proportion of urban households having access to a mortgage. The project will promote inclusive finance through KMRC serving SACCOs and microfinance banks, which target borrowers on low and irregular incomes.

Investment into affordable housing will have a strong economic multiplier effect given the number of linked sectors and could support 132,000 new jobs. Better housing conditions are also linked to improved health and education outcomes.

The project will be implemented through KMRC, the National Treasury and the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning.

SOURCE: NEWS CENTRAL AND NEWS PARTNERS

 

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Zimbabwe’s inflation rate climbs to 175%

Supplies of essentials such as bread, medicine, and petrol are regularly running short in the country

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Zimbabwe's inflation rate climbs to 175%

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate hit 175 per cent in June, official data showed Monday, stoking fears of a return of the hyperinflation that wiped out savings ten years ago when the economy collapsed.

Official inflation is the highest since hyperinflation forced the government to abandon the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009.

Supplies of essentials such as bread, medicine, and petrol are regularly running short in the country.

“The year-on-year inflation rate for the month of June 2019 as measured by the all items consumer price index stood at 175.66 per cent, while that of May 2019 was 97.85 per cent,” the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency said in a statement.

Millions of Zimbabweans have fled abroad in the last 20 years seeking work.

Many others are now seeking to leave as conditions worsen under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had promised an economic revival after succeeding long-ruling Robert Mugabe in 2017.

Mnangagwa vowed to end the country’s international isolation, attract investors and create growth that could fund the country’s shattered public services.

But the economy has declined further, with shop prices rocketing and long power cuts.

The U.S dollar has been the national currency since 2009.

But last month, Zimbabwe, in theory, ended the use of U.S dollars and other foreign currencies and replaced them by two local parallel currencies — “bond notes” and electronic RTGS dollars, which would combine to become the new “Zimbabwe dollar”.

The new “Zimbabwe dollar” does not yet exist in paper form.

Hyperinflation hit 500 billion per cent in 2009.

SOURCE: NEWS CENTRAL AND NEWS PARTNERS

 

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Central African Republic panel calls for closure of Chinese-run gold mines

The nature of the ecological disaster discovered onsite justifies the immediate, unconditional halt to these activities

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Four Chinese-run gold mines should be closed in the Central African Republic because of pollution threatening public health, a parliamentary panel said in a report published Saturday. 

“Ecological disaster,” “polluted river,” “public health threatened,” were some of the phrases used in the report.

“Gold mining by the Chinese firms at Bozoum is not profitable for the state and harmful to the population and the environment,” the commission found after its investigation into mining in the northern town. 

“The nature of the ecological disaster discovered onsite justifies the immediate, unconditional halt to these activities,” the report found.

A local missionary, Father Aurelio Gazzera, has published a video showing the state of the river and named the four firms concerned as Tian Xian, Tian Run, Meng and Mao.

Members of the commission spent four days in Bozoum a month ago in response to “multiple complaints from the population.”

There, they found a badly polluted River Ouham, shorn of several aquatic species following the excavation of its riverbed.

They discovered that a rising death rate in fishing villages as well as shrinking access to clean drinking water.

The commission also turned up suspicions of accounting irregularities during its investigation. 

“Average production is between 400 grams (1 lb) to 1 kilo per site per month. This situation seems unacceptable with regard to daily production costs,” the report says.

The investigators also voiced fears that the country’s “resources are being squandered with the complicity of certain ministry of mines officials.”

The C.A.R is rich in natural resources but riven by conflict which has forced around one in four of its 4.5 million population to flee their homes.

Under those circumstances, exploitation of the country’s natural resources is difficult to monitor effectively given that the state only has partial control of its own territory.

SOURCE: NEWS CENTRAL AND NEWS PARTNERS

 

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Airtel listing pushes Nigerian stock exchange market capitalisation up

Airtel Africa’s share price rose by the maximum daily percentage change of 10 per cent to close yesterday at ₦399.30 per share

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Airtel listing pushes Nigerian stock exchange market capitalisation up
(File photo)

Airtel Africa Plc started trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) with strong enthusiasm, rallying a ₦136.4 billion gain in the immediate hour after its shares were listed on the Exchange.

Airtel Africa’s share price rose by the maximum daily percentage change of 10 per cent to close yesterday at ₦399.30 per share.

The NSE listed 3.758 billion ordinary shares of Airtel Africa on its main board at ₦363 per share, the offer price for the telco’s initial public offering (IPO). Airtel Africa had last week listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), its primary listing exchange, at 80 pence.

As against the weak start on the first trading day at LSE, Airtel Africa’s dual listing on the NSE started on a positive note, with the telco leading the Nigerian market to a total gain of ₦1.38 trillion.

Airtel Africa’s debut trading on the LSE was, however, weak dropping by as much as 16 per cent during the first trading session.

Airtel Africa set out with an initial listing value of ₦1.36 trillion and closed the first day at the NSE with a market capitalisation of ₦1.5 trillion.

Under its IPO, Airtel Africa had allotted 39.23 million ordinary shares to qualified institutional investors and high net worth investors in Nigeria while 704.82 million shares were allotted to other global investors in various jurisdictions outside Nigeria.

Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa Plc, Raghunath Mandava, says Airtel Africa is delighted to be listed on the main board of the Exchange.

READ: MTN Nigeria debuts in $6.5 billion stock exchange listing

“This is an exciting time for Airtel Africa in the 14 countries it operates in and an important milestone in our development as a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services in Africa”, Mandava says.

Speaking on the floor of the Exchange, Managing Director, Airtel Network Limited (Airtel Nigeria), Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, noted that Nigeria has been a great place for business and Airtel Africa remains committed to building a leadership position in Nigeria.

Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, noted that Airtel Africa has made history as the first telecom company to simultaneously list on both the LSE and NSE.

He said the listing on the Exchange reaffirms Airtel Africa’s long-term commitment to expanding opportunities for Nigerians in addition to providing everyday services to them.

“This listing serves to deepen the telecoms and technology sector for investors and provides an opportunity for a wider group of Nigerians to be part of the African telecoms growth story.

This listing is a promising development in Africa with Airtel Africa being the second company to have its ordinary shares listed on both the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange,” Onyema said.

SOURCE: NEWS CENTRAL AND NEWS PARTNERS

 

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