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Saturday, 28 February 2015

Q&A WITH HARRISON MWAKYEMBE: TANZANIA KNOWS FROM EXPERIENCE THAT EAC MUST HAVE FIRM FOUNDATION

Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, Tanzania’s Minister for East African Co-operation and also the new chair of the EAC Council of Ministers.
On the sidelines of the EAC Heads of Summit meeting held in Nairobi, Christabel Ligami spoke to Tanzania’s Minister for East African Co-operation, also the new chair of the EAC Council of Ministers, on the way forward for the regional bloc following recent reports of misuse of funds.

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The EAC Heads of State Summit in Nairobi did not address much of the agenda; issues were postponed to the next summit in April. Why was this so?

The way the Community functions is that decisions have to be finalised at the meetings level conclusively before the presidents pass them.

We have meetings at different levels and at each level there are issues raised that require consultations with partner states. For example, for the key agenda item on the alternative financing model for the Community, no final decision could be reached because the matter is still at the partner states level.

Q&A WITH AGA KHAN VARSITY PRESIDENT FIROZ RASUL - AGA KHAN UNIVERSITY GRADUATES CREATE JOBS AND CHANGE THE WORLD

Firoz Rasul, president of the Aga Khan University.
The president of the Aga Khan University, which just announced a $1 billion expansion plan in East Africa as it marks 15 years in the region, spoke to Churchill Otieno on the thinking driving this investment.

READ: Aga Khan University to invest $1bn in East Africa

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East Africans today have quite a wide choice of university education. What distinguishes AKU?

AKU was conceptualised in the mid-1970s. The founders wanted to create a university in the developing world, for the developing world, of international standards to improve the quality of life. Its focus has been on South Asia and East Africa, where our activities were more prevalent and, therefore, where we had the most knowledge.


The university was set up to be elite without being elitist — that is, to provide high quality education without being exclusive. The pluralism of the institution is very important.

EA BANKS RECORD RISE IN BAD LOANS, RWANDA IMPROVES SLIGHTLY

A KCB and Equity Bank agent in Rwanda. Rwanda’s banking industry has been affected by high operating costs and non-performing loans, with KCB and Equity Bank both reporting losses in their units last year.
Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania recorded a rise in their non-performing loans (NPLs) last year, forcing local banks to set aside part of their profits to cover this category of credit. Rwanda, however, registered a slight decline in bad loans.

According to the Central Bank of Kenya Credit Officer Survey Report for 2014, non-performing loans increased by 30.6 per cent to $1.12 billion, up from $872 million in 2013. Gross loans increased by 22.8 per cent from $17.3 billion to $29.3 billion in the same period.

Kenya experienced an increased appetite for credit in six of its eight economic sectors. The report says that this year, banks are expecting a rise in non-performing loans in the energy and water, manufacturing, real estate and agricultural sectors.

RAIS KIKWETE AONGOZA KIKAO CHA KAMATI KUU YA CCM IKULU DAR ES SALAAM

Mwenyekiti wa CCM Rais Dkt. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete akiongoza kikao cha Kamati Kuu ya Halmashauri kuu ya taifa ikulu jijini Dar es Salaam leo. Wapili kulia ni Rais wa Zanzibar Dkt. Ali Mohamed Shein na wawatu kulia ni makamu wa Rais Dkt.Mohamed Gharib Bilal. Kushoto ni Katibu Mkuu wa CCM Ndugu Abdulrahman Kinana.
Mwenyekiti wa CCM Rais Dkt. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete akiwaongoza wajumbe wa Kamati Kuu ya Halmashauri Kuu ya Taifa kusimama kwa dakika chache kumkumbuka mjumbe wa baraza la wawakilishi wa jimbo la Magomeni Zanzibar ambaye pia alikuwa mjumbe wa kamati hiyo leo wakati wa kuanza kikao cha kamati hiyo ikulu jijini Dar es Salaam. (Picha na Freddy Maro).

SINGLE CUSTOMS REGIME: IT NOW COSTS LESS TO CLEAR CARGO AT PORT

The Single Customs Territory will speed up the movement of goods coming in through the Mombasa (above) and Dar es Salaam ports.
The cost of clearing cargo at the port of Mombasa and of transport along the Northern Corridor has gone down by 30 per cent since the implementation of the East African Single Customs Territory (SCT).

At the recently concluded Heads of State Summit, the EAC presidents in their communique said that since it was started, the Customs arrangement has offered local businesses huge benefits in moving goods and raw materials.

However, industry players in the cargo-clearing industry say that the reduced costs are as a result of the interventions mostly on the Northern Corridor.

FATE OF NON-TARIFF BARRIERS BILL LIES IN THE HANDS OF MINISTERS

Trucks queue at the Namanga border between Kenya and Tanzania. Non-tariff barriers have been cited as the biggest threats to doing business in East Africa.
The East African Community Council of Ministers has initiated the process of fast-tracking the Non-Tariff Barriers Bill into law.

This is expected to compel partner states to eliminate the numerous NTBs that hinder smooth movement of goods and services within the economic bloc.

The EAC Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers Bill, 2015 was passed by the East African Legislative Assembly in January to enable partner states to completely remove NTBs to allow free movement of goods, people and labour as a requirement by Common Market Protocol.

UCHUMI WILL NOT USE RIGHTS CASH TO FUND NEW BRANCHES

Shoppers at Uchumi Supermarkets in Nairobi. The supermarket chain has changed tack in its expansion strategy after $26m cash injection ended in $2.88m loss.
Uchumi Supermarkets’ expansion strategy has come under intense scrutiny following its Ksh262.3 million ($2.88 million) interim loss despite a cash injection of more than $26 million over two years.

The giant retail chain, which is Kenya’s oldest, blamed the loss for the six months ended December 31, 2014 on high operational costs, increasing competition and falling sales. Over a corresponding period in the previous year, it had recorded Ksh106.9 million ($1.17 million) net profit.

“This is due to committed rental escalations and the impact of rent for newly opened branches that have yet to mature, coupled with higher staff costs,” Uchumi chief executive officer Jonathan Ciano said in a telephone interview.

INFORMATION SHARING GOES REGIONAL AS CREDIT BUREAUS CROSS BORDERS

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Prof Njuguna Ndung’u (centre) with Metropol Credit Reference Bureau MD Sam Omukoko (left) and Kenya Bankers Association CEO Habil Olaka at a Metropol corporate function in Nairobi on July 24 last year.
Loan defaulters in East Africa could soon have nowhere to hide as credit reference bureaus move to open outlets across the region.

Cross-border credit information sharing has been in the pipeline for more than three years.

The increased presence of CRBs in the East African Community states is expected to help control the level of credit risk among commercial banks and ensure stability of the financial system. It will also help to promote financial inclusion by bringing more people into the formal banking system.

But even as the CRBs criss-cross each other across the borders, policymakers are still working on ways of harmonising credit information sharing principles around the region.

KENYA, RWANDA TO REQUEST UGANDA REFINERY SHARES

Uganda’s planned refinery will be built in modular form starting with 30,000 barrels.
Kenya and Rwanda will present their requests for share participation in Uganda’s 60,000 barrels-a-year crude oil refinery, which should be operational by 2018.

A consortium led by RT Global Resources of Russia has been selected as the preferred bidder to be lead investor for building the refinery, which will produce petroleum products for domestic consumption and export.

Uganda has discovered 6.5 billion barrels of oil and last year the government invited Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi — as members states of East African Community — to subscribe to shares in the plant. The refinery will be built in modular form starting with 30,000 barrels before capacity is increased.

MORE EAST AFRICANS TURN TO SOLAR POWER

M-Kopa Solar managing director Jesse Moore and Safaricom chief executive officer Bob Collymore.
East Africans are increasingly using solar energy for lighting as companies scramble for a piece of the promising market.

Even as a large number of East Africans rely on kerosene, batteries and candles for lighting, a Nairobi-based company with a presence in Uganda and Tanzania, has connected more than 140,000 homes in Kenya and 20,000 in Uganda and Tanzania to solar power in the past two years.

M-Kopa partnered with Safaricom in late 2012 to launch the first commercial offering, globally, that combines mobile payments with GSM sensor technology to sell solar power systems to households in Kenya on a daily payment plan.

Sensors in the solar systems monitor payments. After 12 months of regular payments, the consumer is allowed to own the system with no more payments.

TANZANIA TO RAISE GAME PARK FEES

EAC citizens currently paying Tsh1,500 ($0.833), will now pay Tsh20,000 ($11.11).
Tanzania's tourism sector is bracing for a difficult period as state-run conservation agencies intend to increase their fees despite low tourist figures.

Key players in the sector said business is down by 60 per cent due to low arrivals. Nevertheless, the Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) is set to enforce its new tariffs on concession fees for hotels located within parks, while Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) also plans to raise its entry fees in April 2015.

Tanapa plans to raise its concession fee for each visitor spending a night at a hotel within its parks from $10 to $60 on average.

LOCAL SERVICE PROVIDERS OPT FOR JOINT VENTURES IN OIL PRODUCTION

An oil exploration rig at Lake Albert.
Locally owned service providers in Uganda’s oil and gas sector are opting for joint ventures with international companies in preparation for the production phase, which is capital intensive.

Sources in the industry say production will demand more specialised skills, huge capital investment, complex technology and high standards.

“We are looking at joint ventures because they are sources of equity, technology transfer and skills development,” Geoffrey Bihamaiso, the group managing director at Three Ways Shipping told The EastAfrican.

US DEFENDS KENYA TRAVEL ADVISORIES BUT REGRETS IMPACT

The State Department’s top Africa official last week defended the US warning on travel to Kenya, adding, “Any impact this has had, we truly regret.”

The comments by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield came two days after the New York Times quoted an unnamed US official in Nairobi as saying of the travel warning: “Our policy doesn’t make much sense.”

The most recent warning was posted eight months ago, partly in response to a spate of terror attacks on the Coast that killed scores of civilians. The region’s tourism industry was subsequently hit by crippling losses, with some 20,000 workers laid off.

OFFICIAL CALLS FOR REVIEW OF MUHIMBILI NATIONAL HOSPITAL MEDICAL CHARGES

Currently, a patient received at the department pays Sh10,000 while on average the unit spends Sh45,000 on each.
Dar es Salaam. Emergence Department at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) has asked the government to increase treatment charges for them to serve patients better.

The department say the amount being charged to patient does not correspond to the actual cost incurred in treating a patient.

Currently, a patient received at the department pay Sh10,000 while on average the unit spends Sh45,000 on each.

MV DAR ES SALAAM READY, SET TO START CRUISING TO BAGAMOYO SOON

Works minister John Magufuli (left) and Coast Regional Commissioner Evarist Ndikilo disembark from MV Dar es Salaam after arriving at Mbegani in Bagamoyo District, Coast Region, during a test ride yesterday.
Dar es Salaam. The minister for Works, Dr John Magufuli, yesterday participated in a test ride of MV Dar es Salaam, which is set to ferry passengers from the City to Bagamoyo District.

Dr Magufuli was accompanied by acting Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner and Ilala District Commissioner Raymond Mushi, Navy commander Maj-Gen Rogastian Laswai and the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Musa Iyombe.

The three-hour journey started at Kivukoni Ferry in Dar es Salaam at 9:20am to Mbegani in Bagamoyo, which will be the last station.

WAZIRI WA UJENZI MHESHIMIWA DKT. JOHN MAGUFULI AKAGUA KIVUKO CHA MV DAR ES SALAAM

Waziri wa Ujenzi Dkt. John Pombe Magufuli akiwaita wakazi wa jiji la Dar es Salaam katika eneo la Ferry kwa ajili ya safari ya kwenda Bagamoyo na kurudi kwa safari ya majaribio kwa kutumia kivuko cha MV Dar es Salaam alichokikagua jana.
Kivuko cha MV Dar es Salaam kikiwa njiani kuwasili eneo la Magogoni kwa ajili ya kuanza safari ya kwanza ya majaribio ya kwenda Bagamoyo mkoani Pwani. Kivuko hiki kinauwezo wa kubeba abiria zaidi ya 300.
Wakazi wa jiji la Dar es Salaam wakipanda kivuko cha MV Dar es Salaam kwa ajili ya Safari ya majaribio ya kwenda Bagamoyo.
Mkuu wa Mkoa wa Pwani Evarist Ndikilo akimpokea Waziri wa Ujenzi Dkt. John Pombe Magufuli mara baada ya kuwasili Bagamoyo na Kivuko cha MV Dar es Salaam.
Waziri wa Ujenzi Dkt. John Pombe Magufuli (katikati) akiwa na Kaimu Mkuu wa Mkoa wa Dar es Salaam Raymond Mushi kushoto wakiwa safarini kuelekea Bagamoyo Mkoani Pwani, akiwa na Kamanda wa Navy, Meja Jenerali Rogastian Laswai.
Wakazi wa jiji la Dar es Salaam waliopata fursa ya kupanda kivuko hicho wakitazama madhari ya jiji wakati wakiwa safarini.
Waziri wa Ujenzi Mheshimiwa Dkt. John Pombe Magufuli amekagua kivuko cha MV Dar es salaam kinachotarajia kutoa huduma zake kati ya Dar es salaam na Bagamoyo na kuahidi kuwa kivuko hicho kitaanza kazi siku chache zijazo mara baada ya kukamilika kwa vituo vya maegesho.

Akizungumza mara baada ya ukaguzi huo, Waziri Magufuli amewataka wakazi wa Dar es salaam na Bagamoyo kukitumia kivuko hicho ambacho kitawawezesha kufika katika maeneo yao kwa haraka na kuepuka usumbufu wa msongamano katikati ya jiji la Dar es salaam.

“Tumieni kivuko hiki kwa uangalifu ili kidumu kwa muda mrefu, na sisi Serikali tutahakikisha tunaweka nauli nafuu ili kuwezesha wananchi wengi kumudu kutumia usafiri wa kivuko hiki, amesema Waziri Magufuli”.

LLOYDS BANKING GROUP RETURNS TO PROFIT AND RESUMES DIVIDEND PAYMENTS

A branch of Lloyds Bank in London.
LONDON — The Lloyds Banking Group said on Friday that it returned to a profit in 2014 as it prepared to pay its first dividend since the lender was bailed out by the British government during the financial crisis.

The return to paying a dividend, while mostly symbolic, is an important milestone for the bank, which received 17 billion pounds, or about $26 billion, from the British government in 2008.

Lloyds said that it would pay a dividend of 0.75 pence a share, returning about £535 million to investors. The last full-year dividend it paid was 35.9 pence a share for the 2007 fiscal year.

Friday, 27 February 2015

FOUR WINNERS AND FOUR LOSERS FROM THE OIL PRICE DROP

Oil pump jacks are seen next to a strawberry field in Oxnard, California February 24, 2015.
The recent dramatic fall in oil prices is clearly positive news for the global economy. But like all market shifts, it creates winners and losers. Here are four in each category.
The losers
  1. Oil- and gas-exporting countries. The effects have been lessened by the dollar’s appreciation against the currencies of most major exporters. Still, countries that rely mainly on oil and gas revenue – and have not saved for a rainy day – face a struggle, and will need to rethink their modus operandi and differentiate their economy. Prolonged lower prices increase the risk of failing states, with unpredictable consequences.

NEW YORK'S TOUTED WHISTLEBLOWER ACT SHOWS HOW EUROPE IS MILES BEHIND THE US

US authorities and regulators have a love-hate relationship with whistleblowers. European powers are even more confused with what to do with them.
Authorities like it when whistleblowers get them tax money back but they don't like it when they uncover state secrets. Sometimes, especially in Switzerland, the lines can become blurred.
On the one hand, you have Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information about the National Security Agency (NSA) spying on American citizens, as well as political figures and embassies, via phone calls and internet use in 2013. He was called a traitor and was charged by the U.S. under the Espionage Act.
On the other hand, you have Bradley Birkenfeld, who was rewarded £68 million for helping the Department of Justice fine UBS £506 million for helping US clients evade taxes through Swiss bank accounts. While Birkenfeld was sent to a federal prison for more than two years, until his release in 2012, this was because he was found to have helped the bank in aiding wealthy clients to dodge paying taxes.
And then, more recently, we have the curious case of Herve Falciani. Falciani handed over 100,000 HSBC client accounts to French authorities in 2008. In total, the accounts are worth £78 billion in assets. Since then, France, Spain and the UK have recovered over £500 million in tax from the data.

KCB UGANDA REBOUND RAISES NET PROFIT TO RECORD $184BN

KCB Bank Group CEO Joshua Oigara during an investor and media briefing to announce the full year 2014 financial results at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi on February 26, 2015.
A rebound of KCB’s Uganda subsidiary helped Kenya’s biggest lender to post a 17.4 per cent net profit growth and set a new earnings record for the banking sector.

The Uganda unit had reported a gross loss of Ksh88.45 million ($968,041) in the nine months through September, meaning that strong performance in the fourth quarter supported the full year recovery.

“Uganda, which for the most of last year was in a loss position, is now profitable,” said Joshua Oigara, KCB’s chief executive.

KCB GROUP TO EXPAND MOBILE BANKING SERVICES

KCB Bank Group chief executive Joshua Oigara speaks during an investor and media briefing to announce the full year 2014 financial results at the Hilton Hotel, Nairobi.
KCB Group plans to expand its business through mobile and branchless banking, its chief executive said on Thursday after reporting an 18 per cent rise in full-year pre-tax profit.

Joshua Oigara, CEO of Kenya's largest bank by assets, said KCB would expand its mobile phone transaction services and agency banking, whereby third-party operators offer basic banking services on its behalf.

"We stopped investing big in branches three years ago. Agents are my new branches and mobile (banking) is the other new way we are connecting with customers," Oigara told reporters.

"The growth in the alternative channels is the big part of our strategy. It is something the industry has committed to."

THE BRIGHT FUTURE OF DAR ES SALAAM, AN UNLIKELY AFRICAN MEGACITY

Once isolated and overlooked, Dar es Salaam is on track to become Africa's fastest-growing urban center.
Currently a city of 4.1 million. Dar will likely grow to over 21 million midway through the century.
In 1957, in the waning years of British colonial rule, the then-unremarkable port city of Dar es Salaam sat on the coast of present-day Tanzania. It boasted a meager population of 128,000. Its humidity was relentless. Africa's independence era was getting underway, and many of Dar's neighboring cities had far glitzier exteriors with more modern infrastructure. Maputo, the capital of Mozambique to the south, would become known as "The Pearl of the Indian Ocean." Nairobi, 560 miles north in Kenya, would be referred to as "The London of Africa." Dar es Salaam, meanwhile, struggled to shake the English translation of its name—"the residence of peace." Tranquil, yet stagnant.
But recent years have brought unimaginable growth and change to Dar es Salaam. In terms of annual population growth, it's on pace to be Africa's fastest growing urban center. Its total population—currently about 4.1 million people—is expected to expand by more than 85 percent through 2025, according to the African Development Bank, and could reach 21.4 million people by 2052. It's likely to achieve 'megacity' status—10 million residents or more—by the early 2030s.



EMBRACE E-COMMERCE: KAYMU ADVISES

Dar es salaam, February, 2015. Today technology is changing Tanzania - the way we work, communicate with each other, educate ourselves, buy goods and services and transfer money are done increasingly through the Internet, bringing convenience to our day-to-day routine How do we ensure Tanzania keeps pace with the global shifts toward e-commerce? What do we need to do to avoid being left far behind in this development?

First, we should not only accept that technology is changing our way of life, but embrace that an increasing amount of our time in the near future will be spent conducting more business online. E-commerce commonly refers to any business conducted online, using any of a variety of websites and applications that rely on the Internet (such as e-mail, instant web messaging, social media, websites etc. This kind of trading can be between two businesses transmitting funds, goods, services or between a business and a customer.

For example, the online shopping space has become a source for buyers to do product comparisons and find out all the information they would ever want without setting foot in a store – offering buyers the complete satisfaction of a shopping experience without the hassle of visiting a market and window browsing store-by-store. People can now browse virtual marketplaces and online adverts on their favorite websites or even social media pages.

TANZANIA NA ZAMBIA ZADHAMIRIA KUFUNGUA RELI YA TAZARA

Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania, Mhe. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete akisaini Kitabu cha Wageni mara baada ya kuwasili katika Ikulu ya Zambia kwa ajili ya mazungumzo rasmi na Mwenyeji wake Rais Edgar Lungu (mwenye suti ya kijivu aliyesimama mbele ya Rais Kikwete).
Rais Lungu akimkaribisha Rais Kikwete (hayupo pichani kuzungumza).
Mhe. Rais Kikwete akizungumza wakati wa mazungumzo rasmi na Rais Lungu na Ujumbe wake katika Ikulu ya Zambia. Kushoto ni Waziri wa Mambo ya Nje na Ushirikiano wa Kimataifa, Mhe. Bernard Mebe na kulia ni Waziri wa Fedha, Mhe. Saada Mkuya Salu na Balozi wa Tanzania nchini Zambia, Mhe. Grace Mujuma.
Mazungumzo yakiendelea.
Sehemu nyingine ya ujumbe wa Tanzania wakati wa mazungumzo rasmi akiwemo Mhe. Charles Tizeba (wa kwanza kulia), Naibu Waziri wa Uchukuzi, Mhe. Abbas Kandoro (wa pili kulia), Mkuu wa Mkoa wa Mbeya, Bi. Zuhura Bundala (wa tatu kushoto), Kaimu Mkurugenzi wa Idara ya Afrika katika Wizara ya Mambo ya Nje na Ushirikiano wa Kimataifa na Bi. Talha Mohammed (wa kwanza kushoto), Afisa Mambo ya Nje.
Picha ya Pamoja.
Mhe. Rais Lungu akiwa amefuatana na Mhe. Membe.
Tanzania na Zambia zimekubaliana kushirikiana na kuimarisha sekta ya miundombinu hususan kufufua Reli inayounganisha nchi hizi mbili (TAZARA) ili kukuza biashara na uwekezaji.

Makubaliano hayo yamefikiwa juzi wakati wa ziara ya siku mbili ya Rais wa Tanzania, Mhe. Jakaya Kikwete nchini Zambia.

Akizungumza wakati wa mkutano rasmi kati yake na mwenyeji wake, Mhe. Edgar Lungu, Rais wa Zambia, Rais Kikwete alisema kuwa umefika wakati sasa wa kuifufua Reli ya TAZARA ambayo ni kiungo muhimu na alama kubwa ya ushirikiano kati ya Tanzania na Zambia.

JUST WHO IS BILL WINTERS, THE NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF STANDARD CHARTERED?

The American has had a relatively low profile over the past few years. But he is widely considered to be one of the best bankers of his generation.

Winters served as a member of the influential Independent Commission on Banking in the United Kingdom.
There are not many people that scare Jamie Dimon, the indomitable and outspoken boss of JPMorgan. But Bill Winters, who has just been appointed to replace Peter Sands as chief executive of Standard Chartered later this year, would appear to be one of them.
Until 2009 he was Dimon’s most trusted lieutenant, charged with running the financial behemoth’s rightly-renowned investment bank. Then, in September of that year, he promptly left. Why?
It certainly wasn’t poor performance. JPMorgan more than doubled its net investment banking profits in the previous quarter. Winters is also reputed to have one of the finest risk management brains in the industry and was widely credited with helping steer the US bank clear of the troubles that beset many rivals during the credit crunch.

IS THE U.S. READY FOR A BANKING REVOLUTION? A NEW FEE-FREE MOBILE BANK

Earlier this month, MasterCard MA -1.52% announced that it will be opening its largest tech hub outside of the U.S. in India. Why? Because of the country’s growing focus on mobile payments and innovations in the digital realm.

Of course, mobile money is no longer new. India is home to prominent mobile money entrepreneurs, such as Beam and Money On Mobile who have made it easier to do peer-to-peer digital transactions. Late last year, the Reserve Bank of India even challenged the definition of a bank, letting mobile money operators become “payment banks,” which can’t lend but can fulfill most services of a traditional bank. Meanwhile, bKash, in Bangladesh, has been growing rapidly and innovating in how it delivers cash to the underbanked. It launched in July 2011 and already had 11 million accounts by the end of 2013.

The mobile money phenomenon began in Kenya and has spread globally with local entrepreneurs adopting similar models, and trying to breakdown regulatory roadblocks.

However, in the US, banking has struggled to deviate from the older brick-and-mortar model, defined by the Goliaths of banking. Bank of America BAC -2.73%, Chase, Wells Fargo — all have apps but the systems are largely the same: complex log in passwords, overdraft charges, maintenance fees. Paypal allows for peer-to-peer lending without hefty fees but it’s not a bank.

THE SUN IS SETTING ON BRITAIN'S BANKING EMPIRES


It would be difficult to call 2014 anything more generous than an annus horribilis for many of Britain’s largest, oldest, financial institutions. This week, many of those storied banks tallied up the damage, took drastic punitive measures, and forecast more upheaval.

These banks remain sprawling global giants, but perhaps not for much longer. Most are now in full retreat, unravelling empires built up over decades—centuries, even.

RBS counts the cost

RBS, founded in 1727, reported its seventh consecutive annual loss today. The £3.5 billion ($5.4 billion) loss in 2014 brings the bank’s cumulative losses since 2008 to a whopping £50 billion:



RBS is still majority owned by the British government, following a £46 billion bailout during the depths of the global financial crisis. Its shares remain below the break-even point for taxpayers, and management warned today that things could get worse before they get better.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

STANDARD CHARTERED CHIEF AND CHAIRMAN TO LEAVE IN DRAMATIC 6-MAN BOARD EXODUS

Investors welcome news that chief executive Peter Sands will leave in June, followed by chairman Sir John Peace next year.

Peter Sands is to stand down as chief executive of Standard Chartered in June, after 13 years at the bank.
Standard Chartered has announced a dramatic exodus of senior management that will see both its under-fire chief executive and chairman leave the struggling bank.

Peter Sands, who has felt the heat from shareholders for months amid Standard Chartered's slumping share price, will leave the bank in June.

His departure comes just months after he told investors in Asia in November that he was not going anywhere.

Bill Winters, the former head of JPMorgan's investment bank, will join in May, and take charge of the sprawling emerging markets focused bank when Mr Sands departs.

Sir John Peace, its chairman who has also been criticised, will also stand down, albeit in 2016 to allow time for Mr Winters to settle in.

The bank's three longest serving non-executive directors will also leave, while Jaspal Bindra, the head of the bank's Asian operations, will step down from the board.

INFOGRAPHIC - HOW REMITTANCES MOVE FROM OVERSEAS TO SOMALIA


Somalia could face a financial crisis with close to $1.3 billion in annual remittances as the last major US bank stopped money transfers to the country and to the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in Kenya.

A fortnight ago, California-based Merchants Bank closed all its accounts with Somali MTO’s; Australia’s Westpac Bank has also announced that it will close Somali remittance accounts soon. The move follows a decision in 2013 by Barclays, one of the biggest banks in the UK, to cut its ties with a company in Somalia that had been a recipient of large amounts of remittances.


The East African

EA STATES JOIN HANDS TO BAN IMPORTATION OF USED CLOTHES, CARS

Residents of Kisumu town, Kenya, buy second hand clothes at a market. The proposed ban is aimed at promoting the region’s textile and leather industries.
East African heads of State have proposed a ban on the importation of second hand-clothes and the reduction of used vehicles.

The leaders proposed a ban on second-hand clothes, bags and shoes. This, they said, would promote the region’s textile and leather industries, which will eventually weed out the importation of used clothes popularly known as mitumba / mivumba.

In a joint statement, the leaders also directed the Council of Ministers to study modalities for the promotion of motor vehicle assembly with a view of stopping or reducing the importation of used vehicles in East Africa.

OBAMA NOMINATES FIRST US ENVOY TO SOMALIA SINCE 1991

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle.
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated America's first ambassador to Somalia since 1991, when ties soured as rival warlords took over the African nation.

Katherine Dhanani, a long-time diplomat with deep experience of African affairs, will have to be confirmed by the Senate for the role in Somalia, where extremists have targeted government officials in a bloody campaign.

The State Department welcomed the move as "historic" and said it "signals the deepening relationship" between the two countries after they launched a new era of diplomatic relations in 2013.

If confirmed, Dhanani will lead the US mission to Somalia, which is currently based at the US embassy in Nairobi, said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

VODACOM JOINS TANZANIA TELCOS IN CROSS-NETWORK MOBILE MONEY TRANSFER

Telecoms in Tanzania have partnered in a deal to adopt interoperable mobile money services.
Tanzanians can now transfer money across mobile networks after the country’s two largest telecoms struck an agreement following more than a year of negotiations.

The agreement between Vodacom and Tigo, which have six and four million subscribers respectively, means that users will be able to send and receive money whether using M-Pesa or Tigo Pesa on their mobile handsets.

Three operators, Airtel, Zantel and Tigo had reached a similar agreement in April last year but, Vodacom had been reluctant to join due to its market dominance in mobile money transfer service and fear of allowing other networks to access its customers.

SOUTH AFRICA TO PROBE SPY CABLES LEAK

South Africa has launched an investigation into the leak of espionage secrets to Doha-based Al Jazeera and a British newspaper The Guardian.
South Africa has launched an investigation into the leak of espionage secrets to an international television news channel and a British newspaper, the state security minister said Wednesday.

"A full investigation has been launched into the purported leakage," Minister David Mahlobo said in a statement.

"The leaking of the purported documents detailing operational details of the State Security Agency is condemned in the strongest possible terms," he said.

DIGITAL MIGRATION: RESUME BROADCASTS OR LOSE PERMITS, CA TELLS MEDIA HOUSES

Empty NTV studios after the Communications Authority of Kenya switched off analogue transmissions of NTV, QTV, KTN and CITIZEN TV signals on February 14, 2015.
Kenya's communications regulator has warned that three broadcasters risk losing their licences if they do not resume transmissions on signal distributors Signet and Pan African Networks Network Group (PANG) in three days.

Four television channels run by Nation Media Group (NTV and QTV), Royal Media Services (Citizen TV) and Standard Media Group (KTN) have been off air since February 14 when the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) enforced a switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting in Nairobi.

MAWAZIRI WA NCHI TANO AFRIKA MASHARIKI WAKUTANA UBALOZI WA TANZANIA WASHINGTON, DC NCHINI MAREKANI

Waziri wa Afrika Mashariki Mhe. Harrison Mwakyembe ambaye alikua mwenyekiti wa mkutano wa kujiandaa kutiliana saini makubaliano ya biashara na uwekezaji wa nchi za Afrika Mashariki na Marekani. Utiliano saini huo utafanyika Februari 26, 2015 katika Ofisi za Wizara ya Biashara Marekani, kulia ni Katibu Mkuu wa Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki, Balozi Dkt. Richard Sezibera kutoka Burundi.
Ujumbe wa Tanzania.
Ujumbe wa Burundi.
Ujumbe wa Kenya.
Ujumbe wa Uganda na Rwanda.
Mkutano ukiendelea.
Balozi wa Tanzania nchini Martekani akiwa katika picha ya pamoja na Katibu Mkuu wa Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki, Balozi Dkt. Richard Sezibera kutoka Burundi.
Mkutano uliowakutanisha Mawaziri wa nchi tano za Afrika Mashariki wakiwemo Mabalozi wa nchini zao nchini Marekani ulifanyika Februari 25, 2015 katika Ubalozi wa Tanzania nchini Marekani, mkutano huo uliohusiana na maandalizi ya kutiliana saini ya makubaliano ya ushirikiano wa kibiashara na uwekezaji kati ya nchi ya Marekani na nchi za Afrika Mashariki ambazo ni Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya na Tanzania.