Category Archives: East African Community

All about EADB

The East African Development Bank (EADB) is a development finance institution, headquartered in Kampala, Uganda and has country offices in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. It was one of the  few institutions that survived the collapse of the original East African community. Its main products are medium-term financing and its long-term loans for projects that can be durations of 12 years. 

The bank is in the news over a case involving Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Raphael Tuju over their demand that he repays $13.6 million (~Kshs 1.4 billion) that arose from a $9.19 million loan in April 2015. 

Excerpts from the 2019 EADB annual report:

  • The bank is owned by four East African countries; the Governments of Kenya 27%, Uganda 27%, Tanzania 23% and Rwanda 9.5%. Other shareholders are the African Development Bank with 8.8% and FMO Netherlands with 2.7%. 
  • EADB has $374 million in assets, which includes $190M in cash in the banks. It earned a profit of $8.7 million (~Kshs 944 million). It is exempt from taxes in all members countries but pays no dividend as their policy is to build up capital of the bank.
  • Had $152 million (~Kshs 16.5 billion) of loans of which $58M (38%) are to Tanzania ventures, $39M to Uganda, $36M to Kenya ones and $17M to Rwanda borrowers. $109 million (71%) of the loans are in US dollars which is the preferred currency of most borrowers.
  • Of the loans, $92M are in stage one (performing normally), $52M in stage two (higher credit risk) and $7M are in stage 3 (impaired). 
  • During the year, existing clients – Kayonza Tea Growers, Centenary Rural Development Bank, Opportunity Bank, and the Government of Tanzania all increased their borrowing. Also in 2019, some long term loans paid off and exited the bank including Nkumba University, Sugar Corporation of Uganda and New Forest Company. The bank also participated in the official launch of the Lake Turkana Wind Power which they partially-financed while Strathmore University completed a Law School Centre for which EADB has provided a Kshs 422M loan.
  • The bank disbursed $21.3 million to new projects during the year. Some were: in Tanzania (National Housing Corporation, $30M to Iyumbu Satellite Centre, and to Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation to distribute natural gas to 30,000 households), in Uganda ($6.3M for a medical consumables manufacturing plant in Kampala), in Rwanda ($10M to a new cement plant and four lines of credit to a national development bank) and in Kenya (Kshs 30M working capital to Jumuia Hospitals in Huruma), Sidian Bank (EUR 2 million credit line) and Musoni Microfinance  (EUR 1 million credit line). 
  • They have borrowed $81 million from multilateral development banks and other financial institutions including the European Investment Bank, African Development Bank ($22M), CBA ($9M), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa ($10M) and a new line from KFW Germany ($7.8M) whose recipients include Sidian Bank, Musoni Diary and West Kenya Sugar. 
  • Kenya’s  Treasury Principal Secretary, Dr. Julius Muia sits on the board while Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Amb. Ukur Yattani sits on the Governing Council along with other East African finance ministers.

Older notes on how EADB is different from a typical commercial bank:

  • EADB disburses payments to third parties e.g. supplier or contractors for work done/services rendered to sponsor. Disbursements are made against presented supplier invoice or completion certificate for building works. They insist that sponsors procure through open tendering as much as possible.
  • Most EADB loans are repaid quarterly except leases which are monthly. Projects are required to set up standing orders for loan repayment. 
  • They don’t have a deposit-taking, commercial bank so borrowers make repayments to special accounts at other banks (escrow accounts) e.g. payments from buyers of apartments financed by EADB are made into such accounts.
  • Companies are required to submit quarterly accounts for monitoring and failure to submit accounts can delay further disbursement to a project.
  • EADB lending approval decisions are made based on the loan amount involved and applications that are larger than $1 million are approved by the board of directors.
  • As a DFI, some criteria for the financing of projects include economic measures such as increasing the level of real consumption, contribution to government revenue (corporate tax, VAT, excise, export taxes), foreign exchange saved, and employment opportunities created.
  • Projects in arrears get transferred to their “Work Out Unit,” a special department that determines how to resolve these – either by a recovery (sale of assets), write-off (after selling assets), or a turnaround (reviving projects to normal) which is the preferred and most successful option. Sometimes, the borrower is asked to recommend a buyer of assets (provide leadership) if it becomes necessary to sell some of them. 
  • The bank enjoys immunity from prosecution and this has been raised by Tuju’s lawyers in several pleadings. In the past, EADB has also faced challenges including petitions to wind it up, such as a decade ago when they trying to recover over $13M from Blueline, a Tanzanian transporter.  

Coronavirus in Kenya: Week One

The Outbreak

  • March 13: The Ministry of Health confirms the first case of coronavirus in Kenya on March 12 from a Kenyan citizen who returned to the country from the USA via London 
  • March 22: Kenya confirms 8 new cases, bringing the total number to 15. It is tracing 363 other people and institutes a mandatory shutdown of major social activities in the country. 

Banking Industry:

  • March 15: President Uhuru Kenyatta appealed to banks and mobile operators to reduce the costs of mobile transactions and calls on Kenyans to use credit cards, mobile money and other forms of cashless payments. 
  • March 16: Safaricom waived fees for M-Pesa payments below Kshs 1,000 (~$10) for 90 days and raises M-Pesa transactions limits to Kshs 150,000 and also increases daily transaction caps and maximum mobile money wallet sizes up to Kshs 300,000 ($3,000). Airtel and Telkom Kenya follow suit a day later. 
  • March 18: Bankers meet the President at State House where the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor announces that all commercial bank personal loans that were there in good standing on March 2, are eligible for extensions for up to one year while SME and corporate borrowers can approach their banks to be assessed for loan restructuring, with the cost borne by banks. Also, that banks would no longer charge fees for customers to check their bank balances.
  • Different banks announced their compliance with the new rules.   
  • March 19: The Kenya Bankers Association confirms that all banks will assist clients who come in to speak about how COVID-19 has affected their employment or business operations, and whose loan repayments were up to date as at 2 March 2020. They also ask all customers to observe 1-metre (or 3 feet) social distancing at branches
  • March 20: The CBK announces presents Kshs 7.4 billion ($74 million) to the Government to support the coronavirus fight efforts. This it says are the proceeds from the demonetization exercise that concluded in September 2019 and is the sum of (old) Kshs 1,000 notes that were not turned in and which the CBK had classified as being miscellaneous receipts. 

Famous People in Quarantine

  • March 18: Senator for Kericho County Aaron Cheruiyot announces on twitter that he is in self-quarantine. 
  • March 19: Members of Parliament and Parliamentary staff who arrived from London on March 9 are reported to be in self-quarantine. 
  • March 19: Ambassador Macharia Kamau Kenya’s Principal Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces on twitter that he is in self-quarantine after returning from New York. 
  • March 20: Jane Marriott, the British High Commissioner to Kenya announces on twitter that she is in self-quarantine, following her trip to the UK. 
  • March 22: Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health announces that Gideon Saburi, the Deputy Governor of Kilifi County, has been apprehended and put in a mandatory 14-day quarantine after he failed to isolate himself after returning from a trip to Germany. Also that he will be charged in Court after his isolation period. 

Mandatory Quarantine in the Eastern Africa region 

  • March 18: Uganda announces immediate mandatory quarantine for arriving visitors, at their cost.  
  • March 21: Ethiopia announces mandatory for passengers arriving from March 23, at their cost. However, diplomats will be quarantined for 14 days at their embassies, while transiting passengers will be placed in isolation at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel until they resume their connecting flights.
  •  March 22: Kenya has suspended all international flights other than cargo from March 25. Also, all arriving passengers will undergo mandatory quarantine at a government institution at their own cost. 

Internal country shutdowns

  • March 14: Rwanda closes schools, places of worship, large gatherings, and asks people to work from home. 
  • March 15: Kenya’s President announced the Government has closed all schools, suspended official foreign travel, and will encourage all employees to work from home. 
  • March 18: Uganda closes schools, universities and bars, and bans weddings and religious services for a month. 
  • March 21: Rwanda closes its borders to movement of people and cancels international flights, other than cargo ones. It also suspended tourism and research in 3 national parks where gorillas are found.
  • March 21: Nigeria shuts its airports to international flights as coronavirus cases reach 22.  
  • March 21: South Africa closes its airspace to foreign travelers.
  • March 22: Kenya orders a suspension of religious services at all places of worship, closure of bars and bans gatherings including weddings, and birthday parties. Restaurants are to remain open for delivery services and funeral events are restricted to a maximum of 15 mourners.

Flight cancellations/ Airlines reschedulings:

  • March 17: Kenya Airways updates its schedule, reducing London flights to five times a week, Dubai & Johannesburg to once daily, and Johannesburg to two daily. It also suspends flights to Bangkok, Khartoum, Djibouti & Mogadishu. 
  • March 18: Rwanda announces a halt to all commercial passenger flights into/out of the country on March 20 including operations of Rwanda Air for 30 days. 
  • March 19: Kenya Airways suspends flights to Antananarivo, Bamako, Bangui, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Luanda, Yaounde/Douala, and Zanzibar. 
  • March 20: Ethiopian Airlines announces 30 routes closures. The list is not revealed till the next day – and the listed countries include Egypt, Lebanon, Somalia, Djibouti, Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Chad, Madagascar, Angola, Congo, Mali, Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa, Canada, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Indonesia, Israel and all US ones. 
  • March 20: South African Airways immediately suspends all operations until the end of May following a government notice prohibiting the embarkation/disembarkation of non-SA crew and passengers. The only flights that will remain will be domestic service between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
  • March 22: Emirates announces cancellation of all passenger flights from March 25 .. but .. 
  • March 22: Turkish Airlines to suspend most of its flights – leaving just a handful of flights to New York, Washington, Addis Ababa, Moscow & Hong Kong (via AlexinAir).
  • March 22: Kenya Airways suspends all international flights. Cargo flights remain, as will passenger services to Mombasa and Kisumu. 

Corporate Restructuring’s: 

  • March 13: Trading was suspended at the Nairobi Securities Exchange. This came following news of the discovery of the first coronavirus case in Kenya and the main share index dropped by over 5%. Past instances when circuit-et breakers have been tripped include in the period of post-election violence in 2008, and in September 2017, on the day that Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified the results of the August 8 presidential election. 
  • March 13: Kenya’s insurance regulator, IRA, communicates that insurance companies will continue to provide their services to policy holders affected or infected with the virus .. but insurance companies say their re-insurers do not cover pandemics such as Coronavirus. 
  • March 16: Ethiopian Airlines restructuring plans include scaling up cost-saving programmes and asking service providers for temporary relief, discounts and waivers. They have also started to renegotiate all contracts, including aircraft leases as well as scaling down offices and reducing staff.
  • March 16: Java adjusts seating and promotes delivery as do other restaurants. But many other restaurants closed. 
  • March 18: It was revealed that The Standard Group plans to lay off 170 workers. 
  • March 18: Churches to restrict attendance numbers.
  • March 18: The African Development Bank cancels all travels and requires staff to work from home. The Bank’s Board of Directors is reviewing the configuration and design of the Bank’s statutory Annual Meetings originally scheduled for May 26-29, 2020 in Abidjan
  • March 18: Kenyan listed companies and licensed investment schemes that were to host annual general meetings (AGM’s) in March, April and May 2020 have been asked to defer them to later dates.
  • March 20: Kenya Airways CEO sends a memo to staff following COVID-19 and writes that in the last 24 hours, nine countries in our Africa network, the UAE and India have announced travel restrictions. So far, we have reduced approximately 65% of our flights, and this is changing by the hour. He announces that instead of layoffs they will ask staff to take salary reduction and paid & unpaid leave. The leadership team and he will take 75% and 80% respectively, while that for other staff will be 25% or 50% depending on the pay grade.
  • To facilitate supermarket shopping home deliveries, Tuskys has partnered with Sendy and Naivas has partnered with Glovo.

Government Adjustments 

  • March 16: The Ministry of Lands closes all land registries for 28 days from March 17. 
  • March 16: Kenya’s Sports & Culture Ministry closes all museums, archives, stadiums, public libraries, and cinemas for 30 days.
  • March 18: Kenya’s National Assembly and Senate both go on a month-long recess. 
  • March 18: Kenyan courts embraced digital filings and rulings of cases. 
  • March 19: Public health campaign to stop the spread is launched. 

Uplifting News

  • March 21: A thread to help those losing jobs their jobs this week and to help match their skills with part-time or remote-work opportunities. 
  • March 22: The first shipment of medical relief equipment offered by the Jack Ma Foundation arrives in Africa for distribution to different countries. The total will be 500,000 test kits and one million masks had been pledged on March 13.

Merger deals in Eastern & Southern Africa (COMESA)

An interesting list of merger statistics was published by the COMESA Competition Commission which regulates trade between member states in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern (COMESA) region.

Most of the proposals involve companies in Kenya Mauritius Zambia Zimbabwe Uganda and Rwanda and are mainly concentrated in energy, banking and agri-business.

It showed that there were 46 deals in 2019, compared to 45 in 2018, and that last year the Commission approved 37 mergers with unconditional clearance and 6 others with conditions. Some were covered earlier, but some notable ones last year include:

Airline/ Oil/Energy/Mining M&A

  • Acquisition of shares by Azura Power (Mauritius) in Thika Holding, Thika Power and Thika Power Services. The target, Thika, is registered in the British Virgin Islands and generates electricity from heavy fuel oil and provides related support services. Azura is acquiring 90% from Melec and the other 10% will be held by Africa Energy Resources Plc.
  • 100% of Iberafrica Power E. A. (“Iberafrica”) has been acquired by the Africa Infrastructure Fund via a Danish partnership. Iberafrica owns and operates a 52.5 MW heavy fuel oil Nairobi power plant and has a PPA with Kenya Power and Lighting Company that will expire in 2034.
  • Matador (managed by the Carlyle Group) intends to acquire between 30 – 40% of the shareholding in CEPS, the parent of a group of companies that supply fuels and fuel derivatives products, with operations in Egypt and Kenya.
  • KenolKobil Plc is acquiring 10 petroleum retail outlets in Zambia from Samfuel.
  • Engie Afrique S.A.S. is acquiring Mobisol Kenya and Mobisol Rwanda which market, distribute and sell solar home systems and related appliances in Kenya and Rwanda.

Banking and Finance: Finance, Law, & Insurance M&A

  • MyBucks (formerly New Finance Bank), a Malawian bank, is acquiring 100% of Nedbank Malawi, which has 11 branches and 50,000 customers. Mybucks is a subsidiary of Frankfurt-listed fintech MyBucks SA which intends to consolidate the two banks.
  • The acquisition of 66.53% of Banque Commerciale de Congo by Equity Group Holdings Plc (covered here).
  • The acquisition by Access Bank Plc of 100% of Transnational Bank Plc (covered here)
  • The proposed acquisition by Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP) of Banque Malgache de l’Ocean Indien (BMOI),a Malagasy commercial bank with 19 branches.

Agri-Business, Food & Beverage M&A

  • PepsiCo is acquiring Pioneer Food Group of South Africa which supplies various grocery products, beverages and breakfast cereal products in the COMESA region.
  • Actis International, through Neoma Managers (Mauritius), is acquiring the management rights held by Abraaj Investment Management (in provisional liquidation) that represent a controlling interest in firms that are in the manufacturing, casual dining and healthcare sectors.
  • Vivo will acquire shares comprising 50% of Kuku Foods Kenya, Kuku Foods Uganda and Kuku Foods Rwanda. Vivo distributes and markets fuels and lubricants across Africa, while Kuku Holdings, incorporated in Mauritius, operates “KFC” quick-service restaurants franchises in Kenya and Uganda, while Kuku Foods Rwanda is not yet operational.
  • The acquisition of a controlling shareholding in Almasi by Coca Cola through its affiliate Coca-Cola Sabco (East Africa).
  • The proposed merger involving Pledge Holdco, an affiliate of TPG and Maziwa, which is controlled by Bainne Holdings. The target owns subsidiaries that sell dairy products in Kenya and Uganda.
  • Zaad BV will acquire a 40% stake in EASEED, a seed firm with interests in Kenya, Tanzania, Ugandan, Rwanda and Zambia, with an option to acquire an additional stake in the future. EASEED is newly incorporated, owned and controlled by a Kenyan national, Mr. Jitendra Shah.
  • A merger between the Finnish Fund for Industrial Development Cooperation and Green Resources AS, a Ugandan operator of East Africa’s largest sawmill (in Tanzania) as well as other electric pole and charcoal manufacturing plants in the region.

Pharmaceutical, Health and Medical M&A

  • TPG Global LLC and Abraaj Healthcare Group Hospitals. (AHG) which owns subsidiaries that provide healthcare services at hospitals and medical clinics in Kenya (Nairobi and Kisumu).

Logistics, Engineering, & Manufacturing M&A

  • A joint venture involving Bollore Transport & Logistics Kenya, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, and Toyota Tsusho Corporation was incorporated in Kenya in January 2017 and will result in Bollore NYK Autologistics that will provide inland transportation, storage and distribution of new or used vehicles arriving at any other port in Kenya and any vehicles manufactured and/or assembled in Kenya.
  • The formation of a joint venture between CFAO (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyota Tsusho) and tyre-manufacturer Compagnie Financiere Michelin SCmA (Michelin) that is intended to develop a distribution network to promote tyre sales and tyre-related services in Kenya and Uganda.
  • The proposed merger between Augusta Acquisition B.V., a subsidiary of Uber International, and Careem Inc, a technology platform in the greater Middle East. Uber has operations in Egypt, Kenya and Uganda while Careem operates in 125 cities across 15 countries, including Egypt and Sudan. The COMESA Commission found Egypt is where there was an overlap of the two companies in and approved the deal with some interesting conditions on fares, safety, surge pricing, driver compensation, data sharing, among others.

Real Estate, Tourism, & Supermarkets M&A

  • A proposed merger involving African Wildlife Holdings partnership and Wilderness Holdings. Wilderness operates under various brands including Wilderness Safaris, Wilderness Air, Governors’ Camp Collection and Governors’ Aviation in Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • A Mauritius private equity fund, through Amethis Retail, intends to acquire a minority stake in Naivas International and will indirectly gain control of the target’s Kenyan subsidiary, Naivas, a family-owned, leading supermarket chain with 58 stores. In Kenya, Amethis has invested in and indirectly controls Chase Bank, Ramco Plexus and Kenafric.

Telecommunications, Education, Media & Publishing M&A

  • The proposed merger involving Airtel Networks Kenya and Telkom Kenya, in which Telkom Kenya end up with a 49% shareholding in a renamed Airtel-Telkom was approved as it was not likely to affect competition within COMESA.
  • The acquisition of 100% of Eaton Towers Holdings by NYSE-listed ATC Heston. Both have operations in Kenya and Uganda.
  • Raphael Bidco Ltd, which is owned by CVC Funds, is acquiring joint control of GEMS, an international education company. It is listed as being active only in Egypt, but there are GEMS schools in East Africa.

NIC Bank shareholders approve merger with CBA at the 2019 AGM

NIC Bank shareholders met for their 2019 annual general meeting and approved a merger with CBA bank, creating Kenya’s second-largest bank (by customer deposits), a day after CBA shareholders had approved the same deal.

The merged bank will have about a 10% share of banking assets, deposits, and loans in Kenya. It will encompass the two groups serving over 41 million customers and their banking entities in Kenya, insurance (CBA Insurance and NIC Insurance), investment banking & stockbroking (CBA Capital, NIC Capital, NIC Securities), and regional subsidiaries in Tanzania (both banks), Uganda, (both banks) and Rwanda (CBA) and Côte d’Ivoire where MoMoKash is a CBA partnership with MTN and Bridge Group.

Group Managing Director John Gachora said scale is important in banking and that by merging NIC, which is known for asset finance and corporate banking, with CBA, which has desirable mobile banking and high net worth businesses, they would be the largest bank by customer numbers in Africa. CBA will be 53% shareholders in the merged bank.

NIC turns 60 this year, and in 2019, their focus will be on getting to Tier I ranking through the merger, and getting regulatory approvals after they had obtained shareholder approvals.  Directors also got approval to effect a name change (already under consideration) and the right to dispose of up to 10% of the assets of the bank without reverting back to shareholders. They will also create an employee share option program (ESOP) to retain key staff, and CBA, who already have an ESOP for their veteran staff (that owns 2.5% of that bank), will fold itself into the new incentive scheme. Other conditions of the merger include obtaining a waiver of capital gains and stamp duty tax in Kenya, approval of regulators in different countries, and approval of landlords and financial partners.

EDIT In May 2019, The Competition Authority of Kenya approved the merger of NIC and CBA banks on condition that none of the 1,872 employees of the merged entity are declared redundant for 12 months after completion of the transaction.

AfDB Economic Outlook – 2019 AEO for East Africa

This week saw the launch of the 2019 East Africa Economic Outlook Report in Nairobi by officials of the African Development Bank (AfDB), led by Gabriel Negatu, the Director-General of the East Africa regional office. This was the second in the series, after the first was well received and, the reports will now be an annual publication of the Bank.

It looked at growth prospects and economic policies, of countries in the region – Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda – their challenges, and particularly progress in the area of regional integration that the AfDB has made a theme of its reports and activities for 2019.

Some key findings in the East Africa AEO are:

  • Fast growth in the East: East Africa at 5.7% leads growth on the continent due to policies of some countries to diversify their economies – Ethiopia and Rwanda which grew at over 7% in 2018 balance lead in manufacturing and services, while Kenya and Tanzania balance services and agriculture. Countries like Kenya (coffee/teas 29% of export and flowers 10%) Ethiopia (coffee 33%) Rwanda (mineral 41% and coffee/tea 38%) have diverse exports while others like South Sudan (mineral fuels – oil at 98% of exports), Somalia (live animals 71%) and Eritrea (ores/ash/slag 97%) are more dependent on single commodities.
  • There is a disparity in the fast growth, whose quality is low, leaving poverty, unemployment and inequality to persist in regional countries. There is also fragility in the nations of South Sudan, Somalia, Comoros and even Ethiopia.
  • Rising debt is a concern: The levels are at over 30% of GDP in most East African countries (over 166% in Sudan) and that, coupled with low deposit resource mobilisation is a risk. Some countries will need to make structural reforms before they slide back to pre-HIPC debt-relief levels of the 90’s and they should consider limiting imports to capital goods while promoting local manufacturing of consumer goods which also creates jobs. 
  • Integration concerns: The AfDB report sees regional integration in East Africa as having mixed performance; intra-regional trade is 8.3% which is below the continental average of 14.5%, and except for Comoros, East African countries all do less than 12% trade in the region. Also that informal trade at border crossings is as high as 50% of what formal trade it. The report looks at how to accelerate intra-regional trade through the removal of tariffs, simplification of export rules, one-stop border posts that share data between countries,  sensitizing populations, and building better infrastructure (many border exits are single file which creates bottlenecks).
  • Security pays: The Ethiopia-Eritrea peace agreements in 2018 have opened up access to Eritrea ports and will ease Ethiopia’s trade by lessening the burden on congested Djibouti than handles 80% of Ethiopia’s goods. “Feedback from Ethiopian Airlines reveals that, following the Ethiopia-Eritrea Peace Agreement, the airline is saving up to $10 million a month in fees that were previously paid to contiguous countries to use their airspace“. That said, Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan and even Ethiopia are considered to be fragile states.
  • Intra-Africa trading opportunities: The goodwill from, and ratification of, the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in 2018 is expected to boost trade among African countries. But there is concern that few of the regional bodies that are supposed to promote trade are useful; they are under-budgeted and defined by personalities, not policies. 

The 2019 AEO for East Africa is published in English, French, Amharic and Kiswahili languages, and along with other regional reports, for West, Central and South Africa, some are also published in Arabic, Hausa, Pidgin, Yoruba and Zulu to ensure stakeholders can understand and discuss economic and policy issues.