Standard Chartered SME Club

On Thursday evening, Standard Chartered Bank launched an SME capacity building program as part of a partnership between the Bank, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), the Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) and the Institute for Small-Business Initiatives at the Strathmore Business School.

Standard Chartered Bank’s Head of Retail Banking, Mr. David Idoru, noted that the Bank’s strategy in opening a relationship club for its business clients was in line with its Business Banking Recognition Program that aims at growing its clienteles’ businesses through the Bank’s networks and partners. Also that Standard Chartered affirmed that it would be increasing its lending to SMEs by over Kshs 12 billion over the year (It’s loan portfolio as at December 2016 was Kshs 122.7 billion).

Members will get a 20% discount when they enroll in entrepreneurship classes at Strathmore and also get a chance to network with other SME’s in China, Malaysia and Singapore.

Moody’s Debt Summit Nairobi

Moody’s 4th annual East Africa investor summit Kenya, held in association with Rich Management, looked at East Africa’s resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa’s low growth environment.

Excerpts

Economic growth:

  • Kenya and Nigeria summit audience think political risks are main challenge to credit in emerging markets. Dubai summit ones are watching USA (policies under Trump and China (economic slowdown) events
  • Between 2007-15, 6 of 10 fastest growing African economies were commodity exporters, but for 2016-18, 5 of fastest growing ones are in East Africa. While Sub-Saharan Africa growth is at a 20-year low, East Africa is attractive as their growth is not about commodities.
  • Kenya’s economy growing due to infrastructure, FDI, population but banks not benefiting, partly due to the interest rate cap.
  • Investors in Kenya want to see a benign August 8 election with a first round winner and a gracious loser.

Bank’s and interest rate:

  • Banks face a dilemma – on whether to lend to companies in the Kenya economy or to the Kenya government (where they can earn 10% per year short-term, or 14% in the long-term).
  • There was already a slowdown in bank lending (due to regulation and NPA’s) before the interest rate caps.
  • The Cost of borrowing in Kenya was too high; and even after interest rate caps, large banks are still getting good 20% returns on equity.
  • Some firms are opportunistically raising debt – locking in cheap funding ahead of the election e.g. East African Breweries announced they would build a brewery at Kisumu even as they are yet to agree on the financing. But the problems at Nakumatt are probably due to the drying up of their credit lines as banks feel 14% lending does not compensate their risk.
  • At Moody’s, they rate three large Kenya banks – Coop Bank, Equity Bank and KCB Group all equally. Equity has 55% SME exposure and KCB is big in property, while Coop is well-balanced between business and consumer lending – but they have all taken steps to mitigate risks from the interest rate cap law.

Africa Debt markets

  • While Moody’s recently upgraded Senegal and Ivory Coast and stabilized Ghana, 8 of 19 Sub-Saharan Africa economics are still rated negative.
  • South Africa preempts state corporation defaults through bailouts – e.g. at Eskom, SAA – but this doesn’t inspire business confidence.
  • East Africa economies have solid reserves (4-5 months of imports) but key risks are fiscal deficits and debt accumulation (50% debt to GDP is a warning point).
  • One of the best performing Eurobonds in Mozambique defaulted.. a flood of money can ignore fundamentals

Kenya’s Debt

  • Kenya has a history of debt going back over the last ten years.. it knows how to live with the debt. Currently 15 to 17% of Kenya’s income goes to pay debt – (Moody’s get data from government budgets or IMF)
  • The London Stock Exchange, and some European ones, are considering issuing some debt in Kenya shillings.
  • Kenya can do better in terms of exports & revenue e.g. by improving productivity – the government explained this to the IMF.

M-Akiba Reloaded: More government bonds via phone

On Friday the Treasury Cabinet Secretary launched the second tranche of M-Akiba, the government bonds that can be bought and traded via mobile phone. 

The first tranche of M-Akiba, worth Kshs 150 million was launched in March 2017, and marked at 10%, maturing in April 2020. They had their highest trading day on May 12 when about Kshs 345,000 was traded; usually, about Kshs 100,000 per day ($1,000) of M-Akiba are traded by investors so far. At the time of launch, the indication was that another Kshs 4.85 billion was to be raised in June 2017.

The new M-Akiba infrastructure bond issue (MAB2/2017/3) is targeting Kshs 1 billion (~$9.7 million), with a green shoe option to raise another Kshs 3.85 billion. These are also three-year infrastructure bonds (dated 24 July), paying 10% per annum, with interest paid every six months, and the minimum investment is, again, Kshs 3,000 (~$29). Payments for the new bonds will be done on mobile money such as M-pesa (by dialing *889#) as well as through Pesalink – a new service from Kenya banks that allows their customers to make payments via phone and mobile money transfers of up to Kshs 1 million  (~$9,700) per day – which is seven times greater than what they can do with mobile money, under current banking rules (set to prevent money-laundering). The deadline for investors to apply for the M-Akiba bond is July 21, and the trading commission for will be 0.1% of allocations.

EDIT (July 23 Nation): MAB2/2017/3 has been extended to 8th September and the bond will start trading on 12th September. It has been reported that investors bought Kshs 128 million before the initial deadline, and the newspaper notice of the extension mentions that these invests will be paid for interest earned between July 24 and 11th September.

‘Akiba’ means ‘savings’ in Swahili.
$1 = Ksh 103

Chase and Imperial Banks receivership updates

The last week of June was quite eventful for Chase and Imperial – two banks in receivership in Kenya.

First, former Chase Bank Chairman Zafrullah Khan was hauled before a court. He was charged with committing a Kshs 1.7 billion fraud at the bank and was then freed on bond after two nights in jail so he could travel to the US for medical treatment.

Mr Khan had appeared before Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Mutuku where he was charged with conspiring to defraud Chase Bank of nearly Sh1.7 billion besides three counts of stealing…
The court heard that Mr Khan had committed the offence of conspiring to defraud Chase Bank Sh1,683,000,000 by falsely pretending that the money had been disbursed to accounts of Carmelia Investments Limited, Cleopatra Holdings, Golden Azure Limited and Colnbrook Holdings as genuine loan facilities.

There were reports that seven other officials of the bank were being sought, but so far only Khan was charged.

On the same day that Khan was in court, Imperial Bank depositors had a meeting with the Governor of the Central Bank. It was quite a long session, after which they surprisingly endorsed support for the new turnaround plan at Imperial that was revealed last week. The despises of Chase have a had a long receivership period, and many of their large depositors still have not got the bulk of their savings and funds from the bank in the 21 months since the bank closed.

Africa Digital Media Institute – ADMI Celebrates 5th Anniversary

This week the Africa Digital Media Institute (ADMI) celebrated its fifth anniversary. Founded in 2012 as the Jamhuri Film and Television Academy, by Wilfred Kiumi, it has gone from having 5 students to over 500 now and is well on its way to becoming Kenya’s premier film and media training school that will soon expand to Nigeria and Ghana.

via: ADMI facebook.

The school has expanded beyond film and TV production to include film & TV production, software engineering & design, digital marketing, sound engineering, music production, multimedia, animation, photography and graphic design

Founding Director Kiumi said young creatives took a long time to get international gigs and the gap is yet to be filled and this was why ADMI exists, and later, Director Laila Macharia said ADMI runs its programs to global standards, offering practical digital education so that students are earning incomes even before they graduate.

ADMI has a non-profit arm that works to help needy and deserving students with scholarships and in other ways. Now,  partners, studios, schools and other well-wishers can contribute to help even more students to get valuable training at ADMI.