Window on East Africa

East Africa biz news and bytes

– Communities are already benefiting from oil exploration done by oil companies in Hoima and Bulisa regions.
– Government to audit/evaluate NGO’s in the north with a view to weeding out briefcase organization, those with an anti-NRM (government) message, or harming the peace talks in Juba
– Simba (a nationwide telcom dealer with 22 shops in Kampala) has partnered with USAID to launch Simba cash a money transfer service available at its stores nation wide. It targets the rural poor who don’t have bank accounts and they can send as little as 10,000 shillings (Kshs. 400)
– Diesel shortage expected to ease following the clearance of four companies – Caltex, Kobil, Total and Tamoil to be allowed to ship diesel from Mombasa by trucks. Demand for diesel and petrol in Uganda has grown to exceed the capacity of the pipeline which reached Eldoret. Previously only shell was allowed to do this is it was supplying diesel for Agrekko’s thermal energy project. The Kenya Revenue Authority has been blocking this move citing fears of illegal dumping of fuel in Kenya and had insisted that the companies should pay full taxes on fuel before they collect it at Mombasa to be refunded after they cross into Uganda, but the companies refused, claiming that KRA already owes them about $6 billion in unpaid refunds.
– From July 2, the Bank of Uganda will stop clearing cheques 20 million shillings (~Kshs. 800,000) thus requiring bank customers to use RTGS or EFT which are more efficient and less risky alternatives for large payments.
– Barclays to enhance its retail presence by purchasing Nile Bank for $120 million.
– Government plans to buy a new Gulfstream G5 (budgeted at $50m) for the President replacing the current G4 when it completes lease payments in November.
Uganda telephone companies may soon be required to share infrastructure (masts, switches, networks). There are 3 companies now (MTN, Celtel, Uganda telcom) and will soon be joined by a fourth (Hits to launch in November) and fifth.
– A bill covering the USE is before the cabinet which has been slow to approve papers/make decisions. This would allow setup of a CDS system here, and also eliminate capital gains tax for foreign investors (does that cover stanbic shares?)
– President Museveni (M7) frequently writes lengthy articles in the newspaper and comments on matters especially where he feels he has been misquouted. The First Lady has also taken to similar writing as well.
– AON has introduced medical cover for people living with HIV. It targets company employees in productive careers & life stages (35 – 44 years).

– Madonna in Malawi perhaps to adopt another baby?
– Kenyan businessmen at athi river, rongai and kiserian are colluding to lower the prices of livestock bought from Tanzanian livestock dealers
– Dar es Salaam university closed after students riot about plans to introduce cost sharing
– RVF on the increase in Dodoma and soon expected to breach Dar
– Tanzania breweries will build a factory that will use seawater to make beer. (This paper was published on March 31 – could it be an April fools teaser?)
– President Kikwete has a monthly state of the nation speech that is broadcast live on radio
– Plans are at an advance stage for a women’s commercial bank in Tanzania
– A newspaper reports that the Tanzania tourism board quotes an ABC news program that identifies the Serengeti Park as one of, and – only African location – among the seven wonders of the world.

It’s amazing what you discover about Kenya in other countries newspapers

– Kenya Airways shelved plans to fly to the US owing to safety & security issues. Also the airline will in May receive two leased Embraer jets to replace the Saab 340’s turboprops.
– Mobile phone taxes will be lowered in the budget this year
– Nakumatt to open stores in Kigali, Dar and Kampala
– NSE to start providing live prices to SNBC, and maybe even reuters and bloomberg one of the benefits of automate trading introduced in 2006 is that they will be able to provide instant and delayed reports, in addition to the current end of day and weekly reports.
– The Nation has started publishing reports from the Kenya gazette, a great, and for too long underutilized, source, of inside information on the government.
– GTV a satellite TV service comes to Kenya and Uganda next month as a low cost rival to DsTV

8 thoughts on “Window on East Africa

  1. AfroM

    awesome post.

    Here’s hoping RVF doesn’t spread any further in EA..its a dreadful disease.

    The HIV insurance is laudable in UG!

    Since M7-e is writing in the papers do you know if he addressed the riots that happened a few weeks ago about Mabira forest? (the forest was sold to a sugarcane co. Mehta against the wishes of the UG people) there is a claim that that he had no power to stop it… we’ll have to see what happens..

  2. Anonymous

    I’m a stock broker in Boston and read your blog every once in a while. I was excited when you mentioned that the NSE website was improved. Having been disappointed the last time I visited the site, I was quite anxious to click the link… I mean with your commendations, how could I be dissatisfied.
    Well, I think this time around my disappointment was tenfold. Like with all cosmetic changes happening in Kenya, the site is simply beautiful.. and that’s it. Its attempt to look like the NYSE site is just painful. There’s no useful information on this site at all…. at least to a broker i.e. Most of the company details are incomplete or not fully edited. Just take a look at the NSE Listing Manual and cringe when you view the edit remarks. The news links don’t work either. It’s my prayer that the site is just two days old and that this is just a trial period. If that’s the case, I can forgive. If not, then this is simply an attempt to deceive the population by falsely advertising professionalism. Woe to those who’ll buy shares based on their perception of the NSE sophistication.

  3. DK

    @ Anon.. I think it’s still under construction.. 🙂
    @ Banks.. Now HIN insurance??? 😕 Oh poor lil’ me.. 😐

  4. Anonymous

    Now usually I read quietly but on this one I have to speak up. Truly people only talk about the bad. How do you start comparing NSE to the NYSE. That is like comparing a toddler to a middle aged man. How many mistakes and problems did NYSE have before getting to where it is. Or would you like Kenya to simply ape what “almighty America” does?

    Yes there are problems, but jeez the market is running well (for the most part). Sure there are rouge brokers (show me any market that does not). How many brokers are honest, hard working and trying to build a business. Demand exploded after KenGen and the brokers and banks have been trying to keep up with demand, that is why higher net worth clients are getting better service (That is just a business decision). But guess what, they are now starting to look at other clientele with all the unit trust licenses coming up.

    I have been trading with Standard Investment Bank and no problem. I have a friend in the US who sent documentation and money from the US and guess what, they received a certified letter notifying them that the money was received and an account would be opened and managed on their behalf.

    This is what I suggest; first, have pride in your country because if you don’t nobody will. Second, reset your expectations accordingly to a third world country that has a 50 year old market, but which only started getting really pumped in the last 5 years and is learning the hard way. Third, instead of sabotaging your own country with words, attempt to find a broker/bank that is actually trying to do good and push their names.

    But since you don’t trade on the NSE maybe you are really not interested in all these except perhaps to just kill everything if you can.

    That’s my take anyway

  5. Anonymous

    Me again..1st anonymous i.e. First of all, I actually sent an email to the NSE asking them to put up a completely edited version of the NSE Listing Manual on their website. That was a week ago and nothing has happened. Maybe the email doesn’t work either. You say you trade so I’m sure you realize how important that manual is. For those who think I’m a nut, do your selves a favor and visit then click on NSE regulations…open the NSE Listing Manual scroll down and cry like a baby. There’s no comparison to the NYSE as a matter of fact, my whole issue was NSEs’ attempt to ‘ape’ the NYSE website. I just think that we Kenyans can be more original.
    I think it’s unfortunate that when anything Kenyan is criticized esp. for glaring short-comings, some of us who actually may pay a price for these deficiencies, shoot up to label one unpatriotic. Ultimately, Kenyans must stop giving excuses for the poor services (esp. with money) visited upon them. There’s no excuse for waiting in line at a bank for more than 7 minutes.
    Back to the NSE Listing Manual (this is now a campaign), I sincerely believe that the completely edited version is sitting on someone’s desk. Maybe the responsible party is out of the office sick or whoever set it up in the first place thinks that the edit comments make part of the document. I guess we could just accept to read through an unedited version because, well, it’s the Kenyan way….. or worse still give it sometime, after all it’s just been five years etc. Some will even say, well 99% of everything else is fine. Well, NO, it’s not fine, it’s your money.
    Please join my email campaign by sending emails to the NSE until this document is updated!!!!! I will be sending two per day.

  6. Anonymous

    I’m sorry. Boston Broker again. Your friend in the US who received a certified letter confirming receipt of his money and account set-up should not have expected anything less. There’s nothing profound in the banks ability to send the letter. Whereas you look at that as a privilege or a measure of functionality, I see it as a right (and I’m sure it’s protected somewhere in the constitution).
    See Friends, that is what I’m talking about.

  7. Anonymous

    @anon broker
    last weekend i met the CEo of NSE @ stanford during a conference and i asked him some of the questions that keep coming up in this and other blogs – first the CEO is a knowledgeable and genial person and is aware of this issues – i think from the conversation what became clear to me was that the problem of the NSE has a lot oto do with its ownership structure and entrenched interests who control it – so alot of this problems have tod ow with the owners not wnating to loose control.

  8. bankelele

    AfroM: RVF now a forgoten issue by the media. I hope it has been contained

    He seems to have backed off on Mabira for now, and with the country heading for the Commonwealth Summit later this year, the issue may not be resolved till after.

    DK: I like the NSE site, better than teh old one. By not having HIV insurance, a great part of the working population of some countries will be excluded

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