Author: Martin Mwita

Martin Mwita is a business reporter based in Kenya. He covers equities, capital markets, trade and the East African Cooperation markets.

British International Investment
    • The transaction marks the successful outcome of BII and I&M’s equity partnership for over 7 years as AfricInvest takes over.
    • The institution said that the sale to a like-minded investor is one of the most significant transactions in East Africa in recent years and represents a vote of confidence in the region’s financial services sector.
    • It is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, and the Rwandan subsidiary I&M Bank Rwanda PLC is listed on the Rwanda Stock Exchange.

    British International Investment (‘BII’)

  • British International Investment (‘BII’), the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, has sold its 10.1 per cent stake in I&M Group PLC, the Eastern African banking group, to AfricInvest, a leading Pan-African Asset Management platform.

    The acquisition was made through East Africa Growth Holding, a special-purpose vehicle owned by AfricInvest.

  • I&M Group PLC is a leading banking group in Eastern Africa with a presence in Kenya,
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CBK
    • (CBK) retained its base lending rate at a high of 13 per cent for the second time.
    • This is the highest rate in 12 years, as the apex bank continues implementing monetary policies to manage stubborn inflation.
    • According to CBK data, the country’s borrowers had defaulted on about $4.8 billion as of April, the highest in 18 years, due to the tough credit market.

    Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) retains high interest rates

    Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) retained its base lending rate at a high of 13 per cent for the second time driving the borrowing costs in Kenya to remain high for at least the next two months.This is the highest rate in 12 years, as the apex bank continues to implement monetary policies intended to manage the stubborn inflation, which slightly increased to 5.1 per cent last month from five per cent in April.

  • The base-lending
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private capital
    • Output rises at the sharpest rate in 20 months.
    • New order volumes strengthen.
    • Input costs fall for the second month in a row.

    Kenya recorded an improvement in private sector business conditions during May, as falling cost burdens and rising new business contributed to a solid expansion in activity.

    The Latest Stanbic Bank Kenya Purchasing Managers’ Index indicates that activity’s upturn was the sharpest in 20 months, as was input buying growth.

    Job creation continued at a mild pace even as reductions in fuel prices and import costs led to a further drop in overall input prices in May, after the first decrease in nearly four years during April.

    Selling prices started to rise again, albeit slowly. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). Readings above 50.0 signal improved business conditions in the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show a deterioration.

    The latest headline PMI reading of 51.8 marked the index’s

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Green energy
    • Energy industry experts and policymakers are meeting in Nairobi for the International Energy Agency 9th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency, the first time the conference is being hosted in Africa.
    • European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of Energy and Petroleum Davis Chirchir launched the Green Resilient Electricity System Program for Kenya.
    • The Green Resilient Electricity System Program will support Kenya’s goal of a complete transition to 100per cent clean power generation by 2030 and it will boost Kenya’s sustainable energy future.

    The green energy economy strategy seeks to build on the country’s current economic strengths to secure a more sustainable future. Kenya’s ambitious plan to fully transition to 100 per cent clean power generation by 2030 has received a major boost, with the European Union backing the initiative.

    This comes as leaders, energy industry experts, and policymakers meet in Nairobi for the International Energy Agency’s

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Comesa programme targets horticulture production in East Africa
  • Under a new COMESA programme, farmers in the five East African countries are expected to access quality seeds, and training on how to improve production and distribution.
  • The five-year programme is expected to help the countries cut post-harvest losses in horticulture to 40 per cent or lower, from highs of 60 per cent, for instance in Kenya. 
  • Agriculture is estimated to contribute on average 27% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the EAC and accounts for the highest share of employment not only in the region but across Africa.

Agriculture is the backbone of nearly all East Africa region’s economies and the main economic activity for more than 70 per cent of the population. It is estimated to contribute on average 27 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the EAC and accounts for the highest share of employment not only in the region, but the African.…

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China-Africa trade grip
  • For the first time, the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE) came to Africa, with Nairobi playing host last week.
  • According to the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, the forum is expected to spread across the continent, with different countries hosting it in the coming years.
  • The Asian country is keen to continue its influence and trade dominance on the African continent.

China has launched a charm offensive on Africa in renewed efforts to tighten its grip on the continent. The West has recently shown growing interest in political and investment corporations, and China is seen as keen to continue its influence on the continent.

For the first time, the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE) came to Africa, with Nairobi playing host last week. According to the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, it is expected to go around the continent, with …

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Kenya's private sector
  • Kenya’s private sector enjoyed a much more stable business environment in April amid continued job creation in the market, with the country enjoying the lowest inflation in two years.
  • Employment growth continues as the country’s economy remains on a growth trajectory.
  • The headline PMI registered fractionally above the 50.0 neutral mark at 50.1 in April, up from 49.7 in March.

Kenya’s private sector enjoyed a much more stable business environment in April amid continued job creation in the market, with the country enjoying the lowest inflation in two years.

The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index by Stanbic Bank depicted broadly steady operating conditions across the sector during the month, as order book volumes and output levels have changed little since March.

The 12-month outlook continued to rebound sharply from February’s record low, and employment growth was maintained, as the country’s economy remained on a growth trajectory.

World Bank has projected Kenya’s

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Kenyan shilling on an upward trajectory boosting investor confidence
  • From January to March, investor confidence improved notably due to the stabilisation of the domestic currency (Kenyan Shilling), according to the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).
  • The Capital Markets Soundness Report indicates a more stable shilling, which consequently positively influenced the equity markets, which improved compared to the quarter ending December 2023.
  • The four market indices, NSE20, NSE25, NASI, and NSE10, closed at 1752.43, 2975.42, 113.09, and 1155.41 points respectively, an increase from 1,501.16, 2,380.23, 92.11, and 907.51 points.

Kenyan shilling on the rise

Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) was among the top African performers in the first quarter of 2024, buoyed by improved investor confidence that reduced outflows.

From January to March, investor confidence improved notably due to the stabilisation of the domestic currency (Kenyan Shilling), according to the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

The Capital Markets Soundness Report for the period under review indicates a more stable shilling, which consequently positively …

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Kenya's remittance inflows
  • Remittance inflows for March grew to $407.8 million, up from $385.9 million in February, with the US maintaining its lead as the top source for Kenya’s remittances.
  • This was also higher by 14.2 percent compared to the $357.0 million sent in the same month last year (March 2023), according to official data by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).
  • The cumulative inflows for the 12 months to March 2024 totaled $4.4 billion compared to USD 4 billion in a similar period in 2023, an increase of 10 percent.

Kenyans living and working abroad sent home more money in March, boosting the country’s forex reserves and supporting families and friends.

Remittance inflows for March grew to $407.8 million, up from $385.9 million in February, with the US maintaining its lead as the top source for Kenya’s remittances.

This was also higher by 14.2 per cent compared to the $357.0 million sent …

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East Africa's economic growth
  • East Africa’s economic growth is projected to grow at 5.3 and 5.8 per cent in 2024 and 2025-26, respectively. 
  • The World Bank projects African economies to grow by 3.4 per cent in 2024.
  • However, faster and more equitable growth is needed to reduce poverty.

East Africa’s economic growth to lead the continent

Economies in East Africa are expected to spearhead growth in Sub-Saharan Africa this year amid increased private consumption and declining inflation, which are supporting an economic rebound in the region.

The World Bank’s latest Africa’s Pulse report indicates the East African Community is projected to grow at the fastest pace at 5.3 and 5.8 per cent in 2024 and 2025–2026, respectively, thanks to robust growth in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.

This is higher than the compounded growth for Sub-Sahara Africa, which, albeit rebounding from a low of 2.6 per cent in 2023, is …

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