Thursday, April 18

Regional Markets

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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petroleum exports
  • Kenya is keen on extending its pipeline to Malaba (Kenya-Uganda border), with Uganda expected to construct a link line to Kampala.
  • According to the Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA), Mombasa used to command up to 70% of transit business, but this has decreased to 60 per cent.
  • Uganda imports an average of 2.5 billion litres of petroleum annually, valued at about $2 billion, with KPC handling at least 90 per cent of the volumes.

Kenya is courting Uganda in a fresh bid to retain and possibly increase petroleum exports amid increased competition from neighbouring Tanzania. In recent months, East Africa’s economic powerhouse has come under pressure from Tanzania, which is eyeing to tap more transit markets for imports and exports into the hinterland through the Dar es Salaam Port.

In the latest developments, Tanzania has offered to license Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) to import petroleum products through Dar …

FTSE Russell
  • Kenya’s equity market has received an upgrade on its classification by the FTSE Russel Index from “Restricted’ to “Pass” on the repatriation of capital and income.
  • This development partly indicates that Kenya is now a maturing market, characterised by increased transparency, liquidity, and a growing investor confidence.
  • Across Africa, data shows that an estimated $700 million was reported held in 11 African countries, with Nigeria accounting for the lion’s share.

FTSE Russell, a global provider of analytics, benchmarks and data services, has endorsed the Nairobi Securities Exchange Plc (NSE), ushering a new era in Kenya’s financial services industry. The NSE has announced that as of March 2024, the Nairobi bourse has been reclassified by the FTSE Russell Governance Board, moving from a “restricted” to a “pass” status.

This pivotal change is not just a mark of progress, but a move to underscore the resilience and strategic navigation of the Kenyan …

Nairobi Securities Exchange investor sell-off in 2023
  • In 2023, a significant investor sell-off led to a $15.5 million (KSh4.2 billion) decline in the Kenya stock market.
  • During the review period, Safaricom’s market valuation declined, attributed in part to prolonged and price-agnostic portfolio outflows by foreign investors in favor of dollar-denominated assets.
  • Utility Umeme Limited recorded the highest valuation gains throughout 2023, registering an impressive 115.6 percent return.

Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firms, including Safaricom PLC, British American Tobacco (BAT), and Cooperative Bank, emerged among the top counters experiencing the highest investor sell-off in 2023, a new trading report reveals.

Over the past year, a consistent trend of investor flight led to the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) witnessing a drop of $15.5 million (KSh4.2 billion) in the value of shares traded on the bourse

The 2024 outlook report by AIB-AXYS Africa Investment indicates that despite some firms, such as Safaricom, recording improvements in share prices towards the end …

trade tensions EAC
  • Trade tensions within the EAC bloc have intensified lately, with neighboring countries taking adverse actions against each other.
  • In the latest development, Tanzania is blocking passenger flights from Kenya Airways to Dar es Salaam, while Burundi has officially closed its borders with Rwanda.
  • Elsewhere, Kenya has been pursuing trade deals with the European Union and the United States, leaving regional economies to play catch-up

Heightened trade and political tensions between the East African member states are threatening to erode the gains of a free market and the dividends of a united bloc for a region expected to achieve the fastest growth across Africa this year.

As East Africa increasingly evolves into a focal point for economic growth and development, underlying trade tensions are testing the region’s unity to the fullest. As nations strive to harness the benefits of globalization, differing economic policies and priorities can often strains trade relations defeating …

Kenyan Shilling
  • East Africa is set to outshine other regions in 2024 growth with Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda posting impressive numbers.
  • This year, Africa’s overall growth is forecasted at 4 per cent, a notable increase from 3.3 per cent in 2023.
  • These are findings of a new Africa 2024 outlook report by Stears, an economic analysis and data-driven insights provider.

The prevailing economic woes in Kenya are projected to continue in 2024 with persistent currency depreciation and inflationary pressures taking toll on individuals and businesses. This is according to a new Africa 2024 Outlook report by Stears, a Nigeria-based economic analysis and data-driven insights company.

Already, the latest statistics show that the Kenyan Shilling has already breached the 160 mark against the US dollar.

Stears’ 2024 Outlook delves into key African countries, specifically Kenya and the continent’s powerhouse Nigeria, projecting persisting economic challenges for both economies.

he macroeconomic analysis …

The Ethiopia-Somaliland port dispute
  • Ethiopia-Somalia port dispute has seen the European Union, the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League declare support for Somalia.
  • The deal on the port agreement has rattled a section of Somalians who took to the streets in Mogadishu to protest against the agreement.
  • The Horn of Africa, region comprises countries such as Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, and has long been a strategic crossroads for trade and commerce.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in lost trade deals could be on the line as the Ethiopia-Somalia port dispute intensifies tension across the volatile Horn of Africa region.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland’s leader Muse Bihi Abdi signed an agreement granting Ethiopia a 50-year lease on a naval base, effectively allowing access to Somaliland’s Berbera port for commercial marine operations.

As per the Memorandum of Understanding, landlocked Ethiopia was granted the right to utilize facilities in the Gulf …

unemployment rates in Africa
  • This year, ILO report notes that an additional two million workers are expected to be seeking jobs in Africa and across the globe.
  • Last year, the global unemployment rate stood at 5.1 percent, reflecting a modest improvement from 2022 when it was at 5.3 percent, accounting for roughly 191 million people.
  • Additionally, the global jobs gap and labour market participation rates showed improvement in 2023. However, a new report highlights that beneath these numbers, fragility is starting to emerge.

An additional two million people are projected to be seeking work this year, potentially raising the average unemployment rate in Africa and across the world by about two per cent to 5.2 per cent from last year’s 5.1 per cent.

In its World Employment and Social Outlook Trends: 2024 report, the International Labour Organization (ILO) notes that this trend will accelerate growing social inequalities, a key pain point for policymakers across …

Kenya's exports
  • The East African region and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) were the single biggest trade blocs that consumed Kenya’s exports.
  • According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the value of Kenya’s exports to the EAC totaled $496.7 million (Ksh77.9 billion) up from $431 million (Ksh67.7 billion).
  • There was an increase in earnings from exports to Uganda (27.7%), Tanzania (32.1%), South Sudan (64.4%) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (78.6%).

Kenya’s exports to her East African Community (EAC) neighbours increased in the third quarter of 2023, as the country continued to push volumes amid efforts to cut the high import bill.

This comes as Africa increasingly remained Kenya’s biggest export market, even as economies edge closer to operationalizing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The East African region and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) were the single biggest trade …

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