Author - Kathryn

RBS stake sale realises £2bn loss on bailout value

The latest sell-off RBS shares by the Government resulted in a loss of more than £2bn on their value at the time of the bank’s 2008 bailout, it has been revealed.

UK Government Investments (UKGI), which manages the taxpayers’ holding in the bank, confirmed on Tuesday morning it had successfully completed the disposal of a 7.7% stake – first announced on Monday evening.

The placing price was 271p per share, raising just over £2.5bn for the public purse – money the Chancellor Philip Hammond said would be used to draw down the national debt.

The sale – the first since 2015 – brings the Government’s total stake down to 62.4% – though it has attracted criticism on value grounds.

The placing price achieved, at 271p, is well below the 502p the-then Labour government paid for them at the height of the financial crisis almost ten years ago to prevent the lender toppling.

The previous sale three years ago netted public coffers more in value terms because the placing price was 330p.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, told Sky News the timing was based on the advice it received from the “experts” at UKGI.

Source: https://news.sky.com/story/rbs-stake-sale-realises-2bn-loss-on-bailout-value-11395217

 

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African Development Bank achieves historic disbursement of US $7.81 billion, exceeding 2017 target

The African Development Bank, under the leadership of its President, Akinwumi Adesina, has increased disbursements to support the structural transformation of countries in Africa, according to its Annual Report, released during the Annual Meetings in Busan, Korea.

Bank disbursements reached US $7.81 billion in 2017, a 15% increase over 2016 and the highest on record for the Bank. This increase was driven, to a large extent, by the 42% increase in project loan and grant disbursements, which reflect in part, improved portfolio management. The Bank approved 249 operations amounting to US $8.93 billion. This was reflected in its core financing, disbursements, operational strategies and portfolio management.

Adesina indicated that this “reflected a 56% increase in disbursements for non-sovereign operations. A clear sign of the Bank Group’s increasing engagement with Africa’s private sector, non-sovereign operations accounted for 38% of African Development Bank approvals, the highest on record.”

While the Bank’s net operating income declined between 2014 and 2015, it has turned around rapidly. “The Bank Group also continued to grow its income. Net operating income increased in 2017 to US $817.69 million, up from US $631.08 million in 2016, a 29.6% increase and the highest since 2009,” Adesina said, adding that, “the Bank also consolidated its position as Africa’s leading knowledge institution by taking full leadership responsibility for the publication of a key flagship – the African Economic Outlook.”

The Bank is stepping up the pace by focusing on five priorities that are crucial for accelerating Africa’s economic transformation: the “High 5s” include Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

These High 5s guide the Bank’s operations to deliver critical development impacts in Africa. For example, once completed, power generation projects approved in 2017 will install 1,400 MW of new renewable energy capacity. Light up and power Africa provided 4.4 million people with electricity. Feed Africa provided 8.5 million people with improved agricultural technologies.

Source: https://am.afdb.org/en/press-releases/african-development-bank-achieves-historic-disbursement-us-781-billion-exceeding-2017

 

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Government launches National strategy for growing private sector development

Hon. Matia Kasaija, Finance Minister last week launched a four year National Strategy to increase private sector competitiveness, in order to raise its contribution to economic development. 

The National Strategy for Private Sector Development 2018/2022 will help deepen the engagement between government and the private sector in order to realize the country’s development plan. 

The strategy will use sector based benchmarks and service delivery indicators to measure its implementation performance.

“In order to realize meaningful development; public and private sectors must talk to each other to inform policy and development.” Said Mr. Gideon Badagawa, Executive Director, PSFU

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Support to Agricultural Revitalization and Transformation (START) Facility officially launched

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), in partnership with Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and Uganda Development Bank Limited (UDBL), and with support from the European Union, launched the Support to Agricultural Revitalization and Transformation (START) Facility.

The Facility is intended to offer access to affordable medium-term finance for agricultural value adding projects in Northern Uganda through provision of Business Development Services and seed capital in the form of concessional loans, grants and partial guarantees.

START is expected to contribute to increased food security, improved maternal and child nutrition, and enhanced household incomes as a key outcome of  the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU). DINU is a Government of Uganda programme supported by the European Union for an amount of 132,8 Mio EUR (approximatively 603 billion UGX).

START  geographic coverage is aligned with DINU geographic coverage, i.e. it  comprises 33 districts in Northern Uganda as listed  below;

Region Districts covered
Karamoja Abim, Amudat, Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Napak
Acholi Agago, Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum, Lamwo, Nwoya, Omoro, Pader
Lango Alebtong, Amolatar, Apac, Dokolo, Kole, Lira, Otuke, Oyam
Teso Amuria, Katakwi
West Nile Adjumani, Arua, Koboko, Maracha, Moyo, Nebbi, Yumbe, Zombo

START will support development and financing of capital-intensive agricultural projects promoted by small and medium enterprises that add value in storage and processing of agricultural products. START will take into account the impact of the complementary activities for food production and commercial agriculture.

START addresses the “middle missing” gap in agricultural finance targeting projects with a financing requirement from 10,000 EUR (approximately UGX 40 million) to 100,000 EUR (approximately 4 billion UGX). It will closely cooperate and coordinate with other financing and technical facilities supporting agriculture in Uganda.

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Government of Uganda to Construct a 3 – Star Application Hotel in Jinja

JINJA – The Hon. Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu today led a team of Government officials and other partners for a ground breaking ceremony to kick start the construction of an application hotel for the Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (UHTTI) in Jinja.

The  proposed three star hotel once completed will comprise of a  fully equipped, 50-room hotel block, two student demonstration kitchens, training  restaurants and a laundry  block to provide  the hospitality students hands on experience on modern facilities.

“Human resource is a very important ingredient in the tourism sector. We can promote the country as a tourism destination, but if you do not have capable resource to provide experience that will encourage not only repeat visits, but more people coming in, then all the investment in promotion and modern hospitality facility will be in vain,” said Prof. Kamuntu.  This facility is therefore, one of the interventions we are making as government, to start building the capacity of human resource in the tourism sector”, he added.

The Minister also reiterated the importance of effective management of the facility once completed.

“The building alone will not make the hotel a centre of excellence, it is important that, the output from the facility is of high quality. We are reviewing the curriculum, providing training opportunities to the tutors and eventually explore twining with other international institution so that we get the right output from the institute,” the Minister said.

The construction of the application hotel is being undertaken under the Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project, funded by Government of Uganda/World Bank, and coordinated by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU).

The project, is supporting implementation of business environment reforms in Business Registration and Licensing, Land Administration and Management, Tourism Competitiveness Development and enterprise development through provision of matching grants to private sector enterprises. The aim of the project is to ultimately create a conducive business environment that will enhance Uganda’s competitiveness.

A number of activities have been undertaken under the project to support the tourism sector including provision of transport facilities to Uganda Wildlife Authority, tourism promotion through the hire of PR firms and supporting a number of exhibitions, curriculum review and development of policies that will support growth of the tourism sector.

  • The building will cost Ugx; 19.4 billion, approximately, USD 5.3 million.
  • The construction is being undertaken by Roko Construction Limited under the supervision of Arch Design Limited
  • Duration for the construction – 12 months.

About CEDP

  • CEDP is a Government of Uganda/World Bank funded project, coordinated by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU)

About UHTTI

Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (UHTTI) is a Government training institution, specialized in the hospitality and tourism training in Uganda.

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Agent banking allows customers to access financial services easily

Formal banking services will get nearer to consumers following the launch of the Agent Banking system in Kampala.Agent banking, according to Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) will substantially reduce banks’ cost of operation but will take services closer to the people.

Dr. Louis Kasekende, the Bank of Uganda Deputy Governor, said agent banking will be critical in partly addressing a number of challenges, which among them include the cost of reaching customers and creating a diversified financial solutions system.

Agent banking allows customers to easily access financial services at efficient and a reduced cost through more than 11,000 agents who are currently spread across the country.

Customers will through the system be able to open accounts, apply for payment instruments and make deposits and withdrawal as well as pay bills. Other services will include money transfers, loan services and balance enquiry as well as receiving account statements and account information among others.

Mr. Wilbrod Owor, the UBA Executive Director, said the launch was a major milestone that is expected to change the face of the banking industry. “Extension of banking services and bringing on board the bigger proportion of our population to the formal banking system is the ultimate objective of this initiative.” He said

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Economic activity in Uganda is expected to accelerate this financial year 2017/18 with the economy projected to grow between 5.0% and 5.5%

Uganda’s economic outlook for 2018 is a lot more positive thanks to a recovery in private sector credit, favorable weather conditions, increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and the continued robust government investment in infrastructure.

According to Bank of Uganda’s most recent Monetary Policy Statement (MPC), there are very good signs of recovery and revival of the private investment activity in the economy. FDI has rebound from the slump of 2016, and is estimated to have increased by 18.5% during the 2017 calendar year. There has been a year on year increase in private sector credit, with local currency credit extension up by 10.8% in December 2017 compared to the modest
growth of only 7.9% in December 20161.

The manufacturing sector is also showing signs of recovery with an increase in the export of manufactured goods particularly construction materials such as iron and steel products. Export of processed consumer goods and agricultural items such as dairy products and edible oil is also on the rise. In addition to this, there has been an
increase in imports of raw materials and capital goods, registering growth of 17.4% in the calendar year 2017
compared to a decline of 21.1% in 2016.

All these positive developments, together with the continued improvements in the global economic outlook, indicate that 2018 will definitely be a better year for businesses in Uganda.

Source: https://www.pwc.com/ug/en/assets/pdf/ug-economic-outlook-2018.pdf

 

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Global Peace Leadership Conference 2018

Uganda will in August this year host the Global Peace Leadership Conference 2018.

The three day strategic high level summit will build consensus on response towards pressing regional and international challenges guided by a shared vision, principles, aspirations, and an innovative values based approach to improving the economy, education, security, leadership at all levels of society, youth productivity, and women empowerment as well as address community development needs.

The conference will run from August 1st – 3rd at Commonwealth Resort Hotel Munyonyo.

In order to popularise the event, President Yoweri Museveni and former Zanzibar President Abeid Karume on Thursday launched a mobile Application and Website for people to download and get the information about the conference on their mobile phones.

Officiating at the launch, President Museveni lauded the initiative and pledged government support. He however stressed the need for moral uprightness if the Great lakes region is to achieve peace.

“Moral uprightness is key because immoral or corrupt people cannot create peace,” he observed.

On the other hand, former Zanzibar President Abeid Karume said a peace conference is timely when the region is conflict ravaged.

The conference will run under the theme, “Moral and Innovative Leadership (New Models for Sustainable Peace and Development)”

It will attract the participation of Heads of State, First Ladies, Religious leaders, Cultural leaders, Entrepreneurs, Youth, Innovators, Women, Community organisers, Development partners, Celebrities, Teachers, Policy makers, Media, Environmentalists and Civil Society Organisations.

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Africa agrees deal for Continental Free Trade Area

On March 21, 2018, 44 African heads of state and government officials met in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign the framework to establish this initiative of the African Union.

The AfCFTA will come into effect 30 days after ratification by the parliaments of at least 22 countries. Each country has 120 days after signing the framework to ratify.

This will be one of the world’s largest free-trade areas in terms of the number of countries, covering more than 1.2 billion people and over $4 trillion in combined consumer and business spending if all 55 countries join. Here are four things you need to know about the AfCFTA.

1) What is the AfCFTA and how did it come about?

It creates a single continental market for goods and services as well as a customs union with free movement of capital and business travelers. The African Union agreed in January 2012 to develop the AfCFTA. It took eight rounds of negotiations, beginning in 2015 and lasting until December 2017, to reach agreement.

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