IFC has provided a $100 million loan to the Arab African International Bank (AAIB) to enable the institution expand its operations in Egypt. AAIB is a leading player in the Egyptian banking sector that adopts sustainability policies and practises in its daily banking operations. Egypt’s SME sector contributes 25 per cent to the economy and 75 per cent of total private sector employment but SMEs loans represent under ten per cent of total formal lending. Mouayed Maklouf, Regional Director, IFC Middle East and North Africa added that the loan will encourage other financial institutions to follow suit. The remaining $50 million will be for introducing credit lines that support energy efficiency, helping businesses to make capital investments to refurbish or renovate existing operations to reduce energy costs.
Weak demand for North Africa and Turkey has not stopped tour operator Tui from reporting it is on track to grow profits this year. The company, which also has a hotels division and a cruise line, said strong demand for the Spanish islands, Greece and the Caribbean had helped it to hold to its profit guidance for the year. Ninety-seven per cent of its holiday programme was sold during the winter season, in line with the prior year, and its summer offering is 48pc sold, again in line with the prior year. The winter season was helped by its Riu and Robinson hotel brands, while the first winter for its Mein Schiff 5 vessel attracted holidaymakers to its cruise division.
Egypt: IFC provides support for SMEsThe international Finance Corporation (IFC) has released a $100 million loan to the Arab African International Bank (AAIB) in Egypt, in support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Splitting the fundsAbout $50 million will be earmarked for SMEs to support the bank's strategy to significantly increase its lending to smaller businesses. While the remaining $50 million will be earmarked for introducing credit lines that support energy efficiency, helping businesses that need to make capital investments to refurbish or renovate existing operations to reduce energy costs. IFC targets to grow SMEsAccording to the IFC, the SME sector accounts for approximately 25% of Egypt's GDP and about 75% of total private sector employment. Despite this, a significant number of SMEs remain outside formal channels, with SMEs loans representing only around 5-10% of total lending.
Algerian army has shot dead a Sahraoui as he unknowingly attempted to leave the Polisario-administered Tindouf camps on board his car. The Algerian army fired at the car without warning outside the so-called camp of Laayoune where Algeria has relegated the destiny of thousands of Sahraouis to the mercy of a separatist militias that trades in their suffering. As soon as he left the camp, he and his friend Ahmed Lebouiya, were shot by the Algerian army. Morocco has on multiple occasions called on Algeria to enable a census of the population held with a firm grip within the Polisario camps. The decision was taken following a report by the EU anti-fraud office (OLAF) denouncing the embezzlement of humanitarian aid by the Polisario leadership and Algerian officials.
CAIRO: The devastating conflicts gripping the Middle East and North Africa have left 30 million people unsure of their next meal, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said. “Food security and nutrition levels in the Near East and North Africa have sharply deteriorated over the last five years,” the agency said in a report released Monday. “The prevalence of severe food insecurity in the adult population... was close to 9.5 percent in 2014-2015, representing approximately 30 million people,” it said. CAIRO: The devastating conflicts gripping the Middle East and North Africa have left 30 million people unsure of their next meal, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said. “Food security and nutrition levels in the Near East and North Africa have sharply deteriorated over the last five years,” the agency said in a report released Monday.
Between 2011 and 2016, some 630,000 irregular migrants and refugees reached Italy via the central Mediterranean. Of those using this route, around 55 percent are migrants rather than refugees, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Yet voters across Europe are largely voting against any inform of increased immigration or even assistance to asylum-seekers. Italy and Greece are being left unfairly to carry the burden of hosting these refugees, something they can ill afford. The EU faces being overwhelmed once again if it does not find ways to coordinate and agree a common strategy.
Magazines Mombasa woos investors to offer water transport servicesThe county government blamed the heavy traffic problem on trucks heading to the port for goods. At the same time, water transport in the region leaves much to be desired. The county government is therefore calling for private investors to put money in water transport infrastructure, such as private ferries and passenger boats. He also called for investors to introduce sea transport services to connect Mombasa with Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu counties. Kenya Ferry Services has long proposed sea transport services to connect Mombasa to its neighbouring counties although these ideas have amounted to little.
News Kenyans abroad top mobile money remittancesIsmail Ahmed, founder and CEO of WorldRemit. FILE PHOTO | NMGKenyans living abroad are the largest senders of remittances to mobile money accounts, a new study shows. “Kenya is famed for leading Africa’s digital transformation, and today its Kenyans abroad who are at the forefront of digitising international money transfers,’’ WorldRemit founder and CEO Ismail Ahmed said. “Most of our Kenyan customers use our mobile app, demonstrating the strong demand for convenience when sending to friends and family.”There are half a billion registered mobile money users worldwide. Millions of Kenyans live abroad, with large communities in North America, Europe and Australia.
Several Moroccan media outlets reported that King Mohammed VI would attend the 28th Arab Summit, to be held in Jordan’s capital Amman. The news about the King’s participation in the Arab Summit also came after the visit by King Abdullah II of Jordan to Morocco. Morocco’s foreign minister is already in Amman where he took part in a preparatory meeting of Arab foreign ministers for the summit. Morocco’s foreign policy pivot to Africa came after frustration with Arab common action and the paralysis in the Maghreb integration. In 2016, Morocco’s foreign ministry issued a statement explaining the reasons for Morocco’s refusal to host the Arab Summit.
Efforts by the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons began on Monday 27 March 2017, but these efforts may be undermined before they get anywhere – the United States, Russia, and China are among 40 other nuclear-armed nations absent and their reason is that a nuclear ban is impractical. North Korea has said its nuclear efforts are meant as a deterrent against what it sees as US hostility. Japan, is the only country to have experienced an atomic air strike which happened during World War II. The negotiations aim to create “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination” and supporters are hopeful that a document will be ready by July. The administration of US President Donald Trump is reviewing the goal to have a world free of nuclear weapons, an aim embraced by previous Republican and Democratic presidents and required by a key arms control treaty.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the first mobile money service M-PESA, WorldRemit has released data which reveals that the Kenyan diaspora is the biggest sender of digital remittances to mobile accounts. “Kenya is famed for leading Africa’s digital transformation, and today it’s Kenyans abroad are at the forefront of digitizing international money transfers. According to the report, transfers to mobile money accounts make up 93 percent of WorldRemit transactions to Kenya. WorldRemit is now connected to over a fifth of all mobile money accounts – 112 million of 500 million mobile money accounts around the world. 74 percent of all international remittances to mobile money accounts coming from money transfer operators are sent via WorldRemit.
Pravin Gordhan tells CNBC Africa that he is still finance minister outside the North Gauteng High Court in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria. “I’m here, I’m still finance minister,” said Pravin Gordhan. This comes on the back of reports that the top six of SA’s ruling African National Congress party had approved the removal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. ANN7 reported that Brian Molefe, ex-head of state utility Eskom, and former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, were not in the running to replace Gordhan. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by James Macharia)
PHOTO GALLERYSeat will lead VW’s expansion plans in North Africa and maybe even Mexico, as it seeks to enter new markets in the next decade.The big reason for this is for the company to stabilize its earnings and reduce its reliance on the European market, AutoNews reports.Seat will first take the leadership role in VW Group’s new factory in Algeria according to Luca de Meo, Seat’s president, speaking at the brand’s annual press conference.VW Group has joined forces with Algerian SOVAC in order to assemble the Seat Ibiza, VW Golf and Caddy and the Skoda Octavia at the new plant in Algeria.The final assembly of the new Seat Ibiza for the North African market will start at the new factory in the second half of the year, with the car to be built from parts supplied from Seat’s Martorell plant.Luca de Meo also set the tone for Seat’s future plans saying "it would be healthy for us to sell about 30 percent of our cars outside Europe in next five to 10 years".At the same event Seat confirmed that a larger SUV to sit above the Ateca is also in the works, offering seating for five or seven passengers. "Large SUVs represent one of the fastest-growing markets," de Meo said. "We are confident about the potential of our new car. "The new model will become the third SUV of the brand after the Ateca and the upcoming subcompact Arona, which is due this year.
Economy & Politics Mombasa County mulls mass sea transport to decongest cityMotorists stuck in traffic along Nyali bridge. FILE PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NMGMombasa County is exploring the possibility of introducing sea transport services on the North Coast in a bid to decongest the traffic that inconveniences motorists along Nyali bridge. The devolved unit is also seeking investors to provide a mass transit solution via sea to connect Mombasa island with neighbouring counties such as Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu. He added that if private ferry services are introduced, it would make it easier for people from the town to travel to North Coast by sea. Years ago, the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) had proposed the extension of ferry services to connect Mombasa with neighbouring counties but to date nothing has materialised.
To mark the 10th anniversary of mobile money service M-PESA, WorldRemit has released new data showing that the Kenyan diaspora is the biggest sender of digital remittances to mobile accounts. “With half a billion registered accounts worldwide, mobile money continues to transform lives by allowing people to access financial services for the first time. WorldRemit is now connected to over a fifth of all mobile money accounts – 112 million of 500 million mobile money accounts around the world. 74% of all international remittances to mobile money accounts coming from money transfer operators are sent via WorldRemit. The company has pioneered mobile to mobile remittances, sending to 32 mobile money services in 24 countries – more than any other money transfer service.