Snapshot on African Economy as @ 260221


Friday, February 26, 2021/ 04:00PM / United Capital Research / Header Image Credit: @cgtnafrica


Anglophone West Africa


  • Ghana's government sold GH3.0bn for 2-year bond at a coupon rate of 19.3% due to an increase in foreign investors within the market. The government rejected GH700m of bids tendered. The amount raised will act as a buffer for the government ahead of upcoming maturities next month.
  • Ghana T-bills were oversubscribed by 96.0% as rates of treasury bills fell on the premise of the government reducing its borrowing. This spurred investor interest in government's short-term securities, particularly 3- month T-Bills
  • Ghana became the first country to receive vaccines through World Health Organisation's COVAX Program. The COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Accra on Wednesday 24th February 2021.
  • Ghana owes IMF, World bank and others a total of $7.9bn in multilateral debt, this is an increase of 1.5% compared to the $7.8bn recorded in Q2- 2020. The increase in borrowing is attributed to the global pandemic COVID-19.



  • Nigeria exits recession with 0.1% y/y growth in Q4-2020, the Service sector contributed 54.3% to the GDP in Q4 2020, followed by Agriculture, which contributed 227.0%, and Industry with 18.8%.
  • According to the NNPC, Nigeria is currently losing an average of 200,000 barrels of crude oil daily to theft and vandalism.
  • According to the National Assembly, the newly built Oil Refinery by Dangote Group will strengthen the Naira and support economic growth.

Francophone West Africa


  • Senegal has begun vaccinating its citizens with the doses of the Sinopharm vaccine it bought from China earlier in the year. Government ministers and health workers were the first to receive jabs, as the country plans to inoculate around 90% of a targeted 3.6 million people. Senegal has a population of 16 miilion.
  • Reports suggest Senegal is in negotiations with Russia for its Sputnik V Vaccine after paying $3.7mn (more than CFA2.0mn) to China for the Sinopharm vaccine.


Ivory Coast

  • The European Union envisages providing around €1bn over six years to aid Ivory Coast's cocoa sector as it adapts to EU supply chain laws due to be introduced later this year. If the laws are adopted, buyers would be required to trace their inputs through every step of their supply chains, including starting at the level of small farms. The West African country hopes the EU's laws will help protect forests, curb child labour and end farmer poverty.
  • Ivory Coast has launched a new commodities exchange, and it would commence operations next month by listing raw cashew nuts, kola nuts and corn, its chief executive said on Tuesday.


East Africa


  • This week, Tanzania's President finally admitted the country has a Covid19 problem and has urged citizens to take measures to prevent contracting the virus.
  • This comes after several months of claiming the virus has been defeated by prayers and declaring the country Covid-19 free.
  • The death of the Vice President of the Zanzibar as well as widespread reporting of citizens down with breathing difficulties may have forced the change of mind for the President.



  • According to Knight Frank's 2021 Wealth Report, the number of dollar millionaires in Kenya fell 22.0% y/y to 3,323 people in 2020 from 4,235 in 2019.
  • The report cited the tougher economic environment in 2020 occasioned by the outbreak of coronavirus had impacted the business and wealth of Kenya's millionaires.
  • At the upcoming East African Summit, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda would seek to resolve the ongoing trade wars between them. However, Uganda has threatened to sue the two countries in the event of failure to reach an amicable solution.


  • In Uganda, Opposition leader, Robert Kyagulanyi (popularly known as Bobi Wine) has withdrawn the case filed with the Supreme court challenging the results of the January elections. He cited the court's bias as a reason for the withdrawal.
  • In macro-related news, Uganda's fiscal deficit ballooned to a decade record as the country's foreign borrowings surged.
  • Also, economic activities picked up in December 2020 as the Index of Real Economic Activity Growth (CIREA) printed a 6.7% y/y growth, similar to the pre-pandemic level of 7.1% in January 2020. Real economic activity has now converged back to long term path following the 2020 Covid-19 induced decline.



  • Following the conclusion of the IMF's staff visit to Ethiopia, the body's end-of-mission statement adjusted targets under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to account for the impact of the pandemic.
  • In addition, Ethiopian authorities requested for debt treatment under G20 common framework in bid to bid to reprofile debt service obligations, thereby lowering the risk of debt distress rating.



  • Following the first interest rate cut by monetary authorities in April 2020, they voted to keep the benchmark interest rate at 4.5% in the first meeting of 2021.


Southern Africa


South Africa

  • Despite loosening pandemic-related restrictions, unemployment in South Africa worsened in Q4-2020.
  • Data from Stats SA revealed that the country's official unemployment rate rose by 1.7% from Q3-2020 to a record high of 32.5% in Q4-2020.
  • The SA Reserve Bank reversed initial guidance against dividend payment by banks, instructs banks to now pay dividends.
  • Banks held back on paying dividends after having declared them due to the apex bank's initial guidance in April-2020 advising them against paying dividends and cash bonuses due to the anticipated impact of Covid-19 on the banking system.
  • Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's delivered the 2021 Budget Speech. Notably, total spending is expected at R6.16tn over the next 3 years or (c. 2.0tn each year), with the bulk of spend tabled for social services.
  • Also, budget deficit was revised to 14.0% of GDP and Gross debt has increased from 65.6% to 80.3% of GDP. Notably, the Government has set aside R19.3bn for vaccines.
  • Markets rallied after the Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's budget speech with the rand strengthening to R14.40/$ from R14.55/$, while average bond yields fell. 



  • Headline inflation for Feb-2021 climbed to 22.2% in Zambia, marking the sixth consecutive period of rising inflation.
  • Food prices in Zambia (+27.3%) rose the fastest in over a decade, according to the data from the Zambia Statistics Agency.
  • Zambia's trade surplus for Jan-2021 expanded to K9.2bn, from K6.5bn in Dec-2020. Exports (+5.4%) widened to K17.5bn while imports (-18.8%) contracted to K8.2bn.
  • Zambia's mining sector performed better than expected in 2020. The country recorded an increase in Copper production as 8 large-scale mining companies recorded an uptick in production.
  • Fortunately for Zambia, copper prices have witnessed an upsurge recently.


  • According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, John Mangudya, Zimbabwe's banking system has resolved to settle funds allocated at the FX auction system within two weeks.
  • The system reportedly developed glitches in Q4-2020 resulting in waiting times of over 2 weeks for exporters to access funds.
  • The RBZ reported a 417.0% jump in Real Gross Settlement System (RTGS) transaction value to $1.6tn and a 16.0% increase in volume to 10.7mn by Dec-2020
  • Zimbabwe's Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube announced the appointment of five new members to the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the RBZ.


Central Africa (CEMAC & Congo DRC)


  • Gabon's economic minister has assured investors the country would be able to fulfil its debt obligations.
  • Gabon is also considering restructuring its debt portfolio after crude oil prices slumped in 2020. Crude oil accounts for 80% of Gabon's export revenue.
  • In the last week, China has confirmed it would deliver over 100,000 doses of the COVID vaccine to Gabon; details emerged after a meeting between the Minister of Health for Gabon and the Chinese Ambassador to Gabon.
  • Gabon is currently experiencing a second wave of Covid-19 infections. On Monday, pandemic figures indicated that there are now 1,247 active COVID-19 cases in the country, including 77 hospitalisations and 76 deaths so far.



  • The National Institute of Statistics recently published its note on the industrial producer price index for Q3-2020. The report showed that prices rose 0.7% from Q2-2020. The price increase recorded in the furniture manufacturing industries (+4.3%), woodworking, and wood products manufacturing industries (+3.0%), mining and quarrying industries (+1.7%) and environmental industries (+1.3%) was offset by the sharp decline recorded in the refinery sector (-11.7%).
  • According to an official release published by the Directorate General of the Treasury, the Cameroonian public treasury plans to raise XAF225 billion on the BEAC public securities market via the issuance of long-term securities in H1-2021. The Cameroonian public treasury plans to raise these funds through a series of 5 to 10-year maturity securities Uganda

Congo DRC

  • The DRC found itself on the frontpages, as diplomatic disaster struck when the Italian ambassador to the country was killed after an attack on a UN envoy, Luca Attanasio.
  • According to reports, Luca Attanasio and two others died in an attempted kidnapping in the north of Goma in eastern DRC.
  • DRC will launch a public tender for 19 onshore exploration blocks at the end of 2021 to boost exploration activities throughout the country.
  • The new Petroleum Code was enacted in 2015 to aggressively transform the country’s energy sector by providing clear and attractive policies for foreign investment and is set to increase energy developments and associated economic growth dramatically.



  • The World Bank has approved a $250mn loan to improve operational performance and increase electricity access in selected cities in Angola.
  • Following the $250mn loan facility by the World Bank, the Angolan government has also announced the country's plans to raise its sub-40% electrification rate by 2025.
  • The Angola General Tax administration collected around AKZ4.39bn in property tax.
  • Angolan crowdfunding startup Deya has secured its first round of preseed financing of more than US$50,000 to help it further develop its platform and start generating revenue.



  • According to the Minister of Water, Irrigation & Energy, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has reached a 78.3% completion level and is expected to reach 82.0% before the upcoming rainy season. He further stated that the country is very keen to complete the project by 2023.
  • According to observers in Ethiopia, general elections is expected to hold in June 2021 after a protracted period of postponement due to Covid19.

Southern Africa


  • Following weeks of protest from conservative activists against anticipated government legislature, the Angolan government has passed legislation allowing oil & gas and mining licenses in 14 national conservation areas. Angola, the second-largest oil producer in Africa, has been lauded in the past for its biodiversity.
  • In the last week on the visit to areas along the Lobito Corridor, the acting Dutch ambassador to Angola stated that the Netherlands plans to import avocados and lemons from Angola and export to the other European countries.




  • According to Stats SA, Headline Inflation quickened marginally to 3.2% in Jan-2021 from 3.1% in Dec-2020. Consumer Inflation accelerated in January amid higher food prices and service costs.
  • Data from Stats SA also revealed that retail sales contracted by -6.9% in 2020. Notably, this is the worst y/y decline on record and the first decline since the global financial crisis, which saw sales contract by -3.2%.
  • However, employment numbers bounced-back in Q4-2020 with 2.1million people getting jobs after the 2.8million job losses recorded in July, according to a Nids-Cram survey.



  • Zambia's Monetary Policy Committee hiked the benchmark interest rate by 50bps to 8.5% from 8.0% in the face of increasing inflationary pressures.
  • The Bank of Zambia Governor (BOZ), Christopher Mvunga, said that the Central Bank would continue to purchase more gold deposits to boost its reserves.
  • The Governor also reported that Zambia had scaled down, deferred, and scrapped several projects to minimize the country's debt exposure in the light of debt relief negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.


  • Zimbabwe's Monetary Policy Committee hiked the benchmark policy rate to 40.0%, to reduce excess liquidity and control FX market speculation.
  • The Central Bank reiterated its aim of keeping inflation below 10% in 2021 and its GDP growth forecast of 7.4% for the year.
  • Zimbabwe received the 200,000 doses of the SinoPharm vaccine from China as promised. The country also commenced its citizens' inoculation this week and it expects a further 600,000 doses of the SinoPharm vaccine in March.

Central Africa (CEMAC & Congo DRC)


  • Rating agency Fitch has affirmed Gabon as a CCC rating. In a report published earlier in the week, Fitch states that the country faces challenges securing sufficient funding to meet its needs in the medium term.
  • The report also states that the prolonged absence of a new IMF programme and the shallow nature of the regional bond market would increase risks to Gabon's ability to service its debt in a timely manner.
  • Gabon and the EU have agreed on a new protocol which allows boats from the EU to access Gabonese waters. The deal comes as the Gabonese government has looked to open its fisheries industry to more competition and boost value-addition.



  • Atlantic Cement will launch a 1 million Mta cement plant in the deep seaport's industrial zone of Kribi. The move will deepen competition in Cameroon cement industry, where other foreign players, namely Dangote Cement (1.5mta) and Cimencam (the local subsidiary of Lafarge-Holcim (2.2mta), control more extensive portions of market share.
  • According to Hootsuite and We are Social, two companies monitoring internet usage in Cameroon, Cameroonian internet penetration grew to 9.2mn users in 2021 from 7.8mn in 2020. This represents 34% penetration in 2020, a considerable improvement considering internet penetration was only at 2% a decade.


Congo DRC

  • Following reports of an outbreak of Ebola in the DRC in the past week, the United Nations allocated $15mn in funding to the DRC, Guinea, to combat the disease.
  • After weeks of a reported struggle between former president Joseph Kabila and Current President Felix Tshisekedi, the president has appointed the head of state mining company, Gecamines, Sama Lukonde Kyenge, as Prime Minister. He replaced former PM Ilunga, who suffered a vote of no-confidence in parliament last month.
  • DRC's central bank held its benchmark rate at 18.5%, the highest level in more than two years. However, the apex bank guided that policy rate may be eased in coming months, following a projected drop in inflation to 5.5%.
  • Inflation rose to 15.7% in the earlier months of the pandemic in 2020, following a decline in reserves after commodities prices tanked.


Looking Forward

  • Feb 2021 Nigeria FX Reserves-26 Feb
  • Feb-2021 Manufacturing PMI -26 Feb


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