Snapshot on African Economy as @190321


Friday, March 19, 2021 / 08:20 PM / United Capital Research / Header Image Credit: IMF


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Anglophone West Africa



  • Ghana has announced it will no longer export cocoa to Switzerland, as it aims to crack down on the exports of raw materials.
  • The move aligns with Ghana's developmental policy to process its raw materials locally to extract the potential value-add. Ghana is the world's second-largest exporter of cocoa after the Ivory Coast.
  • Last year, both Ghana and Ivory Coast halted the sale of cocoa to United States manufacturers accusing the U.S. confectionary giants of avoiding paying a bonus that will help improve the economic fortunes of poor farmers.
  • In the past week, the Bank of Ghana released new minimum capital requirements for development financial institutions operating in Ghana.
  • In an address to parliament in the past week, Ghana's president, Mr Nana Akufo-Addo, confirmed that the country would spend at least $2.0bn on ongoing and approved railway projects, as spelt out in Ghana's medium-term expenditure framework for 2020-2023.


Lastly, Ghana sold a 3-year bond worth GHC1.6mn to investors at 17.7% in the past week.



  • The African Development Bank (AFDB) has approved a $2.0mn to help launch to domestic debt markets and financial systems in four West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) countries: the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) handed over medical supplies to the Ministry of Health of The Gambia at Central Medical Stores, Banjul, on the 16th March 2021.


Following the arrival of Covax vaccines, Gambia has begun vaccinations all of its citizens above the age of 41.



  • Earlier in the week, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released the inflation report for Feb-2021. Notably, Nigerian headline inflation rate rose from 16.5% y/y in Jan-2021 to 17.3% y/y.
  • Also, in the past week, data from the NBS showed that the employment rate in Nigeria rose to 33.3% in the three months through December. Unemployment rose from 27.1% in Q2-2020.
  • The Central Bank of Nigeria has introduced new charges for customers using the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data services (USSD). Customers will be charged a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction every time they use USSD services.
  • The CBN also held a PMA on Wednesday, where it sold a total of N61.9bn in maturing T-bills across three maturities. The stop rate for the 364-day closed higher by 50bps at 7.00%, while the rates on the 91- and 182-days remained unchanged at 2.00% and 3.50%.
  • Guaranty Trust Bank released its FY-2020 results yesterday (18/03/2020). The banks's gross earnings were up 4.7% y/y to N455.2mn. PAT grew by 2.3% to N201.4mn in the period under review.


Francophone West Africa (WAEMU)


Ivory Coast

in partnership with Canal+ Bouquets, Orange has announced new fibre-optic offers for both individuals and businesses. These different offers include a very high-speed internet connection, access to Orange TV with video on demand, access to Canal + Bouquets, as well as a mobile plan in addition to the already existing fixed subscription.



According to the National Agency for statistics and population, month-on-month inflation in Senegal rose by 1.7% for February 2021.


East Africa



  • Yesterday, Tanzania announced the death of its president, John Magufuli. The announcement came after weeks of denials about the state of his health.
  • At this stage, the analyst consensus is that Tanzania's constitution will be respected.
  • Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan will complete his five-year term, assuring regime continuity.


The government of Tanzania secured a total of Sh570.6 billion in loans from the World Bank for the construction of phases 3 and 4 of the bus rapid transit


  • Rwanda foreign reserves declined 4.3% m-o-m in February but remained higher in annual terms.
  • Over 250,000 people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Rwanda, no health problems have been recorded so far



  • The National Animal Genetic Resources Center and Databank (NAGRC&DB) has finalised plans to introduce highly efficient and productive dairy goats for adoption by the livestock-rearing communities to avail milk rich in nutrients required to boost the human immune system.
  • The Ugandan government and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have signed a $229.5m financing facility for the Kampala-Jinja Expressway.


Opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, more popularly known as Bobi Wine, was arrested while protesting the arrest and abduction of hundreds of his supporters in Uganda. He was later released, but his house remains under police surveillance.

Southern Africa


South Africa

  • Retail sales for the month of January slumped 3.5% y/y and 1.6% m/m as restrictive measures announced in late December impacted retailers. This follows a 0.8% m/m decline in December.
  • Speaking to specific sectors, retailers in the Food, Beverage and Tobacco industry in specialised stores saw sales slump 33.6% y/y.
  • ABSA bank reported a 58.0% y/y decline in net income and consequently decided to hold off on dividend payments.


The FNB/BER Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) increased further by 3 points to -9 in Q1-2021. The CCI is back to its pre-pandemic levels but remains well below its historical average. The low level of confidence among the high-income group remains a considerable concern.



  • In Zimbabwe, the ruling party continues to attract members of the opposition in another round of cross-carpeting.
  • According to reports from Bloomberg, Zimbabwe has invited bids to set up a diamond-processing joint venture to increase the value of precious stones exported by the country.



  • Higher food prices in Angola pushed headline inflation higher to 26.39% y/y in Feb-2021. The central bank has been forced to keep monetary policy tight amidst high domestic inflation and severe currency weakness. The tight monetary policy remains a concern for the five-year-long recession the country continues to battle.
  • According to the Ministry of Minerals & Petroleum, Anglo-American established two business units in the country to prospect for copper, cobalt, nickel and silver.



  • Mozambique's central bank kept its permanent lending facility rate (at 16.25%) and other monetary parameters unchanged.
  • Furthermore, the bank justified its decision on the prevalence of high risks and uncertainties, despite the downward revision in the inflation forecasts for the short and medium-term.



  • According to its Finance Ministry statement, Zambia will skip a $20.2m coupon payment due March 20 for $750.0m Eurobond maturing in 2022.
  • This will mark the 3rd time Zambia will be defaulting on its Eurobond liability since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Zambia's Finance Ministry revealed the country's public external debt stood at $12.7bn at the end of 2020. The Ministry stated its commitment to take the necessary steps to reach debt sustainability


Central Africa (CEMAC & Congo DRC)



  • Cameroon's Minister of Finance, Louis Paul Motazé, announced the extension of tax payment deadlines for the 2020 fiscal year in an attempt to assist taxpayers in the face of the pandemic.
  • Despite attempts at payroll consolidation, the Cameroonian government revealed that the salary bill paid to civil servants using the state budget has increased by 5.6% annually on average.
  • Official documents showed that the number of civil servants in


Cameroon nearly doubled between 2011 and the end of June 2020,

rising from 197,471 to 340,957. Over the ten years, the country's staff costs increased from XAF681.4bn to more than XAF1,000.0bn.

  • The Bank of Central African States (BEAC) is nearing completion on a project to issue new banknotes and coins in the CEMAC region. The Ministerial Committee of the Central African Monetary Union (UMAC) gave its approval to this issuance on October 2, 2019.



  • Gabon received the first shipment of Sinopharm vaccines donated from China in Libreville, the Gabonese capital, on Friday, exactly one year after the virus found its way into the Central African country.
  • According to the Gabonese Federation of Insurance Companies (Fegasa), insurance turnover rose by 2.6% y/y to XAF104.1bn against XAF101.4bn in 2019. The "Property & Casualty" segment accounted for 78.6% of turnover, while Life insurance represented 21.4%.
  • The performance is despite the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which points to the resilience of the Gabonese insurance market.
  • Maurel & Prom, a subsidiary of the Indonesian behemoth Pertamina which generates most of its business in Gabon and Tanzania, reported 2020 fiscal year earnings with a turnover of $330mn, a -35% decline compared to 2019.


Congo DRC

  • Congo DRC has launched a public bond offering maturing in 5 years, aiming to raise XAF100.0bn. The security will be listed on the Central African Market Exchange.
  • The country selected Emrald Securities Services (ESS) as chief of operations and the Commercial Bank of Cameroon as assistant chief manager.
  • DRC postponed the rollout of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines due to concerns over reports of blood clotting raised last week in Europe.
  • Jean-Louis Kayembe, the Director-General of Monetary Policy and Banking Activities at the Central Bank of Congo (BCC), announced plans to lift the monetary base to 30.4% in the strict sense and the money supply to 33.8% in the broad sense during the 2021 fiscal year.
  • In Congo, 4 of the 11 cases confirmed in this new Ebola outbreak have passed away. 1,083 people have been vaccinated against Ebola since this recent outbreak started.

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