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Euromoney Africa

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  • By under-investing the vast funds raised at big expense to their end clients and then delivering shrinking returns, private equity sponsors are prompting customers to demand new approaches.
  • On the cover | Editor's letter | Also in this issue
  • Absa’s efforts to establish wholesale-banking partnerships outside Africa, possibly with Barclays or Société Générale, underlines the importance of international links to African finance.
  • Slower growth is translating into lower government spending on infrastructure. With an estimated funding deficit of $40 billion a year, private-sector solutions from Africa’s home-grown pension fund industry as well as international insurance firms could help plug the gap.
  • Cipla Quality Chemicals’ share sale is good news for Uganda’s capital markets, but is still something of a rarity. Investors have little choice when it comes to picking stocks: government borrowing remains high and puts the focus on bonds, while family-owned businesses tend to be wary of opening up to outside investment.
  • With global liquidity conditions tightening, local currency bond markets have a more important role to play in financing African governments and companies. While Ghana and Nigeria are leading the way, other markets are still in the early stages. Poor transparency and liquidity, and a multiplicity of legal regimes are holding back foreign investment.
  • As the central bank awards its first new banking licences in 20 years, the big four will find it harder to justify the fees that have underpinned their profitability. The newcomers promise technology will facilitate cheaper banking services and tackle inequality.
  • Senior management at Société Générale sees a unique opportunity for growth in Africa, including east Africa, Nigeria and the lusophone countries. The aim is to be much more than the only French bank left standing on the continent. Instead, the bank is courting regional clients by building local markets and structured finance platforms, while its investment in mobile money could be the seed of a much bigger African consumer business.
  • Egypt’s private-sector banks have traditionally been wary of lending to SMEs, but now a combination of new technology and central bank pressure is driving some of the country’s most sophisticated lenders to take a fresh look at the segment.
  • The west African state has reclaimed its status as the most attractive francophone market south of the Sahara. International banks are rushing to do business there.
  • Following in the footsteps of Egypt and South Africa, Nigeria has signed up for a currency swap deal with China, but are swaps all they are cracked up to be?
  • Even though the banking sector remains off-limits, foreign investment in other state-owned enterprises will support infrastructure development.
  • Sub-Sahara bounces back in ECR in step with LatAm, while debt, political instability and global protectionism constrain rises elsewhere.
  • On the cover | Editor's letter | Also in this issue
  • It is almost 50 years since Euromoney was born with the wholesale international capital markets, to chronicle their evolution and that of the institutions that serve them. Today, the growth of banking and finance is now arguably at its most exciting, most important – and least exposed – in Africa.
  • State Bank of Mauritius aims to start a pan-African bank from scratch, as its home country turns its economy towards the continent. Little has been achieved to date, but SBM’s chairman is focused and confident.
  • It’s goodbye cash, hello mobile wallets and digital payments, as Egypt uses financial technology to streamline payroll, keep money in the financial system and improve tax collection.
  • In a sweeping interview with Euromoney Africa, Ecobank’s CEO makes the case for pan-African banking and says technological innovation will finally make that business model thrive.
  • As Denny Kalyalya’s first term as Zambia’s central bank governor draws to a close, he reflects on the need for IMF support, the currency and debt crisis that engulfed the country two years ago and his efforts to deliver a recovery for the long term.
  • Following Mozambique's default, is it time to reassess which other African Eurobond issuers might follow suit – and what options are open to issuers – given deteriorating finances and rising global interest rates?
  • Rwanda is one of the most competitive economies in Africa, thanks to reforms and an open-door approach to foreign investment. Its banking landscape has been transformed and bankers are keen to turn Kigali into a financial centre serving the region, though they admit it has a long way to go.
  • After a characteristically bold attempt last year to acquire Barclays Africa, a firm which he was instrumental in developing, Bob Diamond is even more determined to build his own pan-African bank at Atlas Mara. The London-listed African banking platform he co-founded four years ago has had its setbacks, but thanks to new funding and a bigger stake in its flagship Nigerian investment, another former Barclays asset, Diamond sees plenty of opportunities ahead.
  • Barclays’ exit from the continent shows how banks based in developed countries are either unable or unwilling to support growth in emerging markets. But for institutions with a focus on Africa, the departure of such international rivals makes banking in the region look even more attractive.
  • Barclays’ ownership has hobbled some of its biggest businesses in Africa. Now Maria Ramos, chief executive of the Johannesburg-listed successor company that makes up the bulk of Barclays Africa, tells Euromoney Africa about the challenges she faces in extricating Absa and the rest of the network from the London-based group.
  • Currency devaluations and swings in commodity prices have taken their toll on many a private equity investment in Africa in recent years, particularly for those who invested at the height of the Africa bull market between 2005 and 2013. These days, sponsors are picking their targets carefully, with a focus on domestic consumers and non-commodity exporters.
  • African economists and bankers expect more advantageous trade terms, possibly with both the UK and the European Union, after last year’s shock decision to leave.
  • Investors have welcomed Nigeria’s new FX regime that was merged with the interbank rate in August, but doubts remain, as the market still grapples with multiple official rates.