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Kenyan officials are on a round of investment meetings in London to discuss the country’s debut eurobond, pegged at $2bn, says the central bank. But market volatility is proving a nuisance and Kenya could be forced to delay the much-anticipated bond.

On Tuesday, analysts at Fitch Ratings said in a teleconference in London that the issue was unlikely to take place before April. Those remarks contrast with those of Kenyan officials, who reportedly said on Monday they were going ahead with plans to issue this month. So, is it going to happen? Continue reading »

It would be exaggerated to call Davos the “money Oscars”, as Jon Stewart did on the Daily Show. But this year, WEF participants did like to think of countries as winners or losers, especially among emerging markets. In this last roundup, beyondbrics summarises who, to paraphrase the FT, “was hot – and who decidedly not.” Continue reading »

Lagarde with Henry Rotich, Kenyan finance minister

IMF boss Christine Lagarde concludes a trip to Africa trip on Friday, continuing her tradition of starting the new year visiting one of the world’s fastest growing continents. For 2014, she chose Kenya and Mali, two very different economies on either side of Africa. Continue reading »

Kenya is already the world’s ninth largest geothermal power producer. It plans to do better by following an ambitious geothermal development plan. The east African state’s installed geothermal capacity is set to more than double by the end of the year after 280MW capacity is added to its existing Olkaria plant. Kenya’s government wants to keep the momentum going. State-owned Geothermal Development Company has kicked off the new year with a tender for another 300MW of geothermal capacity at Suswa, about 55 kilometres from Nairobi. Continue reading »

Tapping bond markets is something of a trend for many African countries in the past year, including Gabon this month with a $1.5bn 10-year eurobond priced to yield 6.375 per cent.

But selling long-term debt is proving a hard game in east Africa, despite the presumable attractions of political stability and a favourable business environment. Interest costs for government securities are high, with long-term instruments maintaining yields of about 10 per cent or more, creating a growing concern for central banks. Continue reading »

By Kevin Daly of Aberdeen Asset Management

Kenya’s path from uhuru – the word given to independence from the Swahili for freedom – 50 years ago to the day hasn’t been easy but the future augurs well if it can deliver on its promise.

More immediately, Kenya will face political and security challenges amid reverberations from last year’s election and the Westgate Mall tragedy. Looking ahead, however, Kenya is well placed to benefit from the unfolding hydrocarbons story in east Africa, where it enjoys the status as the commercial and infrastructure hub of the region. Kenyan officials will no doubt be spreading the good word, while also deflecting the recent headline risk, as it looks to tap into the growing demand for frontier market bonds with the launch of its debut eurobond in early 2014. Continue reading »

By Charles Okeahalam of AGH Capital

Tom Hank’s portrayal of Captain Richard Phillips’ encounter with the pirate Abduwali Muse aboard the MV Maersk Alabama has focused public attention on an issue threatening an industry that, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), handles more than 90 per cent of global trade. Continue reading »

The next wave of policy makers?

From Rwanda to Liberia, a new wave of young policy makers are taking up key government posts across Africa. With youth comes a fresh perspective on Africa’s development priorities, an impatience with red tape, and a stronger commitment to economic reform. But will a lack of experience prove problematic?
 Continue reading »

The first time the bidding reached one million up went a cheer. Some delivered bids by phone; others waved their paddles or just a pair of specs; others still jiggled their legs as they decided whether to break upper limits decided in cooler moments. After all, the champagne was flowing, the warm room turned febrile and bidding resembled competitive volleys.

By the time the auctioneer put his gavel down on all 47 works, it was clear that east Africa’s first art auction – held in Nairobi this week – was a huge hit, exploding into impromptu applause and whoops in stark contrast to usually poorly attended and rarefied western counterparts. Continue reading »

There is plenty of investment appetite for African stocks among institutional investors, and the continent’s financial markets are taking notice.

Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Angola have all recently pushed ahead with plans to deepen and improve their financial markets. But there is still a long way to go. Continue reading »

As incomes rise in Africa, the battle is on to snap up the millions of ‘unbanked’ – those without a bank account. The potential is vast: the African Development Bank says only 20 per cent of African families have bank accounts.

As well as innovative new players, the old global payment technology rivals Visa and MasterCard are keen to join in. Both are looking to enlarge their footprint in different corners of the continent. Continue reading »

Lower-than-hoped growth rates in the second quarter of the year is the last thing Kenya needs following last week’s terror attack.

The national statistics bureau said on Tuesday that Kenya grew at 4.3 per cent in the second three months of the year, lower than the first quarter’s 5.2 per cent and well below IMF earlier predictions of at least 5.5 per cent for the year overall. Continue reading »

What’s the difference between Kenya and Nigeria? About two centuries, according to a new study by Stephen Broadberry and Leigh Gardner, two professors at the London School of Economics.

The pair have totted up the levels of GDP per capita of the countries of Africa, and compared them with historic rates of GDP per person in pre-industrial Europe. Citizens of Sierra Leone are about as rich as early medieval Englishmen, and modern-day Kenyans are just as rich as Elizabethans. Continue reading »

William Ruto in the ICC courtroom

It’s clear that the four-day Westgate terror crisis has left Kenya’s leadership with huge security issues to contend with, but there’s another looming problem: the country’s two highest ranking politicians have dates somewhere else. Specifically, The Hague.

As Kenya enters crisis-response mode, the fact that its prime minister and his deputy are both indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity looks more problematic than ever. The country can ill afford an absent leadership. Here are the five key questions.

 Continue reading »

By Clare Allenson of Eurasia Group

The attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall is a consequence of Kenya’s military presence in Somalia. As such, the attack does not represent an unexpected or unprecedented shock to the local economy, but highlights the very real security risks the country has faced, especially since entering Somali territory in 2011.

The attack’s most material implications are twofold. Continue reading »