South African government gets US$1b Covid-19 emergency program loan from New Development Bank

SOUTH AFRICA – The New Development Bank (NDB) has approved a US$1 billion Covid-19 Emergency Program Loan to the Government of the Republic of South Africa for supporting the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The loan will support the Government of South Africa in its efforts to contain the economic fallout of the pandemic and start economic recovery. The loan will be used to finance creation of employment opportunities in South Africa, in particular the first phase of the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES) aimed to create and support…

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Medical underwriter AAR Insurance to shut its Tanzania unit

TANZANIA – Medical underwriter AAR Insurance has commenced the process of winding-up of its Tanzania business citing financial difficulties. The move comes just after the Kenyan business recorded a 55 per cent drop in performance for the year ended December 2020, attributed to high claims due to Covid-19 pandemic. In a memo to staff, AAR Health Care Limited Acting CEO Andrew Rowell said the firm has been facing financial difficulties “for some time” now worsened by the failure of the medical insurance model in Tanzania, the Covid-19 pandemic, and a…

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Tony Elumelu Foundation and UBA to support innovative ideas in rural Kenya

KENYA – United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Tony Elumelu Foundation have partnered to fund innovative business ideas from rural areas in Kenya as part of its Covid-19 recovery plan for the year 2021. The two bodies are seeking applications from Kenyans who have “brilliant, scalable ideas”. The applications, which opened in January 2021 and closes end of March 2021, comes at a time that most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are reeling from the economic fallout of Covid-19. In 2019, TEF said that about 70 percent of applications come…

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Stanchart backs Devki Steel Mills with US$3m funding as part of its Covid-19 financing initiative

KENYA – Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, a subsidiary of the British multinational financial conglomerate Standard Chartered headquartered in London, has allocated US$3 million funding to Devki Group which is the bank’s Covid-19 financing initiative to support companies and communities during Covid-19 recovery. Devki utilized part of the financing to supply oxygen cylinders to hospitals across the country which are serving individuals affected by the Covid-19. Devki Group Chairman Narendra Raval, said, ‘’This financing enabled us to fund a noble cause by supplying free oxygen cylinders to both public and private hospitals…

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Kenya Airways sinks into worst ever loss of US$329.5m

KENYA – National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) has reported a net loss of US$329.5 million for 2020, the worst ever in the history of the airline, on account of Covid-19 disruptions that led to a sharp decline in passenger numbers. The loss, for the financial year ended December 2020, is almost triple more the US$118.2 million net loss it had posted a year earlier, and now deals a major blow to the recovery efforts of the national carrier. KQ chairman Michael Joseph says the outlook still looks bleak and the…

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Ethiopian Airlines and African Union partner to implement trusted Travel Pass Test

ETHIOPIA – Ethiopian Airlines has announced partnership with the African Centres for Disease Control & Prevention (Africa CDC) for the implementation of the African Union Trusted Travel Pass to make continental travel easier and safer amidst the Covid -19 pandemic. The Trusted Travel pass program will ensure country regulations regarding Covid-19 travel requirements are met with minimal room for error and hassle to the travelling public. The Ethiopian Airlines‘ customers will now enjoy a hassle-free travel experience with their travel pass helping them verify whether their medical information meets various Covid-19…

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Equity Group signs US$100m credit facility with European lenders to support MSMEs

KENYA – Equity Group Holdings has signed a US$100 million loan facility to support Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) during the three years the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to adversely affect the business operating environment as a result of the adoption of Covid-19 coping and containments measures.   The Kenyan lender has signed the facility with leading European development banks namely, Team Europe, Germany’s DEG, the Netherlands FMO and the UK’s CDC Group. To cushion businesses from Covid-19 crisis, Equity launched an offensive and defensive approach to support customers to…

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E-hailing firm Swvl resumes operations in Nairobi after Covid-19 disruptions

KENYA – Swvl, Egyptian ride-hailing firm, has resumed commuter services in Nairobi which had been disrupted by stay-at-home measures taken to contain the spread of Covid-19 last year. The tech firm scaled down operations at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya in March last year following a decrease in commuter numbers. The firm’s popular city routes included Ruiru to the CBD/Upper Hill, Karen to CBD/Westlands via Upper Hill, Ongata Rongai to Westlands/CBD via Upper Hill, Ruiru to Westlands, Ndenderu to CBD/ Upper Hill, and Kikuyu to CBD/ Upper…

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Courtyard Hotel Rosebank Johannesburg reopens after refurbishment

SOUTH AFRICA – Courtyard Hotel Rosebank in Johannesburg has refurbished its rooms and reopened to accommodate its first group of guests since its temporary suspension of services at the start of Covid-19 lockdown. With fresh furniture, furnishings and air-conditioning units, the hotel is keen to welcome back guests. The 83-room Courtyard Hotel Rosebank is located in a trendy business and leisure neighbourhood of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, directly opposite the Gautrain Rosebank Station. The hotel guests have easy access to a string of interleading malls and outdoor spaces consisting of The…

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Mauritius gets US$289m loan from JICA for Covid-19 fight

MAURITIUS – The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has extended an Official Development Assistance loan of up to US$289 million to support Mauritius’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic and rebuild its economy. The loan, signed on 24 February, is a parallel co-financing agreement between JICA and the African Development Bank under the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA) joint initiative to spur private sector-led sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa. The co-financing arrangement will help the Mauritius government contain the pandemic, secure livelihoods, and boost the resilience of the…

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