Kenya’s horticulture sector gets US$6m boost from EU

KENYA – The European Union (EU) has granted Kenya €5 million (US$6 million) to support Kenya’s horticultural sector achieve sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) as required by the export markets. Under a four-year plan dubbed New Export Trade (NExT), EU aims at increasing the contribution of the horticultural sector to household income.  Deputy Head of Delegation, EU to Kenya, Katrin Hagemann, said this will be achieved through the generation of employment opportunities and foreign currency. She said to improve food security safety and nutrition there is need to increase the…

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French government to double Air France-KLM stake as part of a recapitalization

WORLD – European Commission regulators have approved a €4 billion (US$4.7 billion) recapitalisation of Air France that could see the French government more than double its shareholding in Air France-KLM.  The French government’s stake in the group will increase from 14.3% to a maximum of 30% as part of the arrangement, Air France-KLM said. The too Dutch government has confirmed that its holding will be diluted to 9.3% from 14%. Dutch flag-carrier KLM supports the recapitalisation measure, the group stated but will not benefit from the €4 billion aid, according to the…

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Equity Group and FMO sign US$50m loan guaranty facility to support entrepreneurs

KENYA – Equity Bank has entered into a partnership with the Netherlands development bank FMO with the signing of a NASIRA loan portfolio guarantee facility to support Kenyan entrepreneurs. The US$50 million facility is the second NASIRA guarantee signed with Equity with the support of European Union funding. With the funding, Equity Bank Kenya will further support Kenyan entrepreneurs during these challenging times with a special focus on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), it said in a press statement. The FMO funding will provide a NASIRA loan portfolio guarantee…

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Equity Bank receives US$150.4m loan facility from EIB to support SMEs

KENYA – Equity Group Holdings has signed a US$150.4 million loan facility with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Union (EU) to support small businesses in Kenya. The loan facility is in Kenya Shillings to match the operating currency of SME businesses and eliminate the risk of foreign exchange. The US$23.7 million grant on the other hand allows capacity building on the borrowing clients to de-risk lowering the risk of default and hence allowing affordability by adoption of low-risk priced interest rates. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Equity…

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Orange S.A. and GIZ partner to launch a digital centre in Ethiopia, 3rd in MEA region

ETHIOPIA – GIZ, a German development agency, Orange, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Innovation and Technology  have partnered to launch the Addis Ababa Orange Digital Centre, an ecosystem that is entirely dedicated to digital skills and innovation. After launches in Tunisia and Senegal, Ethiopia will be home to the third Orange Digital Centre in Africa and the Middle East. Occupying a space of 500m2, it is the first centre in East Africa that will operate as a strategic network, allowing experiences and expertise to be shared between countries and offering a simple…

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Kenya grants British products 25-year free entry in trade pact

KENYA – British companies will get 25-year tax free period to ship goods to Kenya under the trade agreement signed by the two countries. The post-Brexit trade deal with the United Kingdom will, however, open the window for British companies to flood the Kenyan market with finished and unfinished goods that exclude agricultural and industrial products at the expiry of a seven-year moratorium. The details of the trade agreement were revealed by Kenya’s Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development as it asked Parliament to ratify the Economic Partnership Agreement…

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EU injects US$46.3m to boost agribusiness in Kenya

KENYA – Agribusiness in Kisii and Uasin Gishu counties in Kenya has received a much-needed shot-in-the-arm with a US$46.3 million funding from the European Union. The two regional county governments and Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at accelerating the engagement of women and youth in agribusiness activities through the AgriBIz programme which is funded by the European Union and Danida at a cost of US$46.3 million. The Memorandum of Understanding will facilitate the collaboration and cooperation between the two entities in advancing…

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Zambia secures US$27.9m grant from EU to boost electricity access

ZAMBIA – The government of Zambia has received US$27.9 million grant from the European Union towards the US$75.9 million Increased Access to Electricity and Renewable Energy Production (IAEREP) project under the Rural Electrification Authority (REA). Zambian Secretary to the Treasurer Fredson Yamba signed on behalf of the Zambia government while the ambassador of the European Union delegation to Zambia and COMESA, Jacek Jankwoski signed on behalf of the EU during the virtual grant signing and launch of the project held in Lusaka today. Energy Minister Mathew Nkhuwa, while speaking at…

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Equity Bank receives US$50m from FMO for SME lending

KENYA – Equity Bank Kenya has secured US$50 million from the Dutch Development Bank (FMO) for onward lending to small and medium-sized firms hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Announcing the long-term funding, whose interest rate was not disclosed, FMO said the facility would uplift Equity Bank’s lending to the perceived risky small enterprises, who have been hard hit by the economic effects of the pandemic thus lowering their ability to save and tap loans. “We are very happy to be able to support Equity Bank Kenya in weathering the Covid-19…

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Pfizer, BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine shows 90% efficacy

WORLD – American multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer Inc has said its experimental vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 based on initial data from a large study, a major victory in the fight against a pandemic that has killed over 1 million people, roiled the world’s economy and upended daily life. Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE are the first drug makers to show successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine. The companies said they have so far found no serious safety concerns…

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