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Egypt opens door to Middle East’s Careem to Test Bus Service

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Careem Networks FZ, the Middle Eastern ride-hailing provider, is testing a bus-booking service ahead of a possible roll-out out across all 14 countries it operates in.

Careem Bus -a division aimed at attracting low-income earners — will initially go live in at least four Egyptian cities, and is expected to be rolled out in September, according to people familiar with the business who asked to remain anonymous since plans aren’t public yet. A Careem spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The people did not disclose how much the Dubai-based company is investing in this project, but indicated that significant capital has been allocated for it.

Read Also: Village Enterprise raises $3.5m to invest into entrepreneurs in Kenya & Uganda

Competition with Uber Technologies Inc. is pushing Careem to look at expanding into other services including food and package delivery. Uber has held preliminary talks to merge with its local competitor, people familiar with the matter previously told Bloomberg.

Careem has also been speaking with investors to raise $500 million, and has held early talks with banks about a potential IPO in January.

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Nigeria’s intra-Africa trade increased by 40.8% to N1.84 trillion

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Nigeria’s trade with the rest of Africa increased from N1.306 trillion in 2022 to N1.839 trillion in the first half of 2023.

The increase represents a 40.8 percent Year-on-Year (YoY) in the first half of 2023, a reversal in the declining trend of the nation’s intra-African trade over the same period since 2020, in terms of value.

According ro the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Nigeria’s intra-African trade in H1’21 amounted to N1.47 trillion out of total foreign trade of N21.79 trillion; and N1.67 trillion in H1’20 out of N14.55 trillion total foreign trade recorded within the period.

The NBS data on Nigeria’s external trade with the rest of Africa also indicates that the intra-Africa trade is gaining more ground against total foreign trade recorded by the country in the past three years.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports that Nigeria’s intra-African trade totalled N1.47 trillion in H1’21 and N1.67 trillion in H1’20 out of the total international trade recorded during those period, which was N14.55 trillion.

The NBS statistics on Nigeria’s external trade data with the rest of Africa also shows that intra-African trade is growing faster than overall international trade recorded by the nation during the previous three years.

The N1.839 trillion recorded in H1’23 represents 7.42 percent of the total foreign trade of N24.789 trillion recorded in the period.

Comparatively, the N1.306 trillion recorded in H1’22 represented 5.05 percent of the N25.843 trillion total foreign trade during that time; the N1.47 trillion recorded in H1’21 represented 6.75 percent of the N21.79 trillion total foreign trade during that time; and the N1.67 trillion recorded in H1’20 represented 11.48 percent of the N14.55 trillion total foreign trade during that time.

About 7.42% of the N24.789 trillion in total foreign trade that was registered throughout the period, or N1.839 trillion, was transacted during H1’23.

Africa’s GDP and its internal trade expanded fourfold over the past two decades, according to the report, which suggests that that intra-African trade is more resilient than exchanges with other regions of the world,

Africa’s trade and regional integration face several obstacles. Transportation and communication infrastructure for intra-African trade is less developed than those that connect Africa to the rest of the world.

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Somalia to secure debt relief by December— IMF

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Multilateral lender, International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revealed that Somalia is on the verge of securing full debt relief from it and and other creditors.

IMF said the relief would be granted by December following recent reforms to boost domestic revenue collection and transparency in management of public finances.

Despite the difficulty, Somalia has nearly all the requirements satisfied to be eligible for the entire debt relief, and lenders have already agreed to forgive up to 76.8% of Somalia’s total debt, but more work needs to be done, according to Laura Jaramillo, who led the IMF staff.

The lender stated that despite several challenges, Somalia has made great progress in implementing suggested changes meant to revive the economy following the most recent assessment of the country’s performance under the Extended Credit Facility agreement.

“The reforms, which are supposed to ensure good use of public resources to maximally benefit the Somali citizens, and to boost economic growth, which in turn is expected to enable the creation of more job opportunities, are already bearing fruits,” the lender said.

The level of indebtedness in African countries is at its highest in more than a decade, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and skyrocketing inflation. African nations were forced to incur even more debt, and as a result, 21 low-income African nations are currently either insolvent or at great risk of experiencing debt hardship.

Apart from Somalia, some other African countries have so far formally defaulted on their national debt. Zambia, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Chad, among others, successfully applied for a debt restructuring plan under the G20 framework.

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