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Nigeria’s Access Bank to acquire majority stake in Kenya’s Sidian Bank in a $36.8 million deal

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Two years after it entered the Kenyan market, Nigeria’s top lender, Access Bank, acquired a majority stake in Sidian Bank from Centum Investments for Ksh4.3 billion ($36.8 million).

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals in Kenya and Nigeria, will be the second acquisition in Kenya for Access Bank, which acquired Transnational Bank, now called Access Bank Kenya, in 2020.

According to the Group Chief Executive, Access Corporation,  Mr. Herbert Wigwe,  “The growth transaction being implemented in Kenya represents the relentless focus and execution of our strategic objectives within our banking subsidiary even as we grow the other businesses within Access Corporation’s core segments.

Wigwe further revealed that the acquisition of Sidian Bank is a significant step-up in scale and potential for Access Bank in Kenya which represents the largest market and trade corridor in East Africa.

“The significant increase in scale and customer base presents us with enormous opportunities to support growth in the various ecosystems we are building in our trade and payment business. The economies of scale that derive therefrom will continue to drive and enhance contributions to all stakeholders”. Wigwe concludes.

Sidian, which started as a non-governmental organization before converting to a micro-financier in 1989 and later to a bank in 1999, mainly lends to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

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World Bank predicts Mozambique economy growing at 5.7% on average

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The World Bank has predicted that the economic growth in Mozambique is expected to accelerate in the medium term averaging 5.7% between 2022 and 2024, as a result of demand recovery and economy benefits from the start of liquefied natural gas production this year.

In a report released Thursday, the World Bank said the start of LNG production at the offshore Coral Project and the expected resumption of other LNG projects would help spur the southeast African nation’s growth in the intervening year.

The World Bank said a three-year extended credit facility arrangement agreed by Mozambique with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and budget support from other partners would further help to strengthen its economic recovery.

The IMF’s executive board had, in May, approved a $456 million program for the country, the first since the global lender suspended support to Mozambique six years ago.

However, the World Bank warned that risks remained for Mozambique’s growth, especially from rising import prices due to the conflict in Ukraine, a possible surge in COVID infection waves, and insurgency in the north.

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Nigeria, Algeria, Niger to revive Saharan gas pipeline talks

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The governments of Nigeria, Algeria and Niger Republic have held talks to revive a gas pipeline project across the Sahara which had been put on hold for over 40 years, with the potential opportunity for Europe to diversify its gas sources as the world faces a short fall as a result of the Russian-Ukraine war.

The three countries, represented by their various Petroleum Ministers, met in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Wednesday and resolved to set up a task force to revive the project and designated an entity to update the feasibility study.

A statement by Niger’s Oil Ministry after the two-day meeting stated that the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline project estimated at $13 billion, could send up to 30 billion cubic metres a year of supplies to Europe.

The statement added that the energy ministers of the three countries will meet again in Algiers at the end of July to “validate the proposals of the newly installed task force.”

“The pipeline should allow Europe to diversify its sources of natural gas supply but also allow several African states to access this high value energy source,” the statement said.

“With a length of 4,128 kilometres (2,565 miles), the pipeline would start in Warri, Nigeria, and end in Hassi R’Mel, Algeria, where it would connect to existing pipelines that run to Europe,” it said.

The gas pipeline idea was first proposed more than 40 years ago with an agreement signed between the three countries in 2009, but progress stalled stalled following a lack of follow through by the countries.

Earlier this month, Nigeria also took steps to revive another gas pipeline project that would pass through West Africa, Morocco to Europe.

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