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Somalia gives foreign banks licence to operate in decades

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The Somali government has announced the licensing of foreign banks for the first time in over two decades six weeks after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud was sworn into office following an elections that took years to conduct following a lingering political crisis.

The announcement which was made on Monday by the governor of the Central Bank of Somalia (CBS) Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, said the war-ravaged country has granted banking licenses to two foreign institutions to operate in the country after President Mohamoud had promised to open the country to international investment during his campaigns for the elections.

The first foreign banking institutions to benefit from the decision are Egyptian bank, Banque Misr, and Turkish bank, Ziraat Katilim, who have been allowed to operate in Somalia.

“The review of the applications of these two banks has been the subject of a lengthy process of several months.

“These are two strong banks that will add value to the development of Somalia’s financial sector and contribute to the growth of our economy,” the CBS governor said

Ranked one of the poorest countries in the world by the World Bank, the average Somalian lives on less than $1.90 a day as the country struggles to recover from decades civil war and and opening its doors to foreign investments is seen as President Mohamoud fulfilment of his pledge to improve the economic situation and provide basic banking services to the population.

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Nigeria: President Buhari makes U-turn on approval of Exxon unit acquisition by Seplat

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has made a U-turn in his earlier position that grant approval of Exxon Mobil’s  sale of local offshore shallow water assets to Seplat.

President Buhari had on Monday approved the $1.28 billion transaction, only for the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to say it opposed the deal, although it did not give a reason.

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, told newsmen that “the president has decided to allow the regulator to do their work. He is withholding his earlier given approval, for now, to allow the process to be completed, that is basically it.”

In February, Seplat Energy Plc, unveiled plans to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) from Exxon Mobil Corporation Delaware (USA Incorporated). That includes all of Exxon’s entire shallow water assets in the Niger Delta.

Seplat on its side said it is yet to received no official notification of President Buhari’s U-turn and is seeking clarification from authorities.

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Nigeria climbs to fourth position on World Bank’s list of most indebted nations

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Nigeria has moved into the fourth position of World Bank’s list of countries with the highest debts, according to the Bank’s financisl report released on Monday.

Going by the World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for International Development Association (IDA), Nigeria now owes a debt stock of $13bn as at June 30, 2022.

The country also moved up one spot from the fifth position it was rated as of June 30, 2021, with an IDA debt stock of $11.7bn.

The global bank also revealed in its audited financial statements that Nigeria has accumulated about $1.3bn IDA debt within a fiscal year, adding that the debt is different from the outstanding loan of $486m from the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

What this means is that Nigeria now has the highest IDA debt in Africa, and is only bettered by the likes India with $19.7bn debt, Bangladesh, $18bn
and Pakistan, $15.8bn, all from the Asian bloc.

The Washington-based international Financial Institution also disclosed that Nigeria’s debt which may be considered sustainable for now, is fast growing into a state of vulnerability and could become costly.

“Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable, albeit vulnerable and costly, especially due to large and growing financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria,” it said.

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