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17 African countries benefit as China cancels 23 interest-free loans

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Seventeen African countries are to benefit from the benevolence of the Chinese government as it plans to write off a debt package for various nations by the end of the year.

The beneficiary countries include Botswana, Burundi, Rwanda, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique.

Others are Angola, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Niger, Eritrea, and Cameroon

The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, made the announcement on Wednesday when he unveiled what was described as a “minor debt relief package” for 17 African countries by writing off 23 interest-free loans that were supposed to be due at the end of the last year.

The move, according to the Chinese government, is meant to aid poor African countries indebted to China to ease off their debts as well as canceled a number of zero-interest loans to African governments in recent years.

The Asian giant also announced it would channel $10bn from its share of a recent International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights (SDR) mechanism to the African continent.

“We are prepared to, through the IMF’s two Trusts, re-channel 10 billion US dollars of its SDR to Africa, and encourage the IMF to direct China’s contributions to Africa”, said Wang at a summit on the financing of African economies held in France.

The IMF’s SDR has allowed $650bn of cash to be accessed by IMF members, in order to help deal with economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic and with the effect of the pandemic in Africa, China, which has become the major benefactor in the continent is doing everything possible to become a part of a wider geopolitical contest of influence on the continent.

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Nigeria’s Access Bank acquires majority equity stake in Angolan financial firm, Finibanco

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One of Nigeria’s mega financial institutions, Access Bank, has penned an agreement to acquire 51% majority shareholding in Finibanco Angola S.A from Montepio Holding SGPS S.A, according the bank’s parent company, Access Holdings Plc.

The company which made the announcement late Tuesday, said it had purchased existing shares owned by Montepio, the holding company for Banco Montepio, a Portuguese commercial bank with over 20 branches and valued at $300 million in total assets.

The takeover of the Angolan bank sees an increase in the number of branches under Access Bank across Africa, making it the largest commercial bank in Africa by number of customers.

“Access Holdings Plc, trading as Access Corporation (‘the Corporation’) today announces that its wholly owned subsidiary, Access Bank Plc (the Bank) has entered into a binding agreement with Montepio Holding SGPS S.A (‘Montepio’) to acquire a 51 percent majority shareholding in Finibanco Angola S.A. (the Transaction),” the company said in the statement.

“The Transaction furthers the bank’s strategy to be Africa’s payment gateway to the world whilst working with other Africa-focused multilateral to provide robust and efficient payment platforms and ecosystems to serve the continent,” it added.

Access Bank has been very active on the African continent as it has so far acquired banks in other countries to expand leadrship position and extend its market trades.

The Nigerian financial institution had acquired Kenyan lender, Sidian Bank Ltd, African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited, African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited, as well as Cavmont Bank in the last few years.

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Petrol prices fall in South Africa, Libya but cost of diesel keeps flying

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Prices of petrol have fallen in South Africa and Libya but such cannot be said of diesel.

The government of government on Monday announced that the petrol pump price would decrease by up to 1.02 Rand a litre but the price of diesel would increase by up to 15 cents a litre from October 5.

In Sudan also, petrol prices seem to be obeying the law of gravity as the energy ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that price had fallen from 700 Sudanese pounds to 522 pounds ($0.9235) per litre.

There has been a fall in global oil prices recently which has caused a fall in domestic inflation to 7.6% in August in South Africa.

The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has had its knock-on effects on oil prices globally. Prices of diesel have almost tripled in most African countries.

In Nigeria for instance, industries like aviationtelecom operators have all struggled with the situation which has disrupted business operations.

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