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EDITO
Monday, 23 January 2017

East Africa is the fastest growing region on the continent and its development prospects remain positive, a UK-based accountant’s body says. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) say in its latest report that the more diversified East African economies are faring better than those of southern, central and western Africa. “Growth prospects remain divergent by region, with Central and West African economies struggling with weak commodity demand,” the Economic Insight: Africa Q4 2016 report says. The report produced in partnership with Oxford Economics provides a snapshot of the continent’s economic performance.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed and exchanged a bilateral agreement to loan US$100mn to Kenya to assist with agricultural mechanisation in the East African nation . Uhuru Kenyatta and Narendra Modi signed a credit deal to fund Kenya's aim to mechanise its agricultural sector. The deal was signed in New Dheli on 11 January. Kenya is hoping to increase the number and the value of its exports to India by shifting its export base from agriculture and mineral based products to value added manufacturing products.

The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) is expected to kick off operations in 2017, with funding from Germany, France, the World Bank, and a few other financing institutions. According to the ministry of finance, led by Kemi Adeosun, “the DBN will have access to US$1.3bn (N396.5 billion), which will be provided by the World Bank (WB), KfW (German Development Bank), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Agence Française de Development (French Development Agency)”. “Additionally, the DBN is currently finalising agreements with the European Investment Bank (EIB),” the ministry said in a statement, which further explains the dealings of the bank.

The South African Citrus Growers Association (CGA) has expressed relief and anger at the admission of the Spanish Citrus Management Committee (CGC) that there were no South African citrus on the shelves of Spanish supermarkets during December 2016. Spanish growers’ union Unió de Llauradors alleged that “bad quality” citrus from South Africa was putting pressure on Spanish citrus growers. The CGC now says that the oranges were erroneously labelled as South African and were, in fact, of Spanish origin. The South African Citrus Growers Association CEO, Justin Chadwick, calls the allegations “a slap in the face” for South African growers.

Kenya is mulling a credit guarantee scheme to encourage farmers to raise production as 26 countries move to eliminate cross border barriers on goods.Vision 2030 director-general Julius Muia said the loan guarantee framework being worked out will target export producers, especially those eyeing the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). “The loan guarantee scheme framework is aimed at upscaling production since it would form a good base for industrialisation through agro-processing and product diversification,’’ said Dr Muia. Due to agriculture’s dependence on unpredictable weather and volatile markets, traditional risk-averse financial institutions have over the years scaled down their lending to the sector. The state-guaranteed loans are expected to finance production and cross-border integration of value chains.