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Dutch Bank Extends U$50million to Equity Bank To Support Covid-19 Hit SMEs

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Dutch Development Bank (FMO) has extended a total of U$50million to Equity Bank (Kenya) to lend to small and medium-sized firms hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Dutch bank said the facility would uplift Equity Bank’s lending to the perceived risky small enterprises, who have been hard hit by the economic effects of the pandemic – lowering their ability to save and tap loans.

“Funding for MSMEs is essential in lessening the impact of the pandemic on people’s livelihood and their communities,” said FMO chief executive Linda Broekhuizen.

“Together with the Capacity Development Project we are confident small entrepreneurs will get much needed support.’’

The facility has been disbursed under FMO’s financial program dubbed NASIRA that supports young, female, and migrant entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The European Union- backed programme’s scope was widened in April last year to also reach small Covid-19 affected entrepreneurs in the region.

“It will enable small business owners to access affordable loans through local banks, microfinance institutions and other non-banking financial institutions,” said the EU Ambassador to Kenya, Simon Mordue.

NASIRA uses guarantees to allow local banks to on-lend to underserved entrepreneurs.

Kenyan banks have in recent years taken substantial loans from global funds, including the International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Investment Bank (EIB), Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), attracted by relatively more favourable terms of debts like lower interest rates and longer maturity.

In addition to getting more capital to buffer their books, they have also been restructuring loans in order to protect the quality of their balance sheets, given the problems borrowers have faced in servicing debt due to the Covid-19 hit.

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Business

Most Expensive Home in America To Be Auctioned

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The One mansion of the largest private homes ever built, with a colossal 105,00sq ft of living space will go to the highest bidder tonight during a public auction.

Once valued at $500 million, The One mansion in Bel-Air is being sold for $295 million and will be on the open market until it is auctioned off by Concierge Auctions, an online auction marketplace, from February 28 to March 3.

The home will be sold without reserve, meaning it will sell to the highest bidder. Even if it sells close to the price it’s listed at, it will surely break records.

Currently, billionaire and hedge fund tycoon Ken Griffin’s $238 million New York penthouse in 2019 holds the record as the most expensive U.S. home ever sold.

Developed by Nile Niami, the massive estate took more than 10 years to build and created massive debt for Niami. His development company, Crestlloyd, filed for bankruptcy last year, forcing the home to careen towards auction as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

However, the home still has about 12 more months of work. The buyer will have to put down nearly $340,000 as a deposit.

The Los Angeles home is one of the largest ever built, and is twice the size of the White House. It spans 105,000 square feet and the property sprawls over 3.8 acres.

Outdoor features include a moat of water on three sides of the home, five pools, a 10,000-square-foot deck and a 400-foot outdoor running track.

The home is more like a personal, private resort than a single-family home. There are a whopping 21 bedrooms, 42 full bathrooms and seven half bathrooms.

Despite its grandiose nature, there is a pared-down, neutral color palette throughout and calming water features.

Within the home, there are custom-curated artworks from artists Mike Fields, Stephen Wilson and glass artist Simoe Cenedese, to name a few. Soaring, 26-foot ceilings make the home feel even larger than it is (if that’s possible), and rooms are oversized and expansive.

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Rwanda-Uganda Full Trading Resumes

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Full trading between Rwanda and Uganda is scheduled to resume on Monday January 31st following Kigali announcement that it had opened locks on its borders shut in March 2019.

“Rwanda has taken note that there is a process to solve issues raised by Rwanda, as well as commitments made by the government of Uganda to address remaining obstacles,” Kigali said in the statement.

Since the border closure Rwanda and Uganda recorded a significant reduction in trade flows and was further worsened by the covid-19 pandemic that struck a year after Rwanda had slammed its doors to the northern neighbour.

Before the border was closed in 2019, Uganda export revenues fetched from trading with Rwanda were valued over U$600million. During 2020 Uganda Exports to Rwanda was US$2.31 Million, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

President Paul Kagame said in his new year address that Rwanda prospered in the economic front.

“We are beginning the year 2020 after a successful 2019.Our country remained safe as a result of our efforts”.

The Africa Development Bank in its 2019 outlook on Rwanda, projected robust growth prospects even as the standoff with Uganda heightened.

For example, Rwanda and Tanzania signed the standard gauge railway (SGR) deal dubbed, sub-Saharan Africa’s first 570 Km bullet line with Tanzania worth US$2.5 billion.

Also Rwanda by December 2019 signed a U$1.3 billion deal on Bugesera Airport with Qatar.

One of the biggest blows that Uganda suffered in its standoff with Rwanda was the emergence of Tanzania as Rwanda’s new major trading partner.

Uganda exports to Rwanda include; mineral fuels, oils, distillation products ,plastics ,textiles ,cereals , electronics, vehicles, machinery, fish, edible fruits, soaps, cement, lubricants, waxes, candles and an assortment of manufactured articles.

With the border slated for opening on Monday, the gesture is expected to boost  the movement of goods, transport, persons and services and under strict observation of restrictions against covid-19 pandemic.

How Museveni Lost to Kagame in Race For Regional Dominance

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Business

Akabanga Tycoon Diversifies to Petroleum

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Sina Gerard famed for producing the hot oiled pepper ‘akabanga’ has diversified into petroleum products, Taarifa Business desk reports.

Under a new company registered as Sina Gerard Petroleum Ltd, the tycoon’s decision indicates that he is reading from a good business book on diversification strategy.

Diversification is a business development strategy in which a company develops new products and services, or enters new markets, beyond its existing ones.  Companies diversify to achieve greater profitability.

Diversification will never be an easy game, and managers must study their cards carefully. It takes smart players to know when it’s best to raise their bets and when it’s best to fold.

Havard Business review research suggests that if managers consider the following six questions, they can push their thinking still further to reduce the gamble of diversification. Answering the questions will not lead to an easy go-no-go decision, but the exercise can help managers assess the likelihood of success.

The issues the questions raise, and the discussion they provoke, are meant to be coupled with the detailed financial analysis typical of the diversification decision-making process.

Together, these tools can turn a complex and often pressured decision into a more structured and well-reasoned one.

Thus, when managers consider whether or not to diversify, they should ask themselves the following questions:

What can our company do better than any of its competitors in its current market?

Before diversifying, managers must think not about what their company does but about what it does better than its competitors.

What strategic assets do we need in order to succeed in the new market?

To diversify, a company must have all the necessary strategic assets, not just some of them.

Can we catch up to or leapfrog competitors at their own game?

Will diversification break up strategic assets that need to be kept together?

Managers need to ask whether their strategic assets are transportable to the industry they have targeted.

Will we be simply a player in the new market or will we emerge a winner?

What can our company learn by diversifying, and are we sufficiently organized to learn it?

Like good chess players, forward-thinking managers will think two or three moves ahead.

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