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Equity Bank half year net profit up 17pc
Equity Bank has posted a 17 per cent growth in half year profits after tax, driven by growth in loan book and mobilisation of cheap deposits. The bank reported an after tax profit of Sh6.2 billion compared to Sh5.3 billion an year earlier. This followed a 21 per cent growth in its credit advances to Sh150 billion accompanied by mobilisation of cheap deposits leading to net interest income of Sh13.2 billion compared to Sh11.2 billion in June last year. 

Rising exports boost Uganda’s coffee output
An increase in coffee production as well as rising export volumes continue to position Uganda as a key producer both in Africa and globally. Experts say that if the performance continues throughout the last quarter of the coffee calendar, Uganda might see itself jump into major coffee producing countries hence improving farmers’ living condition.  Read more

New firms enter Uganda unit trust market
Five new players entered the unit trust market in Uganda in July, attracted by pension reforms and improved economic indicators. Stanlib Uganda, Insurance Company of East Africa Uganda and UAP Financial Services Ltd received unit trust management licences in early July, bringing the number of licensed players to four, alongside African Alliance Uganda, the pioneer. Standard Chartered Bank and KCB Uganda received unit trust custodian licences, bringing the total number to three, including DFCU Bank. Read more

Absa-Barclays merger gets BoU nod
Financial giant set to be pace-setter in Ugandan, regional market
With all regulator requirements fulfilled to complete the $ 2 billion merger of Absa, South Africa’s largest retail bank, and Barclays Africa, attention is now shifting to the imminent restructuring that the bank could undergo in Uganda. The deal to acquire Barclays’s assets in Africa was first announced more than one and half years ago, but was only completed on July 22 following complex negotiations that took longer than expected to complete. Photos: Maria Romos, ABSA CEO and Charles Ongwae, Barclays MD Read more

World Bank endorses report to fund Uganda
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors have discussed and endorsed the progress report of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Uganda that will guide the support of the World Bank Group to the country for the remaining two years (2014-2015) of the CAS. The CAS is a key document that sets out the framework of cooperation between the World Bank Group and the Government of Uganda, and describes the Bank Group’s planned program in the country.   Read more 

Uganda awards Chinese company Isimba Hydropower project
The governments of Uganda and China have signed a memorandum of understanding to construct a 188 Megawatts hydro-power dam at Isimba Falls in Kayunga District-40kms downstream from newly built Bujagali Hydropower Dam. The July 22 dated memorandum awarded China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE) a $500 million (about Shs1.3 trillion) project funded by the Chinese’s Export and Import Bank (Ex-Im) in a bilateral arrangement between the government of Uganda and China. Read more

Government set to install another internet cable
The third phase of the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) and e-governance projects-designed to propel the high speed internet in the country- are set to commence towards the end of this year. The project implemented by government’s National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U), will encompass the laying of optical fibre cables to Tanzania through Mutukula to the East African submarine cables and to Rwanda through the Katuna border town. Speaking to the Daily Monitor, Ms Leonah Mbonimpa, the NITA-U spokesperson, said the project would take off after ongoing deliberations on the Auditor General’s report about the details of the Phase II project. Read more

Uganda Shilling registers modest gain against dollar
The Shilling has continued to post mild gains (25/7/2013) against the dollar on the backdrop of absence of significant dollar appetite by customers. Experts say the absence of appetite has been spurred by a slowdown in the economy and low government expenditure.   Read more

Lake Victoria fish stocks dwindle as demand grows
Experts have warned that people who love fish may start to love chicken because if not controlled, fish will not be available in the next 20 years. Developing countries rely on fish as a major source of protein, and fish accounts for over 40 per cent of animal protein intake. Read more

Invest here, British investors told
President Yoweri Museveni has said Uganda is a great investment destination in various sectors particularly that of Agro processing, inputs in agriculture such as fertilizers, agricultural machinery for hiring, tourism, financial services and infrastructure especially electricity and gas among others. The President was Tuesday speaking at a meeting he held with UK based entrepreneurs under their umbrella organization EXOTIX Limited.  EXOTIX Limited is a UK based company specializing in Investment Banking, Research, Equities, Fixed income and Infrastructure development among others. 

Uganda exports hit six trillion
Uganda’s exports reached $2.3b (5.9 trillion) last year, up from $2.1b (sh5.4 trillion) in 2011, the executive director of the Uganda Export Promotion Board has said. Appearing before Parliament‘s committee on tourism, trade and industry  on Tuesday to discuss the tourism and trade ministerial policy statement for financial year 2013/14, Florence Kata said non-traditional exports of mainly maize, rice, sugar and mineral water earned the country $1.9b (sh4.8 trillion) in 2012 from $1.4b (sh3.6 trillion) in 2011. Top Uganda export markets, she said, include France for cotton and oil seeds, Sudan, Congo, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania, Rwanda and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) partner states. Read more                                                                

Uganda bourse to automate and review ownership rules
The Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) plans to review its membership and trading rules to allow for electronic trading and demutualisation in the biggest legal change since its inception. The Kampala bourse, which started its operations in 1998, has been using rules similar to those the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) had for a long time. However, the NSE has been regularly reviewing its laws.  Read more

$50m Kalangala infrastructure project takes off
The multi million-dollar Kalangala infrastructure project in Uganda has started, clearing the way for the upgrading of roads, marine transport, power and water supply in Kalangala region. Kalangala Infrastructure Services (KIS), the private firm running the $50 million project in a joint venture with the government, broke the ground for road works, water and power generation to Bugala Island. Bugala is the largest of the 84 islands which form Ssese Islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria, and has a population of 60,000. KIS is a subsidiary of InfraCo Ltd, which is based in the UK. The project will be financed through equity and debt from InfraCo, Nedbank from South Africa, Uganda Development Corporation and Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund. Read more

Lifeblood of the economy: India’s impact on business
Fortune magazine once estimated that the Madhvani family alone accounted for up to a third of the Ugandan GDP by the time President Idi Amin expelled the Asians in 1972. They have stretched it a bit because by the family’s accounts the combined turnover of their group that employed as many as 20,000 people in 1972, was $150m.  If you add the turnover of the other prominent industrial and trading Asian families in Uganda, their influence on the economy boggles the mind. But even more impressive is that none of these Indian families landed on our shores at the turn of the 20th Century with ready-made fortunes. 
The arrival of the Uganda Railway at the beginning of the last century is widely seen as the trigger for the Indian community’s entrance  into Uganda. Shipped in mostly as manual labour to lay the railway line, there were also clerical workers, engineers and other professionals among their number, which is estimated peaked at about 70,000 by 1972. (Photo: Kampala in 1960s) 
 Read more                                                                                           

Absa-Barclays deal signals wider product range offer
Barclays Uganda customers are set to enjoy a number of innovative products following the approval of the Absa-Barclays merger by Africa’s central banks regulators. Barclays Uganda managing director Charles Ongwae told the Daily Monitor in an interview on Monday that among the products to be replicated in Uganda following the merger of Absa and Barclays African businesses will include the introduction of a mobile money product – CashSend. CashSend – a brainchild of Absa, one of South Africa’s largest commercial banks –enables customers to send funds via Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to recipients that do not have a bank account or card. Read more

Aviation posts growth in passenger numbers
Growth in tourist arrivals in the country partly led to a 14 per cent increase in passenger traffic at Entebbe Airport. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) records show that the current figures are projected to have surpassed the 2018 target figures as forecasted in the CAA development master plan. CAA public relations officer Vianney Luggya says the CAA master plan had projected the passenger growth at 1.8 million by 2018 but the current passenger growth shows that passengers would have exceeded 1.8m.  Read more

UAP given green light on Unit Trust management
The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has approved UAP financial services to operate as a Unit Trust Manager, to open more room for innovation and competition in the financial markets. The move will allow the company and other players to develop unit trust funds that will enable investors access alternative financial instruments with competitive returns. According to Mr Patrick Ndonye, the UAP general manager: “Unit Trust Funds will provide the much needed boost in the market by increasing demand for shares which will ultimately result in better prices and returns for investors.”   Read more

Massive demand for Stanbic as foreign cash flows in
Stanbic Bank shares are attracting huge demand post dividend announcement, restoring the bank to its status as the most sought after company since listing. On Tuesday (16 Jul 2013), the bank traded just 132,000 shares at an average price of sh25. But there were bids for over 31 million shares, while there was demand for over 16.7 million shares. Market observers have intimated that there has been entry of foreign funds into the market even when the bank’s book closure date passed, meaning investors who had not bought Stanbic shares by the book closure date cannot benefit from the dividend offer. But this has not dissuaded interest.  Read more

East African monetary union talks near end
Ministers from the East African bloc have stepped up the search for a common currency and regional central bank even as concerns grow over the poor implementation of earlier stages of integration. The Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Ms Phyllis Kandie, said that the region’s Council of Ministers would next month finalise talks on the monetary union protocol and hand it to heads of state for approval. “The council of ministers is scheduled to meet in August to finalise the protocol with a target of having it ready for signing by the EAC heads of state in November 2013,” said Ms Kandie as Kenya marked the third anniversary of the common market protocol.  Read more

Scarcity forces vanilla price to rise
Increased demand for vanilla has propped up the price of the commodity thus boosting farmers’ incomes. The increase in prices has been a result of scarcity amidst growing demand. Latest information indicates that dealers are buying the commodity at Shs13,000 up from Shs10,000 for a kilogramme of fresh beans. While at the export market the commodity is fetching about Shs81,920 ($32) up from Shs69,120 ($27) depending on the quality. Experts attribute the low production to the heavy rains that pounded most of the vanilla producing areas earlier in the year. Read more

Uganda tipped on regional markets - food, tourism, the service industry & manufacturing
United States of America Ambassador Scott DeLIsi has said Uganda has the capacity to become the region’s food basket. In his address to the Indian community in Uganda Mr DeLIsi said when he compares Uganda to other countries like Kenya, he sees more matching opportunities have been taken on with less aggression. Uganda, among East African member states, is credited as one of those countries that have capacity to become the region’s food basket. Other opportunities have been identified in tourism, the service industry and manufacturing.

MPs considering sh140b energy sector loans
The parliamentary committees on National Economy and that of Natural Resources on Tuesday began scrutinizing three loan requests meant for the energy sector as part of government’s concerted effort to make access to affordable electricity the flagship of the country’s economic blueprint – Vision 2040. Legislators on the two committees met a delegation from Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL), Rural Electrification Agency and Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development led by energy state minister, Simon D’Ujanga, over the specifics of the loans.  Read more

New mobile app set to spur tourism
A new tourism mobile application that aims to lure more tourists to Uganda has been introduced. Built for smartphones, the Uganda Guide App—a brainchild of the Pearl Guide Uganda— provides a detailed guide on places and attractions of Uganda, as well as travel and amenity listings of service providers. Ms Maria Mutagamba, the minister of Tourism, who launched the new app at Serena Hotel on Friday, described it as a revolution and a new level of marketing Uganda’s tourism.  Read more

Africa’s aviation experts complain of infrastructure
In 2000, 44 African countries, including Uganda, signed the Yamoussoukrou Declaration, in which they committed to deregulate air services to, among other things, promote regional markets and open up the space for transnational competition. However, in spite of the liberal access, an expanding global airline industry driven by investment and tourism, aviation experts contend that Africa’s contribution has been hampered by challenges in the level of capacity and infrastructural bottlenecks at its airports. Read more

US$57m earmarked for construction of Kasese Airport
Kasese airfield will be upgraded to an airport this financial year, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) manager in charge of upcountry air fields, Wonekha Sam. Wonekha, who was meeting people affected by the project, said the CAA has already got a contractor to fence off the land as they wait for funds to begin the construction. He said over $57m has been earmarked for the first phase of the project that is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this financial year.  Read more

Ugandan Shilling holds steady, helped by tighter liquidity
The Ugandan shilling was stable against the dollar on Monday (15/7/2013), supported by a squeeze on liquidity as companies made mid-month tax payments. Commercial banks in Kampala quoted the currency of east Africa’s third largest economy at 2,590/2,600, unchanged from Friday’s close. Read more

Government to market BPO policy
Uganda’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector is registering increasing demand from offshore companies making it the fastest growing IT sector, the National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U), has said. The growth is largely driven by the increasing need for companies to outsource most parts of their process in a bid to cut costs, yet operate efficiently. Photo: ICT minister John Nasasira    Read more

"We will support Uganda despite EU crisis" - French Diplomat
Laurent Favier, foreign affairs attache at the French embassy says his country will continue to support the government of Uganda despite the European Union economic crisis. Speaking at the ambassador’s residence on Nakasero to celebrate the Bastille Day on July 13, Favier said, “French companies have invested more than 1 billion USD (about Shs 2.5 trillion) in Uganda in the last two years; they create jobs, and pay taxes.”  Read more

Ugandan born Asian, Tushar Morzaria hired by the Barclays London as a new finance director
Lending giant Barclays has lured a top US banking executive to become its new finance director with a potential £6.2 million pay package. Mr Morzaria, a graduate of Manchester University, was born in Uganda and moved to the UK in 1971. He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1993 before moving into banking. A British citizen, he is married with two children. He has spent most of his career at JP Morgan in London and New York, and has also worked at Credit Suisse and SG Warburg.  Read more

MTN Invests $70k In Uganda Entrepreneurial Development Show
MTN Uganda has invested Ugx 182 million ($70,000) in the partnership with a human capital development organisation, Inspire Africa, and Bank of Africa to produce a business competition TV show that supports young entrepreneurs. The show called “Sawa Ya Cash”, meaning “Cash Hour”, selects the top 15 business ideas from a pool of over 30,000 locally trained entrepreneurs and rewards the winners with a start-up capital of Ugx 5 million ($1,900) after a competition, which lasts 15 weeks. The CEO of Inspire Africa Mr. Nelson Tugume, in explaining the vision of the show said, “Sawa Ya cash is part of a larger vision of Inspire Africa to stimulate entrepreneurship amongst the youth not only in Uganda but across Africa.”   Read more