Atta Africa Financial Update

Executive summary:
Zimbabweans cautious (to say the least!) about government bringing back the ‘Zim Dollar’

The governor of the Central Bank, John Mangudya, recently remarked that the country was going to issue notes of up to 200 million US dollars, a move he says was meant to ease cash crisis.

Mangudya said the bond notes, that will be in denominations of $2, $5, $10, $20, will be in circulation within the next two months. Many believe this move clearly demonstrate the Robert Mugabe regime’s failure to arrest the economic crisis and now looking for a way to introduce the local currency abandoned over five years ago.

The move has sparked widespread outcry from Zimbabweans both within the country and in the diaspora, with a number of campaigns underway demonstrating dissatisfaction.

Other than the issue of bonds, Zimbabwe is facing a flurry of other issues that are worrying investors such as lack of clarity on what will happen when Mugabe (92) goes.

Zimbabwe last used own currency in January of 2009. At that time every Zimbabwean had become a billionaire if not trillionaire, and 90 percent were in abject poverty.

AfDB to invest US$12 billion in energy development over next half decade

  • The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it is planning to invest US$12 billion in development and distribution of energy for use across the continent in the next five years
  • According to AfDB data, more than 640 million Africans still have no access to energy, informing Adesina’s decision to launch the bank’s “New Deal on Energy for Africa

Tanzania outpacing Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya in the EAC growth race

  • Tanzania has firmed up its position as East Africa’s fastest growing economy, boosting its chances of attracting high net worth investments
  • Tanzania, the region’s second-largest economy after Kenya, grew by 6.9 per cent last year, racing ahead of Rwanda’s 6.5 per cent, Kenya’s 5.6 per cent and Uganda’s 5.2 per cent

Easy Taxi opts out of Kenya after Goldman Sachs leans towards rival Uber

  • Online cab operator Easy Taxi has opted out of the Kenyan market following a decision by one of its investors, American firm Goldman Sachs, to direct all its investments towards Uber
  • The two rival taxi firms have Goldman Sachs as a common investor - Goldman Sachs apparently dropped Easy Taxi because it was competing with Uber, which is more profitable and has grip of the African market
  • Easy Taxi will cease operations in Kenya and Africa by the end of this month - its more than 2,000 drivers have been acquired by Little Cabs, a new entrant

Telcos under threat from Whatsapp, Viber, etc.

  • Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana Ebenezer Asante has said that the local mobile telecoms are facing growing threats from over-the-top (OTT) players like Whatsapp, Viber and Facebook who offer cheaper voice services to customers
  • According to Mr. Asante the cost of deploying a network to run voice services is significant, and thus the apparent bypassing of these expensive networks by such apps mean that mobile operators will not be getting the most out of their investments