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EU- FSD Project: Ugandan Firms to Get Shs 1.8bn to Attract Investors

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The Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Uganda is launching a ‘Deal Flow Facility’ (DFF) to increase investment in medium to large companies in Uganda, Chimp Corps report.

Funded by the European Union (EU) and in collaboration with the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), the facility is expected to help Ugandan companies become “investment ready”.

This will be done by actively match-making the companies to long-term investment capital, to allow businesses to focus on growth rather than short-term funding needs.

In addition to matchmaking, the facility will provide business development services to at least 220 companies over a five-year period, with the first cohort expected to start in September 2021.

The facility is actively targeting relatively mature companies that are seeking investments of not less than $500,000 (about Shs 1.83b).

According to the World Bank Group’s Enterprise Surveys, only 10 percent of firms in Uganda have a bank loan or line of credit. This proportion is less than half of the average for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Uganda face particularly constrained access to finance because large foreign-owned banks focus on corporates and high net-worth individuals.

The funding offered by financial institutions to SMEs is mostly short-term, making firms more exposed to rollover and interest rate risks, and discouraging them from making longer-term fixed investments.

One-stop-centre

The Deal Flow Facility, incubated at FSD Uganda, also aims to be a one-stop center where companies can access all their transaction advisory needs – from tax, legal, banking and more.

The pool of select enterprises will have access to business development support to increase their competitiveness and place them on an accelerated growth path.

Capital mobilised through investments and skills transferred along the investment cycle will contribute to two key objectives in the country’s National Development Plan III: strengthening the private sector to drive growth and create jobs; and enhancing value addition in key growth opportunities.

In response to the need for a Deal Flow Facility and FSD Uganda’s role, Ms. Rashmi Pillai, the FSD Uganda Executive Director said FSD Uganda has always been at the forefront of new ideas, and policy changes that strengthen financial market development.

“Apart from increasing capital inflows, the accelerated growth of medium to large companies via the DFF will result in direct and indirect job creation – a key goal of the third National Development Plan,” she observed.

Uganda is one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world and enabling local businesses to grow and succeed faster will have multiplier effects on jobs, household income, tax mobilisation and financial inclusion.

Rashmi said they are excited that this facility is being birthed with like-minded partners like the Capital Markets Authority, the Ministry of Finance, and donors – the European Union.

“We will leverage learnings from other program interventions funded by our other donors – the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to encourage the companies we work with to adopt gender inclusive and sustainable business practices,” said Rashmi.

In the medium -to- long-term, the DFF is expected to increase the development of Uganda’s capital markets, complementing ongoing efforts by the CMA including investor education. Learnings from the DFF will provide the regulator and policy makers with objective evidence-based perspectives to shape the current and future investment climate.

Mr. Keith Kalyegira, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) CEO pointed out that the deal flow facility will play a vital role in mobilising saving and channeling them into productive investments for the creation of jobs and the development of Uganda’s economy.

“The Capital Markets Authority is pleased to be part of this important development to be implemented by FSD Uganda which is undoubtedly a credible implementing partner. We would like to appreciate all the development partners for supporting the establishment of this Deal Flow Facility,” he said.

“In addition to preparing companies that meet the participation criteria to access the growing pools of savings to meet their long-term capital needs, we are optimistic that this capital raising center will also prepare companies to raise working capital through the issue of short-term debt instruments that may not always require security. By increasing the financing options available to business enterprises, we expect a lowering of financing costs in the economy,” he added.

“This facility bolsters our ongoing Issuer Resource Persons program which started in 2018 and has so far facilitated Shs 45 billion raised for six business enterprises in Agricultural processing and Manufacturing. A vibrant capital market is essential for our private sector to thrive and create jobs, so as to enable our economy to achieve its full potential. The CMA is keen to facilitate the capital markets ecosystem to increase employment, which will in turn increase the number of Ugandans who use the financial system to save for investment, save for retirement, insure their property and lives, and use the growing range of non-banking services.”

EU Ambassador to Uganda Attilio Pacifici explained that the Sustainable Business for Uganda (SB4U) Platform launched in March 2020 by President Museveni was created to promote private sector investment in order to spur sustainable economic growth and generate decent jobs in line with the Africa- EU Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs.

“The launching of the Deal Flow Facility marks a new milestone in the Uganda and Europe partnership aimed at addressing the Access to Finance hurdles for companies operating in Uganda. Through the Deal Flow Facility 220 companies will get the necessary support to access the needed long-term capital for growth and job creation,” said Pacifici.

The post EU- FSD Project: Ugandan Firms to Get Shs 1.8bn to Attract Investors first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Iran says it has broad agreement with the US on lifting sanctions | Boycott Divest and Sanctions News

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The landmark accord has been delayed because there are some sticking points, but not an impasse, Iran said.

By Bloomberg

Iran said it has reached a broad agreement with the U.S. over the lifting of sanctions on its industrial sectors, including energy, but warned there was “very little time left” for world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal.

Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, didn’t give more detail on the potential easing of trade restrictions, which have all but prevented the Islamic Republic from exporting oil and battered its economy. The landmark accord was being delayed because there are still sticking points, he told reporters in Tehran on Monday.

Oil markets are closely watching the negotiations, which are taking place in Vienna, for any clues as to when the OPEC member will be able to resume crude sales and how quickly Washington will allow it to ramp up production.

“Some minute technical, political, legal and practical issues remain,” Khatibzadeh said. “No task was impossible for negotiators” and there’s no impasse, he said.

Brent crude rose 1% to $73.43 a barrel at 8:50 a.m. in London, extending its gain this year to 42%. Traders have pushed back their estimates for Iran’s oil comeback as the talks drag on.

World powers are trying to revive the 2015 agreement that the U.S. abandoned three years ago. It restricted Tehran’s atomic activities in return for sanctions relief.

On Saturday, Iran’s lead envoy in Vienna, Abbas Araghchi, said a deal was unlikely before presidential elections in his country this Friday.

President Hassan Rouhani — who negotiated the original deal in 2015 — is due to leave office in August after serving two terms. He is widely expected to be replaced by Ebrahim Raisi, a cleric generally seen as hostile to engaging with the U.S.

Still, a government spokesman said last week that the decision to try to resuscitate the accord was made by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and won’t be affected by Rouhani’s departure.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Who’s who in Israel’s new patchwork coalition government | Middle East News

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Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure as Israeli prime minister came to an end as the country’s parliament on Sunday approved a new coalition government led by right-wing nationalist leader Naftali Bennett.

The new government, a hodgepodge of political parties, has little in common other than a desire to unseat now-former Prime Minister Netanyahu.

The coalition spans from the far-left to the far-right and includes for the first time a small party that represents Palestinian citizens of Israel, who account for 21 percent of the country’s population.

Analysts say it is expected to focus mostly on economic and social issues rather than risk exposing internal rifts by trying to address major diplomatic issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinian leaders have dismissed the change in government, saying new the Israeli prime minister will likely pursue the same right-wing agenda as his predecessor.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued said it was “inaccurate” to call Bennett’s coalition government a “government of change” unless there was a significant shift in its position on the Palestinian right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Here are the leaders who will be leading the new government:

Naftali Bennett – prime minister

Naftali Bennett will serve as Israel’s prime minister for two years until he is replaced by Yair Lapid [Fiel: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters]

Bennett leads the ultranationalist Yamina (Rightwards) party that champions illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

A former Netanyahu ally, Bennett has defended his decision to join the new coalition to save the country from a period of political turmoil that could otherwise see a fifth election in just over two years. He served in previous Netanyahu-led governments, most recently as defence minister.

He is opposed to Palestinian independence and strongly supports illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians and much of the international community see as a major obstacle to peace. Settlements are illegal under international law.

The Israeli leader has in the past called for the annexation of the occupied West Bank but analysts believe that plan seems unfeasible, given his new centrist and leftist partners.

Bennett, who made a fortune in Israeli high-tech before entering politics in 2013, is known to be ultra-liberal on the economy.

The new prime minister has expressed opposition to reviving Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. And in his speech in the Knesset after winning the vote, he vowed to maintain Netanyahu’s confrontational policy towards Iran.

“Israel will not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. Israel will not be a party to the agreement and will continue to preserve full freedom of action.”

Under the coalition deal, Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years and until he is replaced by Yair Lapid. He will be the country’s first leader to wear a kippah, a skullcap worn by Orthodox Jews.

Yair Lapid – foreign minister

Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid heads the Yesh Atid party [File: Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP]

Yair Lapid heads the centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party and was the architect behind the new government. His party is the biggest in the coalition but he agreed to share power with Bennett to secure a parliamentary majority.

He quit his job as a TV anchor in 2012 and formed his own party, running on the promise to ease financial pressures on the middle class. He also seeks to end many of the state-funded privileges enjoyed by ultra-Orthodox Jews, a long-running source of anger for many secular Israelis.

He initially served as finance minister before moving to the opposition, which he led until Sunday.

Lapid will serve as foreign minister for two years and then take over as prime minister until the end of the government, provided it lasts that long.

Benny Gantz – defence minister

Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz is also the leader of the Blue and White party [File: Jalaa Marey/AFP]

Just two years ago Gantz, a former military chief heading the centrist Blue and White party, was the opposition’s best hope to unseat Netanyahu.

He came closer than other contenders to toppling Netanyahu in an unprecedented three elections between April 2019 to March 2020, preventing the former prime minister from forming a governing bloc of right-wing and religious parties.

But he agreed to join Netanyahu in a “unity” government last April, a decision that angered many of his supporters.

He will be a part of the new coalition, remaining in the post of defence minister that he held under Netanyahu.

Avigdor Lieberman – finance minister

Israel’s Minister of Finance Avigdor Lieberman leads the Yisrael Beitenu party [File: Ammar Awad/Reuters]

A far-right immigrant from Moldova who lives in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, Lieberman has been a political wildcard over the past decade. He has joined Netanyahu governments, including as defence minister, but also quit.

As finance minister, he will have to rein in a budget deficit that ballooned during the coronavirus crisis.

He has also said he will try to change the status quo between the government and Israel’s politically powerful ultra-Orthodox minority, which is a mainstay of Netanyahu’s outgoing government.

The ultra-Orthodox community has low participation rates in the workforce and relies heavily on government handouts while focusing on religious studies. Lieberman has said he will work to integrate them more into the economy.

Gideon Sa’ar – justice minister

Likud party member Gidon Saar was the main rival of former PM Benjamin Netanyahu [File: Abir Sultan/EPA]

Gideon Sa’ar was Netanyahu’s main rival within Likud, but the former prime minister did his best to keep him out of the spotlight and away from the highest-level portfolios. Frustrated, Sa’ar launched a failed leadership bid then spun off his own party.

As head of the New Hope party, Saar will be bumped up to justice minister, where he will oversee the legal system and become a member of the security cabinet.

Mansour Abbas – deputy prime minister

Mansour Abbas is the leader of the United Arab list [File: Abir Sultan/AFP]

Abbas’s small United Arab List will be the first party in an Israeli government to be drawn from Israel’s Palestinian citizens.

He split with other Palestinian politicians who prefer to remain outside government and cast aside differences with Bennett and other right-wingers to tip the scales against Netanyahu.

Abbas is expected to serve as a deputy minister in the prime minister’s office. He aims to negotiate a big increase in government spending in Palestinian towns and villages.

But his presence is a potentially destabilising factor. He has been criticised by Palestinians for agreeing to support an Israeli government while Israel continues to occupy the Palestinian territories.

Addressing these tensions, Abbas told the Italian daily La Repubblica on Friday: “There will be difficult decisions to be made, including security decisions. We have to juggle our identity as Palestinian Arabs and citizens of the State of Israel, between civil and nationalistic aspects.”

 



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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COVID-19: Ex Judiciary Secretary, Kagole Kivumbi Dies

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Former Secretary to the Judiciary, Mr Kagole Kivumbi Expedito, has succumbed to COVID-19.

He was 58 years-old.

Judiciary’s Principal Communications Officer, Solomon Muyita said Kagole “died on Sunday at Le Memorial Medical Services at Kitiko-Lubowa, Kigo Road”.

He had been admitted in critical condition, according to relatives.

Kagole was forced out of office for alleged misappropriation of funds according to the Auditor General’s report for the Financial Year 2017/2018.

He was the fourth Secretary to the Judiciary.

He came from the Judicial Service Commission, one of the 18 Justice, Law and Order Sector Institutions, where he was accounting officer for seven years.

Despite his mistakes, Kagole was hailed for the extensive revamp of the High Court headquarters carried out between 2017 and 2018.

This encompassed renovation and painting works on the over 80-year-old building as well as the refurbishing and renovating its places of convenience.

Kampala High Court building/Judiciary Head Quarters was in June 2018 fitted with Closed Circuit Television (CCTV )cameras in a move to boost security at the building located in the city centre.

The post COVID-19: Ex Judiciary Secretary, Kagole Kivumbi Dies first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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