Oil wealth fund in the pipeline

Kenya planned to set up a sovereign wealth fund to invest revenue from future output of oil that Tullow Oil and Africa Oil expected to start pumping as soon as 2016, central bank chairman Mbui Wagacha said yesterday. The country’s attorney-general was “fine tuning” a draft framework for the fund, which would shield the economy from cyclical changes in commodity prices, build savings for future generations and be used to invest in infrastructure, he said. “We are unique in Kenya in that we are setting up our sovereign wealth fund prior to the phase of exploitation of natural resources,” he said. “The resources that we own today also belong to our future generations.” – Bloomberg


Bank leaves rates steady

Uganda’s central bank left its key lending rate unchanged yesterday, even though inflation rose last month, citing concern about sluggish credit growth and weak exports. Bank of Uganda governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile said the economy was expected to grow 6 percent in the 2013/14 fiscal year, compared with 5.8 percent the fiscal year before. Growth should rise to 6.5 percent next fiscal year, he said. “Given the outlook for the macro economy over the next 12 to 18 months, the Bank of Uganda believes that a neutral monetary policy stance is warranted,” Tumusiime-Mutebile said. Inflation, however, rose to 7.1 percent last month from a revised 6.8 percent a month earlier. – Reuters


Telecoms firms ‘must compete’

The Kenyan government supported increased competition in the telecommunications industry to ensure customers were able to shop around for the best service and prices, Communications Secretary Fred Matiang’i said yesterday. The Communications Authority of Kenya said last week that its board had granted approval to license three new telecommunications firms. With the country’s cellphone penetration rate at 77 percent, there was room for even more providers to enter the market, Matiang’i said. “It will intensify competition and we may end up getting quality services in the process.” – Bloomberg


Cellular licence to cost R3.8bn

The price offered to fixed-line monopoly operator Telecom Egypt for a mobile licence was 2.5 billion Egyptian pounds (R3.8bn), Telecommunications Minister Atef Helmy said yesterday. The country’s three existing cellular operators are Vodafone Egypt, Mobinil and Etisalat Egypt, but with Egyptians increasingly using cellphones and the internet instead of making fixed-line phone calls, Telecom Egypt has been relying on its data traffic for revenue growth. It has been waiting to launch a new mobile operation that would complement an existing joint venture with Vodafone and compete with the sector’s two other players. A licence for companies offering mobile services which allowed them to use Telecom Egypt’s fixed-line network was priced at 100 million pounds, Helmy added. – Reuters