Growth rate up to 5.2% in 2014

Growing investment in Africa’s natural resources and rising household spending would accelerate economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa to 5.2 percent this year from 4.7 percent in last year, the World Bank said yesterday. Oil and gas discoveries in countries including Angola, Mozambique and Tanzania underpinned rising capital inflows into the region, although an energy deficit and poor transport links continued to curb growth levels regionally, the multilateral lender said. “Poor physical infrastructure will… continue to limit the region’s growth potential,” Makhtar Diop, the bank’s vice-president for Africa, said. “More spending is needed in most countries to achieve a lasting transformation of their economies.” In its Africa Pulse report, it said capital flows into sub-Saharan Africa rose to an estimated 5.3 percent of regional gross domestic product in 2013, outpacing the global developing-country average of 3.9 percent. – Reutersg


Banks told to cut loan rates

Kenya’s government wanted commercial banks to cut lending rates to less than 10 percent in the next year and planned to reduce its reliance on domestic funding sources, vice-president William Ruto said yesterday. Commercial bank lending rates averaged 17.06 percent last month, Central Bank of Kenya data show. The Treasury was preparing recommendations on how to reduce lending rates after consulting with the banks, Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich said, adding the proposals would be published after presidency approval. Ruto said the government planned to use a pending eurobond issue to “exit from borrowing in the local market” to encourage lending by banks to private businesses. – Bloomberg


$1bn eurobond issue at a price

Zambia is set to pay more to sell the first eurobond from the continent this year after its currency slid 9.6 percent this year. Zambia might price the benchmark-sized bonds, its first since 2012, to yield between 8.75 percent and 8.875 percent, said a person with knowledge of the offering who was not authorised to speak publicly. This compared with a coupon rate of 5.375 percent for the $750 million (R8 billion) note sold in September 2012. The nation said in October last year that it might issue as much as $1bn of eurobonds, and hired Deutsche Bank and Barclays in January to lead the sale. – Bloomberg


Nollywood aids economy resize

Nollywood directors and investors yesterday hailed the industry’s inclusion in Nigeria’s economic data for the first time, calling it a recognition of the sector’s growing power and influence. When the last revision was carried out in 1990, the film industry’s contribution to the economy was negligible. But statistics indicated that the industry, which has a huge African following, was worth 853.9 billion naira (R54bn) or 1.2 percent of gross domestic profit. “It is significant that the economic importance of Nollywood is being better recognised,” said Zach Orji, one of the industry’s most prominent and accomplished artists. – Sapa-AFP