WASHINGTON, September 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today issued a 150 million kwacha bond—equivalent to approximately $28.4 million—to support domestic capital markets and increase access to local-currency finance in Zambia.
The issue, dubbed “Zambezi” bond, is IFC’s first kwacha-denominated bond. It is also the first placement by a nonresident issuer in Zambia’s domestic capital markets, and the first issuance under the IFC Pan-Africa Domestic Medium Term Note Programme.
“Vibrant domestic capital markets create access to long-term, local-currency finance for the private sector—the key engine of job creation in emerging markets,” said Jingdong Hua, IFC Vice President and Treasurer. “The IFC Zambezi bond supports our efforts to deepen domestic capital markets in Africa, so they can sustain a thriving private sector in the region.”
In July 2013, IFC received approval for a local-currency bond program in Zambia. Under the program IFC can issue bonds of up to 2.5 billion Zambian kwachas (approximately $460 million). Standard Bank and Stockbrokers Zambia Ltd. are co-lead arrangers for the program.
The four-year bond was designed to appeal to a broad range of domestic and international investors looking to diversify their portfolios. The order book was over 700 million kwacha, equivalent to an oversubscription of 4.8 times. Investors include Zambian pension funds, international and domestic asset managers, insurance companies, and banks. The bond was issued at par and priced with a yield of 15 percent p.a.
IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Oumar Seydi said: “The IFC Zambezi bond supports the efforts of the government and authorities to deepen domestic capital markets in Zambia. Such markets are an important source of local-currency funding, in line with IFC’s strategy for broader private sector development through micro, small and medium enterprises and other essential economic sectors.”
In May 2012, IFC launched its Pan-African Domestic Medium-Term Note Programme, which focuses on Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. Proceeds from the program will be used to support IFC’s private sector development program.
IFC issues local currency denominated bonds as part of its regular program of raising funds for private sector development, and to support the development of domestic capital markets. In many cases IFC is the first, or among the first, nonresident issuers. IFC bonds are rated triple-A by Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s.
WASHINGTON, September 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
September 13, 2013
Ambassador Donald Booth, U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, travels to Sudan and South Sudan this week for a series of high-level meetings with government officials, members of civil society, and representatives of international and regional organizations.
This is Ambassador Booth’s first trip to the region as the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. During his visit, Ambassador Booth will express the United States’ deep concern at the lack of progress made by Sudan and South Sudan in fully implementing the September 2012 accords brokered by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).
Respect for human rights, the critical need for humanitarian access to conflict areas, and above all the importance of working for inclusive and representative governance will also be high on his agenda.
During his visit, Ambassador Booth will underscore the United States’ commitment to the goal of two viable states at peace internally, with one another, and with their neighbors. In this regard, the United States continues to support the efforts of the African Union and to work with other international partners to promote sustainable peace between Sudan and South Sudan.
MONROVIA, Liberia, September 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Ms. Corinne Deléchat, visited Monrovia from September 4-14, 2013 to conduct the second review of the government’s economic program supported by the IMF under an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. The mission met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Senate President Gbehzohngar M. Findley, Minister of Finance Amara Konneh, Central Bank Governor Joseph Mills-Jones, and other high-level government officials. In addition, the mission had constructive discussions with members of the donor community, the Legislature, and the private sector.
At the end of the visit, Ms. Deléchat issued the following statement:
“Liberia’s economic outlook remains favorable, with output expected to expand by 8.1 percent in 2013 and around 7 percent in 2014. This strong performance reflects higher-than-anticipated iron ore production and an acceleration in non-mining real GDP growth boosted by robust private and public investment in line with the government’s development strategy, the Agenda for Transformation. Inflation (in Liberian dollar terms) is projected to pick up to 8 percent in 2013 owing to higher domestic and international food prices and recent exchange rate depreciation pressures, and to gradually decline to 6 percent in 2014. While uncertainty in the global economic environment poses downside risks to the growth outlook, this risk is offset by the coming on stream of new mining and agricultural concessions in the next few years, which could lead to higher growth over the medium term.
”The fiscal outturn for 2013 was broadly in line with the program. Total revenue including grants exceeded the projections, though core revenues fell short of the program targets. Total spending was above the program, owing in part to higher current spending. Externally financed capital spending was below the government targets reflecting implementation bottlenecks and delays in approving and distributing last year’s budget. As a result, the overall fiscal deficit for 2013 amounted to 1.6 percent of GDP, some of which was financed by the use of deposits.
“Program implementation has been challenging in some areas. Reserves declined below the agreed targets in June, in part due to higher sales of foreign exchange by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) in the context of the depreciation pressures. Solid progress was made in the implementation of the structural agenda, though a number of benchmarks were met with delay. In this context, the authorities and IMF staff reached agreement, ad referendum, on a package of policies that would allow the government to strengthen its buffers to address external shocks and to improve public financial management. In particular, the authorities indicated that they were committed to (i) rebuilding reserves and strengthening U.S. dollar and Liberian dollar liquidity management, including through improving the functioning of the foreign exchange auction and continuing to issue CBL bills, and (ii) identifying budgetary space to compensate for the expenditure overruns while enhancing budget execution monitoring.”
“Pending the regular internal review process, these policy commitments will pave the way for the conclusion of the second review of the ECF-supported program by the IMF Executive Board. The mission wishes to thank the authorities for their hospitality, and the quality of the policy dialogue.”
GENEVA, Switzerland, September 19, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Rwandan women MPs now account for nearly two thirds of all legislators in the country’s lower house of parliament following this week’s elections.
According to the Rwandan National Electoral Commission, nearly 64 per cent of all seats in the lower house are now held by women MPs, a significant jump from 56.3 per cent in the previous parliament.
It means Rwanda continues to have the only parliament in the world where women MPs are in the majority and cements the country’s no. 1 position in IPU’s global ranking of women in parliament. It has held this position since the 2008 elections.
Although 30 per cent of parliamentary seats are reserved for women under a quota system, Rwanda has far exceeded this percentage in the last two elections. A primary reason is the higher placement of women in the electoral lists under the proportional representation system used in Rwanda.
“This reflects a political will to put women on an equal footing with men in political representation and a strong presence of women on the political landscape,” says Zeina Hilal, IPU Gender Officer. “A lot of effort has also been made in sensitizing parliament to gender issues with IPU support, whilst Rwandan society too has become much more receptive to women as politicians.”
BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, September 19, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission issued the following statement today:
“I remain deeply concerned that the Government of the State of Eritrea continues to violate its human rights obligations, under both domestic and international law. I refer in particular to the continued detention without charge, trial or legal counsel – since 18 September 2001 – of eleven prominent members of Parliament and of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, and also – since 23 September 2001 – of ten independent journalists, including the Eritrean-EU citizen Dawit Isaak. Despite repeated appeals by the international community, including by the U. Human Rights Council and the EU, these people have been detained for the last twelve years without any contact with the outside world, and with all their rights suspended.
While in 2013 some journalists and media operators were freed, there were allegations of new arrests and detention without trial, including following the 21st January 2013 events. I am also very concerned about the reported deaths of some of the political prisoners and the deterioration of the medical situation of others.
The continued lack of information on the whereabouts and the access to health care of the detainees is in clear violation of several human rights obligations, such as the prohibition of arbitrary detention and the right of anyone deprived of his or her liberty to be treated with human dignity.
These are enshrined in the U. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which has been ratified by Eritrea.