Kenya outruns rest of East Africa

Kenya outruns rest of East Africa

Tanzania: Slow but sure
According to Professor Benno Ndulu, the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania (BOT), Tanzania’s banking sector “is sound, well capitalised and with adequate liquidity”.

Even though Tanzania has the largest population in the East African Community bloc at 45m, the country trails Kenya and Uganda in terms of access to banking. While 12.5% of Tanzanians – 5.6m people – have access to banking services, for Uganda it is 17% and Kenya has seen 70% of its population enjoying regular banking services. This is not necessarily a bad thing for Tanzania as it actually makes its banking sector even more attractive with much room to manoeuvre.

For a decade, Tanzania has maintained a steady average of 6% economic growth with both the IMF and the World Bank now predicting that it will reach 7.2% in 2014. All economic watchers predict a rising economy for Tanzania tin the next decade with the commercialisation of the massive hydrocarbons discovered in offshore Mtwara in southern Tanzania near the border with Mozambique.

CRDB, a successful indigenous Tanzanian bank will now join multinationals Standard Chartered and Barclays in the oil and gas sector. Last year CRDB rolled out agency banking which it had replicated from Kenya and it opened its operations in neighbouring Burundi. As of July this year, CRDB’s profits had reached $64.6m.

The BOT directorate of banking supervision records show that Tanzania has 53 banking institutions composed of 34 fully authorised commercial banks, 12 community banks, five financial institutions and two deposit-taking microfinance institutions. In total Tanzania currently is served by a network of 642 branches.
New governor prepares increase financial access to more Rwandese
In February 2015, John Rwangombwa will be celebrating the second year since he succeeded Claver Gatete as governor of the National Bank of Rwanda (RNB). Maintaining price stability and containing all shocks in the financial sector with little disruptions of the Rwandese franc against major currencies is seen as one of Rwangombwa’s successes.

This banking sector consists of 10 commercial banks, a development and a cooperative bank and four microfinance banks. According to RNB Rwandese banks total assets rose from RWF1.5trillion ($2.18bn) to $2.61bn. Two Kenyan bank subsidiaries, notably Equity Bank Rwanda and KCB Bank Rwanda together with the Bank of Kigali were mentioned as the lenders contributing to the profits growth curve in Rwanda’s banking sector.

Rwanda’s largest bank by assets, the Bank of Kigali (BoK), made an impressive half-year profit topping up the $10.6m it had made last year to reach $14.2m this year. This was an increase of 35% in the half-year net profit in BoK’s books. The same case was recorded in Rwanda’s second-largest indigenous bank Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR).

There was also a marked improvement recorded on the microfinance sector – referred in Rwanda as the savings and credit cooperatives (Saccos) societies sector – which are said to have contributed towards general financial inclusion. The Saccos’ gross loans increased from $74.7m to $92.8m.


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Written by Wanjohi Kabukuru

Wanjohi is an award-winning international editor and journalist, with a specialty in business, geo-politics and environment. He has worked extensively in the multi-cultural environments of more than 10 countries in East, Central and Horn of Africa together with the Indian Ocean nations and is a board member of several international media organisations. Over the last 19 years his articles have been published in publications such as New African, African Business, African Banker, Radio France International (RFI), Inter Press Service (IPS), Diplomat East Africa, BBC Focus on Africa, Mail & Guardian, Africa Renewal and 100Reporters among other numerous publications.

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