Business

Tanzania Women Bank chief backs empowerment

Women in Tanzania have been urged to attend in big number the commemoration of this year’s World’s Women Day on March 15, in Dar es Salaam and discuss better ways of empowering women. Tanzania Women Bank (TWB) Chief Executive Officer Margareth Chacha (right), stresses a point to journalists (not in picture) in Dar es Salaam over the weekend on the forthcoming International Women Day on March 15. Left is the Manager for Mwanamakuka Awards who is also the Chairperson of Unit of Women Friends, Ms Maryam Shamo A member of Mwanamakuka Award initiative who also doubles as the Executive Director of Tanzania Women’s Bank (TWB), Ms Margareth Chacha, told a news conference in Dar es Salaam over the weekend that the event would be special and crucial to women. “We will meet and chart a best way to continue empowering Tanzanian women economically,” she said. She said her bank sponsored women through Mwanamakuka Awards with a sole intention to elevate women and attain sustainable development. She explained that her bank want to see more women engaging in entrepreneurship activities and that it plans to extend its sponsorship to the Award. Ms Chacha noted that of the eight per cent of Tanzanians who access banking services, women account for only two per cent and that time was now ripe to add the number of women in the formal financial services in the country. “There are historical reasons behind that but things are improving,” she said. She emphasised the importance of women to create groups and facilitate the process of acquiring loans from her bank and ultimately improve their businesses. On her part, the Manager for Mwanamakuka Awards who is also a Chairperson of Unit of Women Friends, Ms Maryam Shamo, explained that during the event there would be exhibitions and various sports. “We will award this year’s victors and also present gifts to 2012 and 2013 overall winners,” she noted. Many prominent business women and politicians are expected at the event. Source Tanzania Daily News

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NMB bags 132.5bn/- profit

The National Microfinance Bank (NMB), has posted a staggering net profit of almost 132.5bn/- for its operations last year, mainly pushed up by net interest income. The pro-poor bank, which has the widest network coverage of branches and ATMs, posted a net profit of 36.5bn/- at the quarter ended December 2013, doubling from 17.2bn/- of the corresponding period a year before. The profit was mainly attributed to net interest income that generated 328.09bn/- last year against 278.6bn/- in 2012. The revenue from loans proceeds was driven up by expansion of the loan portfolio, which grew to 1.63tr/- from 1.50tr/- of the previous year while customer deposits rose to 2.55tri/- from 2.58tri/- of the previous quarter. While prudent lending seems to have helped the bank to maintain lower non-performing assets (loans), below the industry rate, at 2.06 per cent, although is slightly up from 1.93 per cent of the previous quarter. The NPLs were down by almost 5bn/- to 25.8bn/-. The bank assets grew by 4.17 per cent to 3.29tr/- while customer deposits reached 2.55tr/- at the end of last year. In 2005, the bank was privatised and partly divested its shareholding 49 per cent to a consortium led by the Coˆperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen- Boerenleenbank BA (‘Rabobank Group’). In 2008, the government offloaded its 30 per cent shares to the general public in an initial public offer (IPO) and NMB staff. In the meantime, CRDB bank net income increased to 20.37bn/- in the quarter ended December last year compared to 20.11bn/- of the corresponding period 2012. Similarly the profit for the year jumped to 84.2bn/- from 77.8bn/- registered at the end of 2012. The outstanding performance of the profit is attributed to the increase in net interest income to 234.6bn/- in the period under review from 206.15bn/- of the corresponding quarter in 2012. The loans, advances and overdrafts jumped up to 1.98tri/- in the quarter in question compared to 1.90 recorded in the previous period. Similarly, customer deposits increased to 2.99tri/- compared to 2.85tri/-. Source Tanzania Daily News

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EPZA woos investors to venture into Lake Zone

Investors from within and outside the country have been urged to take advantage of the thriving Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the Lake Zone regions. The call was made by the Director General of Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), Dr Adelhelm Meru, when presenting a paper on Investment Opportunities in EPZs and SEZs at the just ended Lake Zone Investment Forum. A total of 3,500 hectares ors have been earmarked in Usagara and Nyangamango areas in Misungwi District, Mwanza Region for EPZ and SEZ with plans to develop it as a modern industrial cum commercial township. A total of 1,000 hectares have been earmarked in Kahama District, Shinyanga Region. 1,360 hectares have been earmarked in Bunda, Mara Region. The area will be developed as a modern industrial cum commercial township. “EPZA in collaboration with regional authorities continue to secure EPZ/SEZ sites in Kagera, Simiyu and Geita,” he noted. Talking on the benefits of SEZ/EPZS investments in the Lake Zone, Dr Meru mentioned promotion of value addition, promotion on new technologies, promotion of cross border trade (exports), employment creation, revenue collection at district and municipal levels and income generation at household level among others. He said that SEZ and EPZ were very effective in Asia, Far East and Middle East and that countries like China, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Phillipines, have developed export-led economies through EPZ and SEZ concepts. Giving other countries experience especially China he said the Asian country has in the past 30 years, achieved phenomenal economic growth and an unprecedented development ‘miracle’ in human history. Quoting the World Bank, Dr Meru said that China’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been growing at an average annual rate of more than nine per cent and in 2010, it has surpassed that of Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy. “Although policy makers, business people and scholars all over the world continue to debate these topics, one thing is clear: the numerous special economic zones (SEZs) and industrial clusters that emerged after the country’s reforms are without doubt two important engines of China’s remarkable development,” he noted. He said that his authority has earmarked EPZ/SEZ sites in 19 regions with 500 – 9,000 hectares each in Tanzania and that investors were invited to develop basic Infrastructure in the zones. He mentioned EPZ/SEZ Investment Opportunities in Lake Zone as agro processing cotton, sunflower, coffee, processing of meat and diary products, leather processing, mineral processing, fish processing, honey processing, light assembling, ICT and trading. EPZA continues to gain ground in Tanzania. Statistics shows that the authority had a target to get USD 300 million investment capital in 2013, but surpassed the target and brought into the country a capital totalling USD 498 million up to December last year. According to available information the authority had planned to create 5,200 new jobs last year and end up doubling the target by creating 10,200 jobs through new investments that took place in the authority’s areas. EPZA had earlier targeted to export products worth USD 100 million last year but surpassed target as well and exported products worth USD 105 million. Source Tanzania Daily News

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Mombasa to become a free trade zone

Nairobi – Mombasa has moved closer to becoming a free trade zone following an approval by the Kenyan Cabinet last week. This sets the stage for the country’s Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development to roll the Kenya’s first free trade area, with a view to wresting some of the traffic in places such as Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Kenya – a net importer – will be eyeing the East, Central and Southern Africa regions to spend more cash in Mombasa because of economic incentives such as zero duty. This is the country’s first significant step towards boosting trade volumes while relatively reducing the import bill. “The envisioned free trade zone will enable goods to enter into the zone duty-free, where traders from Kenya and the region can buy them without having to travel to traditional destinations like Dubai, China and Japan,” the country’s presidency said in a statement. Mombasa is expected to begin operations as a free port with trade focusing on motor vehicles, household goods and construction materials. It is anticipated to create a significant number of new jobs. Free trade zones will be created by the Special Economic Zones Act once enforced to repeal the Export Processing Zones law. Agencies

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IMF asks KRA to suspend plans to split

NAIROBI: Kenya has been asked to shelve plans to split the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) into two semi-autonomous entities — the Domestic or Inland Tax Agency and the Customs and Border Control Agency. Commissioner General of Kenya Revenue Authority, Mr John Njiraini The International Monetary Fund (IMF) wrote a report to KRA last year opposing the plans. Officials aware of the plans say the authority may agree with the IMF recommendations that Kenya currently does not have the capacity to run the two entities independently. In its report, IMF says there is need to strengthen customs’ core functions in the future and in particular on its border protection and trade facilities and modification of the current KRA structure. “There is need for a programme to strengthen the KRA’s capacity to manage taxpayers’ compliance,” reads part of the December 12, 2013 report. The report proposes that given unresolved issues that need to be addressed, a phased implementation that would not adversely affect revenue or trade flows would be the most appropriate approach in Kenya. Yesterday KRA Chairman Marsden Madoka confirmed the report by IMF, saying they were studying it before appropriate decision is made. “We are waiting for a report from the committee that was set up after the President announced creating two agencies and study the IMF recommendation before we decide. IMF can have their own report but this does not stop us from implementing what we believe as the best,” Madoka said. President Uhuru Kenyatta last August said the planned reforms will make KRA more responsive, efficient and effective in revenue collection. He said the move was in line with East African Community agreements and will facilitate trade and enhance security. The development came as lobbying for a major post at the authority went a notch higher amid reports of a split between the Treasury and KRA on who should be commissioner in charge of the Investigation and Enforcement. This follows the retirement of Commissioner of Investigation and Enforcement Joseph Nduati in November, 2013. The retirement of Mr Nduati has triggered internal changes in succession battle. Several names have been mentioned as the possible successors of Nduati as KRA awaits a report from an external human resource firm contracted to conduct initial interviews. Currently, Senior Deputy Commissioner George Muya is holding the position in acting capacity. Muya worked as Nduati’s deputy for three years. A new structure that will come into effect next month will see the position of Senior Deputy Commissioner scrapped. By CYRUS OMBATI and GEOFFREY MOSOKU, The Standard

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YouthConnekt launches Mobile Apps for Human Development Challenge in Rwanda

The Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICT, UNDP in close collaboration with Motorola Solutions will power a Mobile App Challenge that will be implemented by YouthConnekt. The challenge will promote job creation and youth empowerment utilizing mobile technologies.  Recognizing the catalytic natures of mobile technologies in fostering Human Development, UNDP and Motorola have entered into a partnership to address some of these challenges and further stimulate the diffusion of mobile initiatives on a larger scale. In Rwanda, there are many social innovators who are already pioneering mobile solutions for human development. Local social innovators are taking advantage of the lower entry barriers for app development. Solution in the areas of Human Development –Education, Governance, Health, Agriculture and Gender.  The Challenge is expected to help entrepreneurs grow businesses – efficiently and effectively. Providing the winners with seed funding for their successful proposals, we help them to scale and grow successful, sustainable businesses and in turn create jobs for young people and stimulate the local economy. Cash prizes range from USD 1,000 – USD 6,000. In addition to the cash prize, the first winner will receive business training and mentoring by successful entrepreneurs throughout the initial phase of their start-up. The challenge is for young people between 18 and 35 years of age. All applications should be made via the online application. Deadline for proposals is the 25th of February, 2014. While launching the challenges, the Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana noted that “We are going to have a challenge to really test your abilities to be able to transform the skills that you have in terms of mobile programming but also our understanding of the development and how we can merge the two, and be able to solve the real life challenges. He added that we all agreed that mobile applications hold a very great promise not only for our social economic development but also for job creation for individual developers. YouthConnekt was initiated by the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) in 2012 as a platform to connect young Rwandans and increase their participation in the country’s socio-economic transformation. The initiative has since spun off a number of well-established programs such the YouthConnekt Dialogue and YouthConnekt Awards. YouthConnekt Hangout brings together various partners including UNDP, ADMA, Tigo Rwanda, Zilencio Creativo, BSC Ltd and HeHe Ltd to create a platform for youth, government, development partners, private sector and civil society to connect youth to opportunities for their personal and socio-economic development

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Consider an investment club

Investment clubs/ groups have become a formidable alternative to mobilising savings, which are eventually invested to accumulate wealth for members. Lack of savings should not be an excuse to delay your investment aspirations given the anecdotal evidence of well organised groups launching members into investors. Ground rules Despite this rosy picture, do not ignore the fact that the success of an investment group hinges on a number of factors you have to get right at the formative stage. The media has been awash with stories of unscrupulous individuals taking off with members’ savings. To avoid this, the group must have ground rules for such initiatives to have a firm footing. With a number of safe guards, you can benefit from the advantage of numbers to achieve your investment plans faster than the option of going it alone.  However, investment clubs should be one of the several means of mobilising funds. Membership For starters, the calibre of membership is critical in the success of this initiative. Carefully select a group of like-minded people from a cross section of sectors and competencies with a high level of trust as criteria. The selection of membership is also crucial if the issue of commitment is to be considered. Most people’s lives are characterised by busy schedules therefore high level of commitment is crucial in compelling members to allocate time for meetings. Once you have members on board, agree on common goals, risks and rewards associated with such groupings and a name. Agreement Next is dealing with an operating agreement that spells out the governance structure, which is key, if you are to avoid glitches in future. The legal document should spell out how the leadership and supporting roles are appointed and the roles and responsibilities therein. These should also indicate the issue of share holding and membership. It should clearly spell out the rights enjoyed by the founding membership and those members joining at a later stage. This directly relates to the minimum amount to be contributed. Contribution Some clubs set a minimum amount but allow contributions over and above that amount for investors who want higher returns on investment. In addition, members must agree on how they will handle pay outs and exits. Strategic plan Another important aspect is to have a vision and a clear strategic plan that is understood by the members. They should be aware that they are investing for the long-term. That’s why selection of members who share this vision is key to achieving this. You can be ambitious and look towards achieving robust growth, generate high returns for members or even plan to be listed on the stock exchange in 15 years or less. This strategic plan should spell out your investment goals in the different asset classes both locally and abroad. Formalise While the initial stage of formation can be informal depending on the level of income, it’s important that the group is formalised as quickly as possible. This will facilitate the process of opening a bank account with signatories that do not allow a few individuals to easily access the funds. You will need Articles of Association to open an account. There should be about three signatories to the account...

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