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11 Dec 2017   Africa

How African Microfinance Lenders Can Gain Access to Capital Markets

Microfinancing institutions (MFIs) have for years played a key part in driving growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. As investment needs and businesses grow, finding and establishing new channels of funding is becoming a top priority for MFIs – and the debt capital markets could be the answer.

Telecoms Boom to Drive MENA Infrastructure Development Programmes

As GCC states embark on their massive USD3tn infrastructure development journey, the arrival of Amazon, Oracle and other global tech giants could push the telecoms sector into the frontline of that programme. But finding the funding for this costly venture at a time when oil prices are still low and coffers are thinning could prove challenging for the region.

Emerging Markets’ Greatest Bond Villain: Venezuela Enters Record-Breaking Default

In one of the strangest debt crises in recent history, a defiant president Maduro vowed to continue servicing Venezuela’s debt as global ratings and debt settlement agencies declared the sovereign and state-oil giant PDVSA in default. How long can the charade continue?

Markets Tense Up as Justice Rules Kenyan Election Void

The Supreme Court decision to invalidate the results of Kenya's 8 August election has been hailed as an impressive victory for democracy in Africa. But as the candidates gear up for a new poll, risks of potential public discontent and even a constitutional crisis pose difficult questions for regulators and the markets alike.

Exchanges Play a Crucial Role in Developing the Sustainable Finance Market

Stock exchanges play a crucial role as an intermediary between investors and issuers, but their role in the sustainable finance market – as platform and infrastructure providers, as facilitators of cross-market standards development, and as educators bringing visibility to new asset classes – is so much wider than that. We speak with Robert Scharfe, CEO of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, a leader in sustainable finance with over half of the world’s green bonds listed on its exchange, on how to attract more investors and borrowers to the market.

Banking Sector Jitters Put a Squeeze on Interbank Lending in Russia

As the Russian economy slowly stabilizes, ongoing banking sector consolidation has led to an increasing number of lenders losing their licences, putting pressure on the systemically important banks and threatening to halt the recovery.

Investors Eye Zambian Reforms as Lungu Faces Crucial Test

Rising tensions between the Zambian government, led by President Edgar Lungu, and opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, have done little to deter investors who are closely watching the country as it looks to clinch a critical IMF funding programme. They should not be so quick to dismiss the recent escalation that led to Hichilema's arrest and its implications for governance in the Sub-Saharan African country.

The Idea of Pension Reform in the GCC Needs to Come out of Retirement

Despite depressed oil prices and a broader economic slowdown which has led to record unemployment in the GCC, the topic of pension reform has garnered shockingly little attention. Whether considered from the perspective of taking better care of a rapidly ageing population, or further – some would argue, much needed – development of the region’s asset management sector, it’s an idea whose time has come.

Green Bonds: The Next Wave in the Middle East

The rapid growth of green finance has sparked interest from many audiences. The use of bonds to finance green projects have become an exciting market development, with demand from investors consistently outstripping supply. Across the globe, borrowers and investors are keen to engage in sustainable financing opportunities and we have seen increasing activities in Asia, paving the way for the markets in the Middle East to take off.

The Existential Crisis of AT1 Capital in MENA

Last year saw record levels of capital markets activity in the Middle East. Banks were no exception and joined the frenzy, and, with Basel III requirements slowly coming into force, issued ample Additional Tier 1 (AT1) instruments to boost their capital ratios. But bankers and investors are anticipating a plateau in both supply and demand – though largely for different reasons.

 

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