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Undercapitalised commercial banks in South Sudan now risk closure due to the ongoing scrutiny by the Bank of South Sudan to strengthen the banking sector, a report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revealed.

The IMF report No. 23/108, dated March 1, 2023, noted that the said banks account for about “six percent of system assets and 12 percent of deposits”. 

“Over the coming months, the BoSS will lay out plans to address the undercapitalization of the domestic banking sector (MEFP). Several licenced commercial banks, accounting for six percent of system assets and 12 percent of deposits, appear to be undercapitalised,” the report read.

The lender warned that “undercapitalization is unhealthy for financial development and affects the capacity of the banking sector to absorb shocks in economic growth and development.”

It added that the bank had already taken the necessary measures by revoking the licences of “two inactive domestic banks” that were yet to start operations. 

“It is also reviewing the licences of inactive banks that are critically undercapitalised and have ceased operations,” the report elaborated.

Future plans

It stressed that the BoSS Board would begin publishing audited financial statements after the strategy for addressing undercapitalization is approved in June 2023.

“By June 2023, the BoSS Board will approve a time-bound strategy for addressing banking sector undercapitalization as one of the SBs of the PMB,” the IMF noted in the report. 

“The BoSS will proceed to enforce the publication of audited financial statements by all commercial banks operating in South Sudan, and, to enhance transparency, it has also commenced the regular publication of quarterly Financial Soundness Indicators (FSI) for South Sudan’s banking sector on its website.”

But a news report published by The East African on June 3, 2023, stated that BoSS would phase out low-denomination banknotes, reduce cash payments, and prioritise payments through bank accounts.

“Juba is also seeking to reduce the cost of cash transactions by phasing out low denomination banknotes and reduce the cash reliance of the economy through supportive policies, including paying civil servants through bank accounts,” wrote The East African.

“The Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) has disclosed in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Country Report No. 23/108 dated March 2023 that plans are underway to implement an insurance plan for bank depositors as part of a wider East African integration agenda, seeking to protect account holders and boost confidence in the regional banking sector.”

False report

But a reliable source from the Bank of South Sudan who spoke anonymously said such reports were not true as the governor of the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) had not said anything like that.

“I am not sure about this. I don’t know their source of information because the source of information is the governor; if the governor had said this, this could be true,” denied the anonymous source.

Importance of capitalisation

In June 2023, Dr. Moyi Harry Ruben, the acting managing director of Ivory Trading and Investment Company, issued similar sentiments that banks that lack capital are economic baggage.

“Bank capital risk should not be treated lightly because it may affect the whole economy. In other words, excess credit, interest risk, and operational risk could result in a bank’s having insufficient capital to meet losses resulting from loan losses. It may even run short of cash in some cases,” Moyi said. 

He stressed that the Central Bank imposed the policy of adequate capital so that it could defend the economy.

“The important reason why the Central Bank imposes capital adequacy is simply to safeguard the economy and the customer’s deposits, prevent panic withdrawals that may cause a lack of confidence in the banking industry in the country, and influence the functions of a discount window where banks can borrow money from and safeguard confidence in the banking system,” he added.

“Banks need to have several reserves for prudential purposes. If a bank fails to meet its minimum desired level of reserve assets, it may have to turn away customers, loan seekers, and other obligations that fall due.”

Accounts closure

In January 2023, the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) issued an order for the closure of the bank accounts of public institutions like ministries and commissions as well as state governments in commercial banks, asking for the list of exempted banks to be submitted by January 27, 2023.

“In light of the above, the BoSS is hereby directing all commercial banks to close all bank accounts of central government institutions (ministries and commissions) and state governments except donor-funded project accounts of these institutions,” the BoSS said, demanding that the names of these exempted banks be submitted no later than Friday, January 27, 2023. By Mamer Abraham, The City Review

Neddy Jebet Kipngetich, teacher at Tuwo primary Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) centre in a class with children under tree in Tiaty Sub County, Baringo County, February 2020. [Nanjinia Wamuswa, Standard]

The Constitution in Chapter 4 Article 43(1) f provides that every Kenyan citizen is entitled to, among many other rights and freedoms; the right to education.This is in line with the Education for All goals calling on countries to ensure they provide their citizens with free, accessible and equitable education that is in tandem with SDG 4 agenda on provision of free, quality and accessible education to all citizens of the world by 2030. This call has been elusive to most countries in the world.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers alongside other teacher trade unions launched a report on the extent and nature of privatisation and commercialisation of education in Kenya in September, 2022. There is an ongoing debate about private education, notably for-profit education, leading to the commercialisation of education. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education has devoted three consecutive reports to raising alarm on the subject. Against this backdrop, the study demonstrated the increase of private education providers in the education sector. 

Like many other countries, Kenya is slowly recovering from the economic meltdown resulting from the impact of Covid-19. However, for the country to maintain momentum on the gains made on the education front, it is important that the government commits itself more in education provision. Commitment to provide infrastructure, especially the extra classrooms and laboratories for junior secondary schools (JSS) is laudable, plans by TSC to employ 35,000 more teachers on contract terms by the end of 2023 to address workload and understaffing is commendable.

This will go a long way in making public schools more attractive, hence a step in retaining more leaners in public schools. Focus should, however, also be on putting these teachers on permanent and pensionable terms, just like their other colleagues. This will go a long way in promoting equity in service provision. 

It is important to note is that there are various causes of privatisation and commercialisation of education in Kenya which can be categorised as demand and supply factors. They are high demand for education, inadequate public schools, perceived decline in quality of education, increased human population, education policies, availability of trained and unemployed teachers, perception of free basic education, increased number of business entrepreneurs in the education sector, reduced government capitation, differentiated curriculum demand in education, lack of regulation of private schools, distance to school, poor working conditions among teachers in the public school system, demands by students themselves and demands by school management boards.

These triggers can be handled by government if proper investment in education is undertaken. In the 2022/2023 budgetary allocation, Sh544.4 billion was appropriated for the education sector. Sh12 billion was set aside for free primary education with Sh2.5 billion going to teacher recruitment, Sh64.4 billion was for free day secondary schools and Sh5 billion for exams waiver for Grade Six, Class Eight and Form Four students. Sh294.7 billion was allocated to the Teachers Service Commission, Sh6.8 billion to the secondary education quality improvement projects, Sh91.2 billion to university education and Sh15.8 billion to Helb, among other costs.

This allocation is not enough to sustain the education sector given the fact that the population has out grown the available infrastructure and the 100 per cent transition policy by government. It is of our considered opinion that more funds be directed to the sector for the realisation of both local and international commitments on education.

Realising that it is the role of the government to provide free and quality education to children as stipulated in the Sustainable Development Goal number 4 and the Kenyan Constitution, the survey recommended the need for all education stakeholders to be involved in the national dialogue on the best way to regulate private education providers and increase government schools’ presence in identified areas, especially urban informal settlements. 

The study also recommended stringent observance of the Kenya Physical Planning Act (2019) that provides for social amenity spaces in residential areas, revamping public schools to make them more attractive to parents, learners and workers, revised and increased government capitation to public schools, ambitious recruitment of trained teachers to public schools across the country, increase budgetary allocation by the National Government to the quality assurance and standards department to enhance monitoring and regulation of schools.

The survey also recommended a review the boarding schools policy in Kenya, which is the main avenue for commercialisation of education and ensuring the unionisation and protection of the rights of teachers and education support personnel in private schools. We hope these recommendations will help in forming a national dialogue that will address privatisation and commercialisation of education. By Collins Oyuu, The Standard

Uganda’s Hanze Tours Managing Partner Sam Asasiira (L), Felix Ogorgkara of Extreme Adventure Park and Victory Global Impact Director Enock Makanga (R) having a talk during the 1st Edition of the East Africa Regional Hospitality Leadership Summit and Expo in Mombasa, Kenya on May 29, 2023. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Tourism stakeholders in Uganda and Kenya have urged other East African Community partners to resolve pending issues on the use of national identification cards as legal travel documents to boost regional tourism.

While marking milestones since 2014 when the EAC started recognising the use of national IDs as travel documents between Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, Enock Makanga, group managing director of consulting firm Victory Global Impact, said this has improved tourism and the regional economy would benefit if other EAC countries implemented the initiative. 

“We need to streamline easy movement of people to improve tourism within our region,” said Makanga at the first Regional Hospitality Leadership Summit for Eastern Africa held in Mombasa.

In 2014, Presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) – through the Northern Corridor Integration Projects – agreed to recognise the National Identity Card as a travel document within the EAC to boost integration, a policy that enables citizens of the three countries to visit for up to six months without requiring any other documentation.

“We have been introducing special packages for East African residents where they can have lucrative packages to tourists arriving at Kenya’s Coastal sites, to explore Uganda’s natural adventure, leisure, business and cultural attractions that Kampala has to offer,” said Felix Odongkara, Uganda Extreme Adventure Park sales manager. 

Last year, Uganda’s tourism players reached out to Kenya to help bridge market access challenges for Kampala’s hospitality offers.

In return, Kenyan tourists can visit Ugandan sites at discounted prices to supplement safaris. Kenya remains Uganda’s biggest source market for tourists in the region, accounting for 29 percent of total arrivals in 2018, according to figures by the Tourism Research Institute.

According to the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), the lucrative packages give tourists arriving at Kenya’s coastal sites an opportunity to explore Uganda’s natural adventure tourism and culture with unique safaris, mountain gorillas, rare tree climbing lions and over 1,063 bird species. It is also the source of the Nile, the world’s longest river.

In 2022, Kenya received 870,465 tourists, compared with 567,848 in 2020, with the USA topping as the major tourist source with 136,981 visitors, followed by Uganda (80,067), Tanzania (74,051), the United Kingdom 53,264 and India (42,159), according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

The two countries are banking on regional citizen-eased travel requirements to improve the balance of trade by jointly promoting beaches and parks in the region where citizens of the two countries are only allowed to use their national identity cards to cross borders while international tourists will use East Africa single visa to tour the two countries.

Both countries belong to the one-tourism visa programme that also includes Rwanda. 

Under the programme, tourists arriving in one of country can use the same tourist visa to cross to the other. 

The problem has often been the transportation connectivity.

Read: How free movement of people across Africa can work

To boost international tourisms, key players in the sector asked regional governments to implement the Open Skies Policy to ensure Tourism hubs attract more International Airlines in order to boost the economy of the Country through the Tourism Sector.

Open skies policy in civil aviation aims to ease access to national airports for international airlines to increase the flow of tourists and develop their potential as regional hubs. This will see airlines from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and other EAC states operate across borders without restrictions.

Kenya Coast Tourist Association CEO Julius Owino said that they have initiated process to present a position paper to the parliament about the Open Skies Policy.

Mr Owino said that 70 percent of the hospitality business in the country has been benefiting from domestic tourism since post-Covid-19 lockdowns, and as travels restrictions further ease, East African states need to rethink and re-strategise on how to attract more international tourists.

“The main challenge that East Africa is facing as a destination is the connectivity issue because we are getting very few direct flights from international flights like Dubai to Mombasa and the others are charter flights that cannot be fully relied on,” Owino said.
Five years ago, Mombasa used to receive 30 or more charter flights in a month but now it receives fewer than five.

“If the government is not ready to fully implement the open skies policy, we are appealing to it to allow direct flights by airlines such as Turkish and Qatar to bring in more tourists,” said Mr Owino. By ANTHONY KITIMO, NMG

Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi together with CEC Health Habiba Ali flagging off medicines dispatched to health facilities for sub counties.[Ismail Noor, Standard]

Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi has vowed to take stern action against staff who will be guilty of theft of public resources.

While affirming his administration will not fall for the trap of out of court settlement, Abddullahi said those suspected will be taken to court of law to face trial and subsequent jailing.

His remarks come after allegations that hospital equipment belonging to Giriftu Hospital was stolen and some of medical supplies unaccounted for.


The county boss said when grave issues like theft occur, elders throng at his office in defense of the culprits, curtailing justice's course.

"We don’t want theft of medicines at all, the clan elders better tell their boys to stop the vices because they will deal with the police and courts", said Abdullahi. 

He instructed the County Executive Committee member for Health Habiba Ali Maalim to undertake an audit of all hospitals to ascertain if all equipment supplied by the county government, the World Bank, Managed Equipment Services (MES), and non-governmental organizations is there and that medical superintendents should account for it.

Abdullahi said when he assumed office in his second tenure, Wajir General Hospital didn’t even have drip stands, and the nurses were using windows instead, despite procuring hundreds of them.

"We want to motivate our healthcare workers by paying their salary on time, at the latest on the 25th of every month, despite late disbursements of funds from the treasury", Ahmed said. 

He said in three weeks’ time his administration will do a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a three-story building that will house a new accident and emergency unit, intensive care unit, high dependency unit, three Theaters, and a new ward with 44 bed capacity to offset referrals to Nairobi.

The governor said he remains committed to the pledge to restore hope in the county’s health sector.

“I have today flagged off medical supplies that we purchased from KEMSA for use at our Wajir County referral hospital. Within the course of the week, we shall receive the remaining batch for our other 131 health facilities as part of our Sh94 million order for medical products,” he said.

Abdullahi said it is worth noting that the county has cleared all KEMSA's pending bill totalling Sh65 million. By Ismail Noor, The Standard 

Rowan Atkinson - Jamie Lorriman© Jamie Lorriman

Rowan Atkinson has said he feels “a little duped” by electric cars and urged motorists to keep using older petrol vehicles to help save the planet.

The actor, who played Blackadder and Mr Bean and is a self-confessed “car person”, claims new advances in electric battery design will be of “great environmental benefit one day, but that day has yet to dawn”.

In a 1,100-word essay for The Guardian, he explains how despite owning his first hybrid car 18 years ago and then a “pure electric” nine years ago, he now thinks “electric motoring doesn’t seem to be quite the environmental panacea it is claimed to be.”

Describing them as “a bit soulless” but “wonderful mechanisms”, Mr Atkinson, 68, concludes that “our honeymoon with electric cars is coming to an end”.

The actor, who studied an electrical and electronic engineering degree, points out that although electric cars have zero emissions when on the road, their actual manufacture, according to research by Volvo, suggests greenhouse gas emissions during production are 70 per cent higher than petrol vehicles, in part due to the lithium-ion batteries which require “rare earth metals and huge amounts of energy” to create. 

He adds that CO2 emissions could be dramatically reduced if our current fleet of cars bought new were kept by the original owner for five years, rather than sold after an average of just three years.

He writes for the paper that “we’d be enjoying the same mobility, just driving slightly older cars” explaining how a “wider range of options need to be explored”, including hydrogen and synthetic fuels.

He adds: “In terms of manufacture, these cars have paid their environmental dues and, although it is sensible to reduce our reliance on them, it would seem right to look carefully at ways of retaining them while lowering their polluting effect.”

He concludes: “Friends with an environmental conscience often ask me, as a car person, whether they should buy an electric car. I tend to say that if their car is an old diesel and they do a lot of city centre motoring, they should consider a change. But otherwise, hold fire for now. 

“Electric propulsion will be of real, global environmental benefit one day, but that day has yet to dawn.” By Steve Bird, The Telegraph

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