Apr 26, 2018 Last Updated 7:34 AM, Apr 26, 2018

Standard Bank has been voted as the Best Investment Bank in Malawi for 2017 by an authoritative global publication for the finance industry of Europe, Middle East and Africa-EMEA Finance Magazine.

The Magazine singled out for praise Standard Bank’s role in providing investment advisory, equity arrangement and debit facilities to Malawian companies in the consumer, agriculture, oil and gas and real estate sectors.

“We are honoured to be recognised as the best investment bank in Malawi. This recognition confirms our leadership position as Malawi and Africa’s premier equity and debt solutions provider,” said Enock Kondowe, Acting Head, Investment Banking of the Corporate and Investment Banking division of Standard Bank.

Kondowe added that “You can expect to see continued innovation as Standard Bank continues to demonstrate its capabilities to provide financial services solutions tailored to the needs of its clients.”

Standard Bank’s unique product capability across debt financing, structured trade and commodity finance and capital markets advisory, combined with its regional investment banking network, delivers world-class investment banking services to its clients and played a role in winning the award.

Kondowe said the bank is committed to contribute to the country’s economic development through its expertise and the strength it has as part of Africa’s largest bank by assets and with linkages to China.

The bank in Malawi has been involved in some of the most high-profile transactions in Malawi, which include acting as MPICO’s Lead Financial Advisor for a Rights Offer, which was the first ever rights offer issued at a premium on the Malawi Stock Exchange, acting as the mandated lead arranger for the country’s largest locally syndicated transaction and acting as sole financier to the largest bilateral local currency debt deal in 2017.

According to Kondowe, the bank’s involvement in these ground breaking deals further establishes its expertise and experience as the leading Equity Capital Markets franchise and the country’s premier debt financing house. 

Consumers in Malawi are from next year expected to start paying less for calls from one network to another.

It follows a decision by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) to set up maximum call termination rates for wholesale voice services in Malawi.

Call termination rates, also known as interconnection rates, refer to the charges which one telecommunications operator charges another for using its network.

The termination rate is included in the tariff that a consumer pays for making a call to another network different from the one they carry.

According to Godfrey Itaye who is the Director General for MACRA, the proposed implementation follows the completion of the study that MACRA instituted on the development of Cost Models and pricing for wholesale and Retail Tecommunications Service in consultation with all the key stakeholders in the sector.

“The main objective of the study was to develop cost models for regulated wholesale and l and retail telecommunications services in order to establish the cost base and enhance competition,’’ said Itaye.  

He disclosed that based on the cost models, MACRA has set maximum call termination rate on wholesale voice which is currently at 4 US cents per minute.

Itaye added that with effective from 1st January 2018 to 31st December 2018 the maximum call termination rate shall be 2 US cents per minute which is an equivalent of MK14.70 per minute.

“From 1st January 2019 to 31st December the maximum call termination rate shall be 1.2 US cents per minute which is equivalent of MK8.82 per minute,’’ the MACRA boss announced.

Itaye says from 1st January 2020 onwards and until further revision by the Authority, the maximum call termination rate shall be US$0.6 cents per minute which is equivalent of MK4.40 per minute.

The MACRA boss further disclosed that the authority will in the short term continue to monitor and review operator retail tariffs following the introduction of the wholesale price regulation.

This, it says, is aimed at reducing between headline tariff (which are published tariffs or prices without discounts) and effective tariffs which are tariffs or prices charged on voice calls after packages or promotions.

A Karonga resident hopes to help reduce unemployment challenges in the district, following his establishment of a tourist attraction site along the shores of Lake Malawi.

According to Willy Kachaka Mwafongo, the newly established Kilombero Beach Resort will not only reduce the unemployment rate among young people in the country but also promote tourism.

He adds that, Karonga being border district deserves such facilities to attract tourists into Malawi thereby improve the economy.

“We chose to name the resort Kilombero because the well known Kilombero rice comes from here and it is one of the things that the district prides itself for.”

Mwafongo further explained that the history of Malawi reveals that Karonga is one of the first places where the African Lakes Cooperation also called Mandala missionaries (the Moi Brothers) settled and opened shop along the place for economic purposes.

“Malawi government has put tourism as one of the key priorities so we want to contribute to that, regarding the Buy-Malawi Strategy and help Malawians patronising to that.

We have already partnered with Miracle Hotel and Management Training Centre which is here in Karonga who have provided us four young trainees to share us their hotel management skills as interns,” Mwafongo explained.

In addition to that they are hoping to put together a beach soccer team to compete at national level.   

Trade on the local Stock Market is expected to become easier and less time consuming as the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) is automating its system next year.

Traditionally, trade at the market is done physically, with MSE managers and Stock Brokers’ engagement.

In most cases, stock brokers have to travel to the MSE offices where the daily trade is done to see if shareholders of listed companies are offering any of their stock for trade.

Speaking to Capital FM, Chief Operations Manager of the MSE, Esnat Chilije disclosed that  they want to make the process of trading on the bourse more effective and efficient.

Chilije adds that the automation is likely to improve liquidity on the exchange.

The Operations Manager added that the MSE is currently devising ways to entice more people to buy shares form companies listed on the local stock market as it can help them attain financial stability.

“Every person has the capacity to buy shares from MSE despite living id different financial levels,” Chilije said.

There are over ten companies listed on the local bourse, these include First Merchant Bank, Telekom Networks Malawi, Standard Bank and Illovo Sugar Company.

The Malawi Stock Exchange has been in existence since 1994 but started equity trading in November 1996 when it first listed National Insurance Company Limited (NICO).

Prior to the listing of the first company, the major activities that were being undertaken were the provision of a facility for secondary market trading in Government of Malawi securities namely; Treasury Notes and Local Registered Stock. 

Mobile phone network and ICT service provider-TNM is looking forward to closing the year on a high note with an anticipated high margin profit growth.

In their trading statement notice for the last half of the year 2017, the telecommunications Company Secretary Christina Mwansa discloses that they expect a 60 percent profit increase.

The statement, which is in fulfilment of Malawi Stock Exchange listing requirements, comes after the company also post an impressive profit in the first half of the year.

As at the end of June 2017, TNM registered a half year profit of 4.7 Billion Kwacha, which was over twice their annual returns for 2016 where they made 8.2 Billion Kwacha, putting them amongst the companies that performed well this year.

Mwansa however stresses that the expected 60 percent profit after tax growth financial statement, have not yet been audited.

A consolidated financial statement for the firm is expected to be made public by March next year following the board’s approval.

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