MTN Uganda extends offer of shares to Kenya, Uhuru visits Ethiopia to discuss regional peace as Museveni extends IGAD summit date, US makes turn around, sanctions Eritrean government over involvement in Tigray conflict, Kiir fires Finance minister

The US government last week on Friday issued sanctions against forces from Eritrea and its political party for their involvement in the ongoing crisis in northern Ethiopia. Announcing the sanctions, Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern that about “the potential for Ethiopia to implode. According to the executive order signed by POTUS Joe Biden, the sanctions target those responsible for perpetrating the year-long conflict. This comes amidst calls from Ethiopians refuting claims that the armed groups allied against the Ethiopian government were fast advancing toward the capital Addis Ababa.

Protesters on the streets of Addis Ababa called for an end to fake news apparently being perpetrated by Western media and called for the US government to ‘back off’.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stated last week that foreign forces have fought alongside Tigray fighters in recent battles in the Amhara region. “There were white and black people who fought along the Tigray People’s Liberation Front – TPLF and died,” Abiy Ahmed is reported to have said. The TPLF has dismissed the allegations.

The US sanctions issued last week particularly designated the Eritrean Defense Force (EDF) and People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), the only political party in neighbouring Eritrea. The sanctions did not target any individuals or organizations directly associated with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government nor the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), both of which are key parties to the conflict.

Secretary Blinken is scheduled to visit Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal this week. Meanwhile Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday arrived unannounced for a State visit to the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa. He was received by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for what was stated as security talks. Kenyatta’s visit to the capital Addis Ababa on Sunday comes amid an escalation in the yearlong war in northern Ethiopia which is reported to be a threat to peace and security in the country and the entire Horn of Africa. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni was expected to host a summit of the African Union Inter Governmental Authority on Development and it was expected that the summit would discuss the situation in Ethiopia. The summit was however postponed by a week according to Mr Museveni’s Press Secretary Linda Nabusayi. 

Elsewhere South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on Friday sacked both his finance minister and interior minister, without giving reasons for the changes, state television announced.

Kiir removed Athian Ding Athian from the post of finance minister, replacing him with Agak Achuil Lual, while interior minister Paul Mayom Akec was supplanted by Mahmoud Solomon Agook.

Kiir’s press secretary Ateny Wek Ateny said the changes would not affect the functioning of the government which the president of the world’s youngest nation has relentlessly tried to fix amidst springing conflicts.

In business, MTN Uganda has gone shopping for investors in neighbouring Kenya. Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMAK) last week provided its ‘no objection’ for The MTN Uganda Initial Public Offering (IPO) to be marketed in Kenya, allowing the marketing of the shares to both professional and retail investors following the opening of the offer in Uganda on 11th October 2021.

The MTN Uganda IPO offers the sale of 4.4 billion ordinary shares, accounting for a 20 percent stake of the company, at a price of Shs 200 per share. Each prospective shareholder must apply for at least 500 shares, which, if fully allocated, results in a minimum investment of Shs 100,000 per shareholder. The MTN Uganda IPO will close on Monday 22nd November 2021 at 4pm.

According to MTN Uganda chief executive officer, Wim Vanhelleputte, the decision to float shares on the stock market, is part of MTN’s localization agenda aimed at aligning its company’s priorities more closely with the development agendas of its operating markets, and the African continent in particular. This is enshrined in the MTN Ambition 2025 strategy which aims to prioritise local investors with the goal of giving Ugandans and East Africans the opportunity to own part of the company.

“During MTN’s 23 years in Uganda, we have grown tremendously, thanks to the enabling environment availed by the Government of Uganda as well as the unwavering support and trust of the people of Uganda and East Africa as a whole. We look forward to welcoming Ugandan and indeed East African retail investors as part-owners of a company that we have collectively built and that we’ll continue to grow together.”

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