Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Six Gambian banks rated high in world ranking

The parent companies of six of the thirteen banks in The Gambia have been rated among the top 1000 banks in the world by tier one capital, according to the latest ranking by The Banker, the world's premier banking and finance resource.  All six of them also rank prominently among the top 25 banks in Africa.

According to the ranking, Standard Chartered Group, parent company of Standard Chartered Bank Gambia, is the strongest bank in Africa as it is rated 1 out of the Top 100 Banks in Africa and 106 of the Top 1000 World Banks Ranking.

Ecobank Transitional Inc is rated 11 in Africa and 423 in the world.  The other four banks are the parent companies of Zenith Bank (rated 7 in Africa and 287 in the world), followed by Guaranty Trust Bank (ranked 12 in Africa and 429 globally), Access Bank (13 in Africa and 438 in the world), and Skye Bank (21 in Africa and 596 in the world).

The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks ranking has been setting the industry benchmark since 1970, providing comprehensive intelligence about the health and wealth of the banking sector.  The Banker is the key source of data and analysis for the banking industry globally.

Tier 1 capital is the core measure of a bank's financial strength from a regulator's point of view. This term is used to describe the capital adequacy of a bank, and it also refers to the financial health of a bank. The ranking measures the financial strength of the banks.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gov’t denies Gambia at Risk of Debt Distress

The Gambia government has denied that the country is at high risk of debt distress, saying according to auditing done by international organizations, Gambia’s profile, if anything, is not at a debt distress level, contrary to the revelation made by a study report on the establishment of national civil society education fund.

Finance Minister 
The report states that The Gambia is still classified as high risk of debt distress even though the country received extensive debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiatives in 2007.

“No, The Gambia is not in any way at a debt distress level,” said Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Mambury Njie recently.  “I think if anything our recent CPIA rating has improved in a major variable and that is the proper management of the economy.” 


Hon. Sellu Bah
The huge amount of Gambia’s taxpayers’ money spent by the National Water and Electricity Company on the Rural Electrification Project (REP) seems to have gone down the drain as most of the generators are damaged due to poor maintenance, says Basse National Assembly Member Sellu Bah.
“Millions of dalasis or dollars [spent on the REP] have gone down in vain,” Hon. Bah said while seconding three motions tabled before Parliament by the Minister of Finance on Tuesday during a half-day long extra-ordinary meeting of the National Assembly in the 2011 legislative session.  

The total cost of the REP was estimated at US$22.3 million (GMD 223 million) of which $19 million (GMD 190 million) is to be externally funded by the African Development Bank, BADEA and the Islamic Development Bank. The remaining amount is to be funded locally by NAWEC in local currency - the Dalasi.

Gambia ratifies over $60m loan

As usual, the National Assembly has given their consent to two loans amounting to US$62.05 million (almost two billion dalasi) that the Government of The Gambia signed with the Islamic Development Bank in February this year.

Huge amount of Gambia’s budget is paid on interest on loans, which continues to increase yearly.  Many a time 20 – 25% of the country’s annual budget goes to settlement of interest on domestic debts, which use to be less than its international debts.

The National Assembly Members were on Tuesday called to an extra-ordinary meeting to ratify two loan agreements and a grant. The loan agreements are a 20 megawatts Brikama II Power Project amounting to US$25.16 million and the national component of the Ecowas Wide Area Network (ECOWAN) Programme, which is the regional backbone infrastructure and e-governance platform, amounting to US$36.89 million, between the Government of The Gambia and the Islamic Development Bank. 

The grant, which is for the financing of the first phase of the West African Regional Communication Infrastructure Programme amounting to US$35 million, was given to the Gambia government by the International Development Association (IDA), which is the World Bank’s fund for extremely poor countries.

Tabling the motions before parliamentarians, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mamburay Njie, said the 20 megawatt Brikama II Power Project seeks to alleviate the acute electricity supply shortage in the Greater Banjul Area through the installation and commissioning of a 20MW power plant by 2014.

Mambury Njie, Minister of Finance 
“The project will increase the total installed electricity generation capacity by 30% as part of the 30MW electricity expansion drive by the Government of The Gambia,” he said.

On ECOWAN Programme in The Gambia, the finance minister told the lawmakers that the main objective of the project “is to develop and implement” the national component of the ECOWAN regional backbone infrastructure and e-governance platform in The Gambia.

The project would develop WIMAX last mile infrastructure, and the national fiber optic links from Banjul to Basse through the North Bank and from Banjul to Fatoto through the South Bank.

Gambia insurance industry receives a leg up in reinsurance business

The main private reinsurance company in Ghana has just cemented a strong bond of cooperation and service delivery in reinsurance with Gambia insurance companies, in which insurance entities in The Gambia would have the outlet of ceding business to the Ghana concern. 

Mainstream Reinsurance Company Limited of Ghana therefore held a two-day seminar for Gambia insurance entities to strengthen and reinforce their relationship, on 5 September 2010 at the Laico
Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.

“This seminar is to build on the existing relation between Mainstream Reinsurance Company and the Gambia insurance market,” said Dr Kwame Adom Frimpong, managing director of Mainstream Reinsurance Company, who is the head of the Ghanaian delegation to The Gambia.  “So the meeting is to reinforce and strengthen the relationship on cordial basis and I am sure after this seminar the good ties between the insurance companies in The Gambia and Mainstream Reinsurance Company will widen.”

The Gambia insurance market is said to be among the biggest contributors, by way of ceding business to Mainstream Reinsurance Company since its inception.  

Dr Frimpong, MD Mainstream Reinsurance
“We have been dealing with the Gambia insurance companies for a long time and now is time to pay back the benefits we have got from you [the Gambia insurance industry],” Dr Frimpong said during the seminar held at the Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.  He added:  “We decided to organize this seminar not in Ghana but to come to your doorstep so that you would also benefit from us.” 

The insurance tycoon said his company has had a lot of benefits from insurance companies in The Gambia, which prompted them to come to the country to offer some assistance from the benefits they are deriving from the Gambia market. “So it’s just a reciprocal benefit we are giving to the Gambia insurance industry,” he remarked.
He said as part of the seminar they would interact with Gambia insurance companies to know the problems they are encountering with regard to reinsurance business and discuss how best they could strengthen this relationship between the insurance companies in The Gambia and Mainstream Reinsurance.