Outlook for African banks in 2020 turns negative as operating conditions weaken

The 2020 outlook for African banks has changed to negative from stable, reflecting their weakening operating environment, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report on Friday.

The global economy remains sluggish with negative business sentiment and trade uncertainty clouding growth prospects.

In Africa, government debt is high and GDP growth will remain below potential and insufficient to boost per capital income levels or increase economic resilience.

“Weakening operating conditions are pressuring governments’ credit quality leading to a knock-on effect on banks through reduced business generation, slower credit growth and rising asset risk,” said Constantinos Kypreos, Senior Vice President at Moody’s.

Asset risk will remain high, a result of rising government arrears, high loan concentrations, borrower friendly legal frameworks, and still evolving risk management and supervision capabilities.

According to Moody’s, banks will maintain high exposures to their respective sovereigns, which links and caps their credit profiles to those of their governments.

However, most rated African banks maintain high capital levels, and funding and liquidity in local currency will remain solid in most countries.

Regional variations remain: banks in South Africa, Nigeria, Tunisia and Angola will face the greatest challenges; Egyptian, Moroccan, Mauritian and Kenyan banks will be more resilient.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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