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The majority of data and analysis at Financial Services Briefing is available only to subscribers. Each week, a small share of content from the service is made available to non-subscribers.

Weeks before a wave of revolutions began to spread across North Africa and the Middle East, Côte d’Ivoire held a presidential election at the end of November. It did not produce a clear winner, but instead provoked a political stand-off that spurred international sanctions and, this week, led to a total shutdown of the country’s financial sector.

One by one the largest private banks closed their branches. As the closures mounted, the disputed winner of the November election, Laurent Gbagbo, showed the increasing desperation of his situation by announcing late on February 17th that his government had seized four major international banks: the subsidiaries of Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Citibank and Standard Chartered. This could mark the beginning of the end in Côte d’Ivoire’s political turmoil, as the credit crunch is severely affecting the ability of Mr Gbagbo’s government to function.

Read more at Financial Services Briefing: “Seized up” (February 18th)

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A “robust” recovery is underway for private equity in emerging markets, according to an industry group. The Emerging Markets Private Equity Association notes that buyouts in developing markets reached US$13bn in the first half of this year, up from US$8bn at the same time last year. The rise was driven mainly by activity in China, India and Latin America.

Fundraising is also ahead of last year, with some US$11bn raised in the first six months of 2010, a 22% increase on the previous year. Although investments remain modest in relation to other emerging regions, fundraising in sub-Saharan Africa in the first six months of 2010 surpassed the total raised in the whole of 2009.

The majority of data and analysis at Financial Services Briefing is available only to subscribers. Each week, a small share of content from the service is made available to non-subscribers.

Angola recently announced plans to issue US$4bn worth of bonds in international markets. This would be the largest-ever issue to come from sub-Saharan Africa, made even more exceptional by the fact that Angola does not have a sovereign credit rating.

Investors’ appetite for emerging-market debt is returning, with spreads narrowing and large issues—such as Qatar’s US$7bn deal earlier this week—finding eager buyers. A number of sub-Saharan countries had debut international bonds in the pipeline before the financial crisis struck; the subsequent risk aversion and glut of developed-country debt forced these plans to the shelf. If Angola’s issue is successful, it will inspire others across the continent to revive borrowing plans.

Read more at Financial Services Briefing: “Loans for Luanda” (November 20th)

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