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EXCLUSIVE: Norway, Netherlands Defend Dfcu Bank; Urge Kasaija to Contain ‘Negative Propaganda’

The governments of Norway and Netherlands have expressed concern over a sustained string of “rumours” and “negative propaganda” against Dfcu bank Limited, the owners of Dfcu Bank, saying the negative information could “impact investor confidence and foreign direct investment in Uganda.”

This is the first time a European government is appealing to the Ugandan government to address what it calls fake news about Dfcu Bank.

Arise B.V., a joint venture comprising Norfund (the Norwegian Investment fund for developing Countries), Rabo Development BV and FMO (the Dutch Development Bank) holds the majority stake in Dfcu.

Arise B.V.’s in 2017 provided Dfcu USD 50m to bridge financing that enabled it diversify its service offerings to its clients.

In a letter to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija dated July 17, the two European governments said they both view Uganda as a “strategic business investment destination” and have invested in both the public and private sector of the country.

The governments said investors from both countries “are committed to advancing the Ugandan economy, contributing to job creation, promoting financial inclusion and increasing export opportunities.”

Annlaug Ronneberg and Henk Jan Bankker, the charge d’Affaires of the Kingdom on Norway and Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands respectively, said the investor confidence in Uganda was “further solidified with the formation of Arise B.V., which is the majority shareholder in Dfcu Ltd and is and is owned by a group of Norwegian and Dutch Investors, namely, Norfund and NorFinance, FMO and Rabobank.”

The envoys went ahead to note that the “Norwegian and Dutch governments have provided direct financial support to Norfund and FMO respectively,” adding, “Arise’s core mandate is to partner with local financial service providers in Africa to advance economic growth and promote financial inclusion.”

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Concerns  

The diplomats told Kasaija that they were “made aware of rumors and negative propaganda in the media, particularly social media platforms, against Dfcu Bank limited, and we wish to express our concern over these rumors, which may impact investor confidence and direct investor confidence and foreign direct investment in Uganda.”

The European governments appear to be mobilising support from government to act on the source of the rumors about Dfcu Bank.

Some of the reports indicated that Arise B.V. would quit Dfcu, a claim both investors and European governments dismissed as false.

The local media recently quoted former Crane Bank boss Sudhir Ruparelia denying as the source of the negative stories against Dfcu.

He said those accusing him of undermining Dfcu should “bring evidence”.

Dfcu bought Crane Bank from Bank of Uganda almost two years ago and has since then struggled with negative rumors.

The European diplomats told Kasaija that “some of the rumors or fake news falsely reported that Arise would disinvest from Dfcu Bank Limited. This as you might see from the enclosed memo from Arise to the Embassies of Norway and Netherlands, is a misrepresentation of facts.”

ChimpReports understands Arise also expressed concern and stated that the “likely intention of these unsubstantiated rumors was to undermine the operations of Dfcu Bank and to cast doubt on the bank’s long-term viability.”

The two governments, which spend millions of dollars on development aid to Uganda, urged Kasaija to intervene.

“In the interests of nurturing and fostering good business relations between Norway, the Netherlands and Uganda, we would appreciate your intervention in mitigating the possible consequences of these rumors to Dfcu Bank Limited and the local financial services sector in general,” said Annlaug and Bakker.

“We are at your disposal to discuss these issues in more detail, and look forward to continuing our investment partnership with your country.”

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