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BMGF, CBN, Others Target 40 Million Financially-excluded Nigerians

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  • BMGF, CBN, Others Target 40 Million Financially-excluded Nigerians

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Communications Commission and other stakeholders in the country are collaborating to bring on board 40 million Nigerians currently excluded from financial services.

The Deputy Director, Financial Services for the Poor, BMGF, Kosta Peric, announced the collaboration in Lagos during the BusinessDay Financial Inclusion Summit.

He said the move was critical considering that financially excluded Nigerians would have difficulties in planning and getting out of poverty.

According to him, it is important that such persons are equipped with the capacity to transact financial services, which will further expose them to broader financial deals like micro credits, loans and capital market participation, among others.

Peric said, “The BMGF is working with a number of partners in Nigeria to achieve the goal of dropping to 20 per cent financial exclusion by 2020. The partners include regulators, financial services providers and operators within the space.

“The Foundation, while philanthropic, does not seek to focus on their monetary contributions, but are rather driven by impact.”

Every year, according to the Foundation, millions of people around the world transition out of poverty in many number of ways by adopting new farming technologies, investing in new business opportunities, or finding new jobs, among others.

At the same time, it noted that large numbers of people were falling back into poverty due to health problems, financial setbacks and other shocks. Compounding this situation, it added, was the fact that majority of those living in or near poverty lacked even the most basic banking services.

“Effective tools for saving, sending and borrowing money, and mitigating financial risks can help people weather setbacks and achieve greater financial stability over the long term,” it stressed.

Worldwide, more than 2.5 billion adults do not have accounts at financial institutions, according to the World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion Database. Only 41 per cent of adults in developing economies have an account, and that number drops to just over 20 per cent among adults living in extreme poverty.

Women, in particular, are largely excluded from the formal financial system. In developing countries, only 37 per cent of women have accounts, compared to 46 per cent of men, according to the World Bank.

Peric said most poor households were operating almost entirely in the cash economy, particularly in the developing world; of which they use cash, physical assets (such as jewellery and livestock), or informal providers (such as money lenders and payment couriers) to meet their financial needs, from receiving wages to saving money.

However, these informal mechanisms can be insecure, expensive and complicated to use, he said, adding that they offered limited recourse when a major problem arises, such as a serious illness in the family or a poor harvest.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Gold

Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021

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Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021

Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.

The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.

According to Michael McCarthy, the Chief Market Strategies, CMC Markets, the surged in gold price is a result of the projected drop in dollar value or uncertainty.

He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”

As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.

Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.

Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Holds Steady Above $55 Per Barrel on Tuesday

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Crude Oil Holds Steady Above $55 Per Barrel on Tuesday

Brent Crude oil, against which Nigerian crude oil is priced, rose from $54.46 per barrel on Monday to $55.27 per barrel as of 9:03 am Nigerian time on Tuesday.

Last week, Brent crude oil rose to 11 months high of $57.38 per barrel before pulling back on rising COVID-19 cases and lockdowns in key global economies like the United Kingdom, Euro-Area, China, etc.

While OPEC has left 2021 oil demand unchanged and President-elect Joe Biden has announced a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, experts are saying the rising number of new cases of COVID-19 amid poor vaccine distribution could drag on growth and demand for oil in 2021.

On Friday, Dan Yergin, vice-chairman at IHS Markit, said in addition to the stimulus package “There are two other things that are going with it … one is of course, vaccinations — in the sense that eventually this crisis is going to end, and maybe by the spring, lockdowns will be over.”

“The other thing is what Saudi Arabia did. This is the third time Saudi Arabia has made a sudden change in policy in less than a year, and this one was to announce (the) 1 million barrel a day cut — partly because they are worried about the impact of the surge in virus that’s occurring,” he said.

Also, the stimulus being injected into the United States economy could spur huge Shale production and disrupt OPEC and allies’ efforts at balancing the global oil market in 2021.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Pulled Back Despite Joe Biden Stimulus

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Crude Oil Pulled Back Despite Joe Biden Stimulus

Crude oil pulled back on Friday despite the $1.9 trillion stimulus package announced by U.S President-elect, Joe Biden.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, pulled back from $57.38 per barrel on Wednesday to $55.52 per barrel on Friday in spite of the huge stimulus package announced on Thursday.

On Thursday, OPEC, in its latest outlook for the year, said uncertainties remain high in 2021 with the number of COVID-19 new cases on the rise.

OPEC said, “Uncertainties remain high going forward with the main downside risks being issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior.”

“These will also include how many countries are adapting lockdown measures, and for how long. At the same time, quicker vaccination plans and a recovery in consumer confidence provide some upside optimism.”

Governments across Europe have announced tighter and longer coronavirus lockdowns, with vaccinations not expected to have a significant impact for the next few months.

The complex remains in pause mode, a development that should not be surprising given the magnitude of the oil price gains that have been developing for some 2-1/2 months,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said.

Still, OPEC left its crude oil projections unchanged for the year. The oil cartel expected global oil demand to increase by 5.9 million barrels per day year on year to an average of 95.9 million per day in 2020.

But also OPEC expects a recent rally and stimulus to boost U.S. Shale crude oil production in the year, a projection Investors King experts expect to hurt OPEC strategy in 2021.

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