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AfDB Seeks $3.3bn for Women, Youth Entrepreneurs

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  • AfDB Seeks $3.3bn for Women, Youth Entrepreneurs

The President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, is currently on a tour to seek global support for the bank’s programme to raise $3.3bn for African women and youths in enterprise.

The AfDB which disclosed in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday said this was in furtherance of Adesina’s conviction that the future of food in the world depended on what Africa could do with agriculture.

The bank said, “To expand opportunities for youth, women, and private sector players, Adesina is on a global mission to promote and seek support for the bank’s Affirmative Finance for Women in Africa programme, which aims to mobilise $3bn to support women entrepreneurs who historically lack access to finance, land, and land titles; a $300 million ENABLE Youth programme to develop the next generation of agribusiness and commercial farmers for Africa; and a new global investment marketplace, the African Investment Forum, which will be held in Johannesburg on November 7-9.

“With over 800 million people worldwide suffering from hunger and more than two billion affected by malnutrition, food insecurity remains a real threat to global development.

To Adesina, who is making a global pitch for renewed visionary leadership and strategic alliances, the future of food in the world will depend on what Africa does with agriculture.

The AfDB said it envisioned a food secure continent which would use advanced technologies, creatively adapt to climate change, and develop a whole new generation of ‘agripreneurs’ – empowered youths and women expected to take agriculture to the next level.

The statement quoted Adesina to have said that Africa continued to import what it should be producing, spending $35bn on food imports each year, a figure expected to rise to $110bn in 2025 if present the trends continued.

Adesina said, “Africa receives only two per cent of the $100bn annual revenues from chocolates globally. Adding value to what nations produce is the secret to their wealth. Producing chocolate instead of simply exporting cocoa beans does not require rocket science.”

In separate meetings with the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in The Hague, Sigrid Kaag; the Chief Executive Officer of the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, Peter van Mierlo; key private sector players, and members of the Dutch Foreign Affairs Advisory Council, Adesina said Africa and its partners must seize unprecedented opportunities for innovative partnerships and increased development impact.

Mierlo was quoted to have said at the meeting, “A huge benefit for Africa is that it can skip development cycles that often almost all developed countries had to go through, by deploying new technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics in agriculture.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Finance

Moniepoint Strengthens Efforts to Broaden Financial Access Through Collaborative Initiatives

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Africa’s fastest growing financial institution according to the Financial Times, Moniepoint Inc has underscored the importance of a collaborative and holistic stakeholder approach in advancing the future of financial and economic inclusion in Nigeria.

In a recent high-level policy dialogue between the Nigerian government and private sector stakeholders held in Washington DC, Moniepoint Inc’s Group CEO and Co-Founder, Tosin Eniolorunda emphasized the importance of public-private collaborations in addressing trust issues that have slowed down the adoption of innovative fintech solutions for economic and financial inclusion.

“Moniepoint has long championed the importance of financial inclusion and financial happiness. Building trust with the public and government, improving business and consumer access to the financial system are critical issues that are aligned to our philosophy. As testament to our commitment, we recently launched a landmark report investigating Nigeria’s informal economy, highlighting opportunities to widen financial inclusion to historically underserved communities. The outputs from this strategic gathering will go a long way in bolstering Nigeria’s economy even as closer linkages are formed from public-private collaboration which will be a huge boost to the overall development and competitiveness of the larger financial services industry,“ Eniolorunda said.

The event, which brought together government officials, regulators, law enforcement agencies, and fintech industry leaders at George Washington University, aimed to leverage innovative approaches to drive a sustainable and inclusive financial system in Nigeria.

Vice President Kashim Shettima, addressing the gathering via video conference, highlighted the urgent need for financial innovation to drive Nigeria’s economic and financial inclusion agenda. This aligns with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration’s commitment to bringing over 30 million unbanked Nigerians into the formal financial sector as part of the Renewed Hope Agenda.

“We must develop a sustainable collaboration approach that will facilitate the adoption of inclusive payment to achieve our objective of economic and financial inclusion,” Vice President Shettima stated.

The dialogue focused on addressing critical challenges in Nigeria’s fintech ecosystem, including regulatory oversight, security concerns, and trust issues that have hindered the widespread adoption of innovative financial solutions. Participants explored strategies to enhance interagency collaboration and strengthen the overall effectiveness of the financial services sector.

Philip Ikeazor, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria responsible for Financial System Stability, emphasized the need for ongoing collaboration among all stakeholders to meet the goals of the Aso Accord on Economic and Financial Inclusion.

Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), advocated for “a digital-first approach and the fusion of digital literacy with financial literacy to address trust issues affecting the inclusive payment ecosystem.”

Dr. Nurudeen Zauro, Technical Advisor to the President on Economic and Financial Inclusion, explained that the gathering aims to evolve into a mechanism providing relevant information to the Office of the Vice President, facilitating effective decision-making for economic and financial inclusion.

The event resulted in various recommendations covering rules, infrastructure, and coordination, with a focus on implementable actions and clear accountabilities. As discussions continue, Moniepoint remains dedicated to leveraging its expertise and technology to support the government’s financial inclusion goals and create a more financially inclusive society for all Nigerians.

Other notable speakers included Inspector General of Police Mr. Kayode Egbetokun, Executive Director of the Center for Curriculum Development and Learning (CCDL) at George Washington University Professor Pape Cisse, Assistant Vice President at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Mr. Reginald Emordi, Regional Director for Africa at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) Mr. Lars Benson, and United States Congresswoman representing Florida’s 20th congressional district, The Honorable Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Prof Olayinka David-West from the Lagos Business School among others.

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CBN Rate Hikes Raise Borrowing Costs for Banks Seeking FX

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has implemented a significant adjustment to its borrowing rates.

The move, which follows the CBN’s recent decision to adjust the asymmetric corridor around the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), has led to an increase in the cost of borrowing for banks seeking foreign exchange (FX).

This decision comes amid heightened concerns over the Naira’s performance and inflation rates.

According to Bismarck Rewane, Managing Director/CEO of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, the adjustment means that banks now face borrowing costs of nearly 32% from the CBN, a sharp increase from the previous rate of approximately 26%.

This change in borrowing costs is intended to deter banks from relying on the CBN for FX purchases, thereby reducing pressure on the Naira.

Data reveals that in the first five days of July 2024, banks borrowed an unprecedented N5.38 trillion from the CBN, marking a record high.

The increased borrowing costs are expected to reduce this practice, thereby alleviating some of the strain on the Naira.

Despite these efforts, the Naira has continued to struggle. On Tuesday, the Naira depreciated by 3.13% against the US dollar, with the exchange rate falling to N1,548.76.

This decline is attributed to reduced dollar supply and ongoing uncertainty surrounding Nigeria’s foreign reserves.

The black market saw an even sharper drop, with the Naira falling to 1,687 per dollar, reflecting broader concerns about currency stability.

Rewane highlighted that the recent rate hikes are part of a broader strategy by the CBN to manage inflation and stabilize the Naira.

“The increase in borrowing costs is a necessary step to address the carry trade practices where banks use cheap funds from the CBN to buy FX and sell it at higher rates,” he explained.

The CBN’s decision to raise borrowing costs comes amid a backdrop of persistent inflation and rising interest rates.

Over the past three years, the CBN has raised interest rates 12 times, with recent adjustments aimed at managing liquidity and curbing inflation.

As of June 2024, Nigeria’s headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) reached 34.19%, up from 33.95% in May.

The central bank’s policy changes are expected to have mixed effects.

Analysts at FBNQuest anticipate that banks will continue to benefit from the high-interest rate environment, potentially leading to a shift of assets from equities to fixed-income securities as investors seek higher yields.

The CBN remains committed to navigating Nigeria through these challenging economic conditions.

By adjusting borrowing costs and implementing tighter monetary policies, the central bank aims to strike a balance between managing inflation, stabilizing the Naira, and supporting overall economic growth.

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Finance

Senate Passes Bill for 70% Windfall Levy on Banks’ Forex Gains

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Naira Exchange Rates - Investors King

The Nigerian Senate has approved an amendment to the Finance Act of 2023, increasing the windfall levy on banks’ foreign exchange gains from 50% to 70%.

The bill was passed during a plenary session on Tuesday after a thorough review by the Finance Committee.

The Senate’s decision aims to address the significant profits banks have accrued due to recent foreign exchange policy shifts.

This windfall is viewed as a product of government intervention rather than the banks’ strategic efforts, prompting the call for redistribution.

The additional revenue from this levy is expected to contribute to financing the N6.2 trillion Appropriation Amendment Bill.

This funding will support various government projects and initiatives, ensuring that the windfall benefits are reinvested into the economy.

The Senate also approved amendments to the payment timeline, setting the levy to take effect from the start of the new foreign exchange regime through 2025, avoiding retrospective application from January 2024.

Also, the Upper Chamber removed the proposed jail term for principal officers of defaulting banks.

Instead, banks that fail to remit the levy will incur a penalty of 10% per annum on the withheld amount, alongside interest at the prevailing Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Minimum Rediscount Rate.

This legislative move aligns with President Tinubu’s broader fiscal strategy, which aims to optimize national revenue through independent sources.

The amendment underscores the Senate’s commitment to leveraging bank profits for national development, especially amid economic challenges.

While some industry stakeholders express concerns about the impact on banking operations, others see this as a necessary step towards equitable wealth distribution and economic stability.

The bill’s passage is anticipated to have significant implications for both the financial sector and the broader economy.

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