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Instagram co-founders Resign – Report

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  • Instagram co-founders Resign – Report

Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are leaving the smartphone photo-sharing service bought by Facebook six years ago for a billion dollars, the New York Times reported late Monday citing unnamed sources.

Systrom and Krieger have resigned from their posts as chief executive and chief technology officer respectively, not giving reasons and saying they planned to take time off, according to the Times.

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

Instagram in June announced it passed a billion active users, and unveiled a new long-form video feature in a bid to attract “creators” like those on YouTube.

It became the fourth Facebook platform to eclipse the billion-user mark, including the namesake social network with more than two billion users, and the messaging applications WhatsApp and Messenger.

Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for a combination of cash and stock worth some $1 billion at the time.

Instagram has been a hit with young internet users, an audience that Facebook is keen to keep in its fold.

The departures come as Facebook grapples with the worst crisis in its history, vilified for not more zealously guarding information users share at the leading online social network.

Many see Facebook as being the main vehicle for spreading false information in recent years, and of being used by nefarious interests out to sway the results of the elections such as the one that put President Donald Trump in the White House.

The Cambridge Analytica public relations disaster, in which Facebook admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by the British consultancy firm, came on top of widespread criticism of the social network’s propensity to spread and accentuate large amounts of completely false information.

Facebook is facing multiple inquiries from US and British regulators about the Cambridge Analytica user data scandal, and its boss Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by the European Parliament and the US Congress earlier this year.

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum earlier this year left Facebook, which bought the smartphone messaging service for $19 billion.

Koum said in a post on his Facebook page that he was taking time off to pursue interests such as collecting air-cooled Porsches, working on cars and playing ultimate Frisbee.

US media reports indicated that a disagreement with Facebook over the privacy of user data may have also been a factor in Koum’s decision to quit his position as a high-ranking executive and likely leave his seat on the board at the leading online social network.

AFP.

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.

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Fintech Startups Hit $121.7B in Total Funding, a $20B Increase in a Year

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Fintech Startups Raises $121.7B in Funding in 2020

Recent years have witnessed a surge in the number of fintech investments, with record funding levels and rising valuations. The strong investment activity in the fintech sector continued in 2020, despite the global slowdown in venture capital deals caused by the COVID-19.

According to data presented by AksjeBloggen.com, the cumulative value of funds fintech startups raised over time hit $121.7bn in February, a $20bn increase in a year.

Asian Fintechs Raised $50.3B, 40% of Total Funding

The financial services industry continues attracting tech companies that transform how people and businesses spend, invest, save, and borrow money. The rapid growth of the entire sector has been followed by the increasing number of venture capitalists willing to invest in fintech companies and support their business.

In 2018, fintech startups raised $31.3bn with the cumulative funding value reaching $71.3bn that year, revealed the Crunchbase data. By the end of 2019, this figure jumped to $95.8bn, a $24.5bn increase in a year.

Statistics show that 2020 witnessed $20.3bn of investments into the fintech sector, despite a significant drop in global venture capital funding caused by the pandemic. The cumulative value of investments hit $116.1bn last year, and this figure rose by another $5.6bn in the last two months.

Statistics show that Asian fintechs lead in the total value of investments, with $50.3bn in funding rounds so far. The North American companies raised $47.8bn in funding, ranking as the second-leading region globally. European fintech startups follow with $18.2bn worth of investments.

The Number of Fintech Startups Tripled in Two Years

Although the COVID-19 may have influenced the investment activity in the fintech sector, the pandemic also triggered a surge in the use of fintech solutions, creating a huge space for new companies.

The BCG data revealed the number of fintech startups worldwide tripled in the last two years, rising from over 12,200 in 2019 to 26,000 in 2021.

As of February 2021, there were 10,605 financial technology startups in North America as the leading region, up from 5,800 in 2019.

However, statistics show Europe, the Middle East, and Africa have witnessed the most significant increase in the number of fintech startups. In 2019, almost 3,600 companies were operating in this sector. Since then, the number of fintech startups in the EMEA region surged by 160% to more than 9,300.

Asia and the Pacific ranked third with more than 6,100 fintech startups as of February, up from 2,800 in 2019.

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AFP Supports Access to Renewable Energy with €70m

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AFP Supports Access to Renewable Energy with €70m

The Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) is supporting access to renewable energy for Nigerian manufacturers with €70 million under the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (SUNREF) Nigeria Programme for renewable energy.

The fund would be administered through the Access Bank Plc and the United Bank for Africa Plc.

However, only renewable energy projects like solar, wind, small hydro, biomas including waste-to-energy power plants would be eligible for funding under the SUNREF initiative.

The AFP described energy efficiency projects (EEP) as capital expenditure projects that would allow energy consumers to use less energy for achieving the same level of energy service.

The AFP made this known during the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency investors’ virtual conference that was held on Wednesday, in partnership with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), which is a technical assistance programme co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Government and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Power and All-On of the Shell Foundation.

The conference was aimed at enabling the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) to understand the SUNREF’s technical requirements, equipment and installation quality standards, self-regulatory initiatives and certification for industry practitioners.

The President of the Nigerian Manufacturers Association (MAN), Mr. Mansur Ahmed, who participated in the conference, described the financial and technical assistance offered by the SUNREF as significant opportunity that came at a time, “we needed it most more than ever” to address one of the most militating factors against industrial development of Nigeria.

Mansur said: “Clearly, this is the time for every effort to shore up the manufacturing sector is very welcomed. Therefore, I am delighted that this green energy project is focusing on renewable energy in improving energy efficiency.

“It is our hope that our members will take the full advantage of this facility and be able to diversify their energy sources, improve energy consumption and be able to expand their productive capacity, which is indeed very important in the current state of our economy. I, therefore, urge our members to take full advantage of this.”

The Country Director of the AFP, Ms. Virginie Diaz, said in her opening remark during the conference that the SUNREF would basically provide financial and technical assistance “aimed at supporting business strategies in the green energy sector in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which Nigeria has been supportive of.”

Also, the Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and the ECOWAS, Ms. Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, said the conference would enable investors and service providers to showcase their products and be able to develop relationships with clients and prospective investors in Nigeria.

She added: “I will like to highlight that this collaboration is an innovative financing and project that will help to address Nigeria’s energy gaps by mobilising foreign investments to finance green power projects.”

The SUNREF Nigeria Team Lead, Mr. Javier Betancourt, described SUNREF as integrated environmental finance that is dedicated to developing renewable energy in Nigeria.

Betancourt said in his presentation during the conference that the AFD has put in place targeted support to develop innovative green financing through dedicated credit lines through local financial institutions in the country.

He said: “The SUNREF is part of the broader initiative to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as the sustainable use of natural resources.”

According to the Chief Executive Officer of All On, Dr. Wiebe Boer, the mission of the SUNREF is to bring the members of the MAN into the green energy fold.

Boer observed that any opportunity to address the significant gap that exists in access to energy in Nigeria would have considerable economic and social impacts.

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Fintech CEO: Morocco’s Move to Revisit CBDC Has Global Implications

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Scottsdale, Ari. – February 25, 2021 – Earlier this week, it was reported by both the Morocco World News and NASDAQ that Bank-Al-Maghrib, Morocco’s Central Bank, is forming an exploratory committee to deliberate whether the institution should launch a central bank digital currency. Significantly, only four years ago, the country banned cryptocurrencies.

“It isn’t so significant that yet another country is exploring the benefits of a CBDC, but, rather, the significance is in which country is doing the exploration,” explained Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges. “Even the slightest consideration from Bank-Al-Maghrib marks a historic day for digital assets.”

The newly formed committee is said to be tasked with identifying the pros and cons, while remaining cautious due to the “speculative nature” of cryptocurrencies. This is in line with the country’s original critique that a lack of regulation created risk for consumers and investors.

“It’s worth noting that, despite the ban, Moroccans account for the fourth highest volume of trading in Bitcoin within the African continent, behind Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa,” said Gardner. “A lot has changed in four years. A lot of bureaucrats were leery about the lack of regulatory oversight back then. Even now, many are still cautious. But, the power of cryptocurrencies is real, and they’re here to stay. Especially in Africa, digital currencies could radically change the lives of the unbanked. The fact that Bank-Al-Maghrib is even contemplating the benefits of digital assets — that’s something the whole world will be watching.”

Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Over the past twenty years, the company has built a client list which includes NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.

“In addition to the raw power of digital currencies, the technology that powers blockchain-based solutions is something that region can’t afford to miss out on,” opined Gardner. “For example, blockchain-based authentication, especially when blended with artificial intelligence technologies, could be a gamechanger in authenticating malaria treatments. Using blockchain verification solutions, African governments could nearly eliminate counterfeit pharmaceuticals, which is a topic our company intends to continue to explore over the coming months and years.”

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