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Egypt’s Fintech Industry Is Leading From The Front

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Fintech - Investors King
  • Egypt’s Fintech Industry Is Leading From The Front

Egypt boasts one of the fastest-growing business markets in Africa, as can be seen in the expansion of its financial technology (fintech) industry. According to the latest report from Africa’s leading corporate information and market mapping platform provider Asoko Insight, the fintech market comprises approximately 40 players – including startups, financial institutions and micro-finance providers, as well as incubators, hubs and investors – and has attracted significant investment over recent years.

With growth more than doubling in the five years to 2017, the fintech industry is one of Egypt’s fastest-growing business sectors. The fintech market is playing an important role in transitioning Egypt from cash to electronic payments at all levels of the financial services sector, from the high-level, centrally coordinated national banking system to the grassroots level, where fintech providers target the unbanked.

With a population of almost 100 million people, Egypt is one of the most populous countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), yet low levels of financial penetration mean that only a third of the adult population has a formal bank account. This has opened a significant market to providers that can facilitate access for the large unbanked population, as well as open the banked population to more technologically sophisticated services.

Rising levels of financial inclusion generate demand for fintech though perception remains a challenge

Traditional measures of financial inclusion have been rising, with the proportion of Egypt’s adult population holding a checking, savings or credit account growing three-fold from 2011 to 2017, to hit 32%. Debit card ownership also rose significantly from 5% to 24.8%, although credit card usage has remained low at just 3% and card use is generally limited to payroll. Most measures of digital financial service usage have also been increasing rapidly, in some cases outpacing traditional access, albeit from a lower base.

The proportion of the population with a mobile money account, for example, jumped from 1.1% to 22.8% between 2014 and 2017. Roughly one-fifth of the population used a credit or debit card to make a purchase over the past year, compared to less than 5% in 2014. E-commerce and online bill payments remain relatively rare, however, and those using digital payments registered a slight decline over the period.

Fintech is a key beneficiary of rising mobile take-up and technology

Egypt’s population is demanding more financial inclusion and increasingly looking to their mobile handsets to access these services, creating a conducive environment for fintech growth. Mobile technology has developed to the point that the country has more mobile subscriptions than its population, with a penetration rate of 110%, and mobile banking is overtaking traditional banking in popularity. At least 12 Egyptian banks have already implemented mobile wallets into their systems and more banks are likely to follow suit. Egypt’s high mobile penetration rate, large pool of unbanked citizens and considerable youth bulge, with 52% of the population under the age of 25, represent an opportunity for fintech companies to provide convenient, cheaper and digital financial and banking services. In turn, rising fintech adoption in Egypt is expected to create more growth opportunities for investors, consumers, and businesses.

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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Crude Oil

Nembe Creek Oil Field Halted After Leak, Impacting 150,000 bpd

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Nigeria’s oil output has taken a significant hit following the shutdown of the Nembe Creek oil field due to a major oil leak.

The Nembe Creek oil field, responsible for producing approximately 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd), was forced to cease operations on June 17, 2024.

The leak occurred on the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL), a critical pipeline that transports oil from the Nembe Creek oil field to the Bonny Oil Export Terminal.

The operator of the pipeline, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company, confirmed the leak and the subsequent shutdown in a statement released yesterday.

Aiteo reported that the leak was discovered during routine operations in the Nembe area of Bayelsa State, located in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta region.

This region is notorious for environmental degradation due to decades of oil spills, which have severely impacted local agriculture and fishing industries.

Following the discovery of the leak, Aiteo activated its Oil Spill and Emergency Response Team and shut down all production from Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 as a precautionary measure to prevent further environmental damage.

“While we regret the production losses and the potential environmental impact, our current priority is to expedite an efficient spill management process in line with regulatory standards and collaborate with all stakeholders to restore production and mitigate associated risks,” said Victor Okronkwo, Managing Director of Aiteo Eastern E&P.

The exact cause of the leak remains unknown. Aiteo emphasized that the shutdown was a precautionary step to contain the spill and minimize environmental harm.

The company has notified its joint venture partners and relevant regulatory bodies, including the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), about the incident.

This development comes as a setback for Nigeria, which holds Africa’s largest natural gas reserves and is a major oil producer.

The country’s oil sector has faced numerous challenges, including aging infrastructure, theft, and environmental issues, which have hindered its ability to maximize production and exports.

The Nembe Creek shutdown also highlights ongoing concerns about the safety and reliability of Nigeria’s oil infrastructure. The NCTL has been a frequent target of oil theft and sabotage, exacerbating the challenges of maintaining a steady oil output.

Energy analysts believe that the latest incident could impact Nigeria’s ability to meet its export commitments and exacerbate the country’s economic challenges.

The Nigerian government, under President Bola Tinubu, has been making efforts to attract investment into the energy sector to boost production and address infrastructure deficits.

“The government will hope this offers confidence not only in the quality of the Nigerian resource base, but also in the government’s pledge to improve ease of doing business,” said Clementine Wallop, director of sub-Saharan Africa at political risk consultancy Horizon Engage.

As Nigeria works to address the immediate spill and restore production, the broader implications for the country’s oil sector and its environmental impact remain to be seen.

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Crude Oil

Brent Crude Nears Seven-Week Highs as Market Eyes US Inventory Report

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Brent oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, remained steady on Thursday, hovering just below seven-week highs as the escalating conflict in the Middle East raised concerns over potential supply disruptions.

At the same time, the market eagerly awaits U.S. inventory data for further indications of demand trends.

August Brent crude rose 28 cents, or 0.3%, to $85.35 a barrel while the U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil gained 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $81.70 a barrel.

“There was no WTI settlement on Wednesday due to a U.S. public holiday, which kept trading subdued,” noted Ricardo Evangelista, an analyst at ActivTrades.

“However, oil prices are likely to remain supported around current levels due to a growing geopolitical risk premium driven by conflict in the Middle East.”

Israeli forces have intensified their operations in the Gaza Strip, targeting areas in the central region overnight while tanks advanced into Rafah in the south.

The escalating violence has heightened fears of a broader conflict that could impact oil supplies from the region.

“Expectations of an inventory build appear to be overshadowing fears of escalating geopolitical stress for now,” said Priyanka Sachdeva, senior market analyst at Phillip Nova.

Investors are keenly awaiting the release of U.S. inventory data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) later on Thursday, delayed by a day due to the Juneteenth holiday.

An industry report released on Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API) indicated that U.S. crude stocks rose by 2.264 million barrels in the week ending June 14, while gasoline inventories fell, according to market sources.

The summer season typically sees an uptick in oil demand due to increased refinery runs and weather-related risks.

“Ongoing production cuts by the OPEC+ group, combined with seasonal demand, should tighten oil balances and lead to inventory draws during the summer months,” J.P. Morgan commodities analysts wrote.

Refining margins have also improved, with the ICE gasoil futures premium to Brent crude jumping to $20.63 a barrel on Wednesday, a two-month high.

“Firmer fuel refining margins provide a healthy dose of encouragement for those expecting improvements on the demand side,” commented Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM.

In other economic news, the Bank of England’s decision to keep its main interest rate unchanged at a 16-year high of 5.25% ahead of the national election on July 4 has been noted by market observers.

Higher interest rates generally increase the cost of borrowing, which can slow economic activity and dampen oil demand.

As the market braces for the upcoming EIA inventory report, analysts and traders are closely watching for any signals that could influence oil prices in the near term.

The delicate balance between geopolitical tensions and supply-demand fundamentals continues to play a critical role in shaping the oil market landscape.

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Crude Oil

Aradel Holdings Reports 36% Increase in Crude Oil Production in Q1 2024

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Aradel Holdings Plc, a prominent player in Nigeria’s energy sector, has announced a significant upswing in its crude oil production, a notable milestone in its operational performance for the first quarter of 2024.

During their 29th Annual General Meeting held in Lagos, Aradel Holdings unveiled that their crude oil production surged by 36% to 13,250 barrels per day compared to the average figures recorded in the previous fiscal year.

This increase underscores the company’s strategic efforts to enhance its production capabilities and optimize operational efficiencies.

Accompanying this impressive growth in crude oil output, Aradel Holdings also reported a substantial rise in gas production, reaching 36.8 million standard cubic feet per day, which reflects a parallel 36% increase from the previous year’s averages.

Despite a slight decrease of 1.6% in refined petroleum products, the overall operational metrics for the first quarter of 2024 showcased robust performance across key production segments.

Chairman of Aradel Holdings, Ladi Jadesimi, emphasized the pivotal role of strategic initiatives implemented in preceding years, which contributed to the company’s exceptional growth trajectory.

“We are pleased with the strides made in Q1 2024, driven by enhanced production volumes and improved operational efficiencies,” stated Jadesimi during the AGM.

He highlighted the successful implementation of the Alternative Crude Evacuation system introduced in 2022, which significantly minimized crude losses and bolstered overall production stability.

In financial terms, Aradel Holdings reported a remarkable 90% increase in revenues for Q1 2024 compared to the same period last year, signaling strong market demand and effective resource utilization strategies.

Moreover, the company achieved a commendable 62% growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT), reinforcing its position as a leading player in Nigeria’s energy landscape.

Commenting on the company’s outlook, CEO and Managing Director Adegbite Falade expressed optimism about Aradel Holdings’ future prospects.

“Our performance in Q1 2024 underscores our commitment to sustained growth and operational excellence,” Falade remarked. “We remain focused on leveraging our strategic advantages and advancing our capabilities to meet evolving market dynamics.”

Aradel Holdings’ stellar performance in Q1 2024 also propelled the company’s market capitalization to exceed N1 trillion, a significant milestone in its corporate history.

This achievement underscores investor confidence and reflects Aradel Holdings’ robust position in the Nigerian stock market.

Looking ahead, Aradel Holdings aims to build upon its Q1 success by further enhancing production capacities, exploring new growth opportunities, and maintaining a steadfast commitment to operational efficiency and sustainability.

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