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CBN to Increase Regulation of FinTech Companies

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  • CBN to Increase Regulation of FinTech Companies

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is working on plans to improve the regulation of Financial Technology (FinTech) companies operating in the country.

Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, CBN, made the statement during a session on “Cybersecurity Exercises: Experience from Sub-Saharan Africa” at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington DC, US.

She said financial technologies are disrupting the country’s financial system mainly as a payment facilitators.

“The way FinTechs are disrupting the Nigerian financial space, a lot of it has come from the payment space. So, you see them more active in the space for receipts where they are already getting licences from us,” she stated.

Speaking further she said: “We’ve seen disruptions in the savings space and disruptions in the micro-lending space. So, these are not organisations that the CBN is not aware of. But broadly speaking, our focus has been to identify these organisations.

“That is why we are trying to finalise the incubation of some of these companies. So, there are those we need to identify and watch what they are doing and there are those we need to refine our regulatory framework for; because right now, it is skewed to banks and the payment service companies. We are also looking at moving from regulation by identification, to more around regulating their activity.

“So if you are not a bank, you cannot get a banking license, but if you operate as a bank then we have to regulate what you do. We are looking at ensuring professionalism as well as in what we do in terms of regulation.

“We don’t want to stifle innovation, so we want more companies to come up and assist, because fintechs do a lot in furthering the financial inclusion objectives of the central bank.

“The CBN is working very hard in that respect and we are open to all organisations that are willing to come on board.”

She explained that cybersecurity is a regulatory issue as it has the potential to disrupt information technology operations as well as the financial system, therefore, she said it is imperative that central banks properly regulate the industry.

“We had some of these guidelines and frameworks in place, it’s about strengthening them and identifying where you need to improve layout regulations so that they are fit for purpose.

“The culture of disclosure starts with ensuring that there is adequate information sharing and collaboration among stakeholders. That is where it should start from. So we have created a framework or platform where the chief information security officers as a body have an opportunity to share some of these incidences first of all and we will then agree going forward because a lot of these incidences are attempts and of course, we don’t want a successful attempt,” Mrs Ahmad said.

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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Starlink Pulls Plug on Ghana, South Africa, and Others

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Starlink, the satellite internet service operated by SpaceX, has announced the cessation of services in countries including Ghana and South Africa.

This decision comes as a significant blow to users who have come to rely on Starlink for their internet connectivity needs.

The decision, set to take effect by the end of April 2024, will disconnect all individuals and businesses in unauthorized locations across Africa, including Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.

While subscribers in authorized countries such as Nigeria, Mozambique, Mauritius, and others can continue to use their kits without interruption, those in affected regions face imminent loss of access.

One of the reasons cited by Starlink for the discontinuation is the violation of its terms and conditions.

The company explained that its regional and global roaming plans were intended for temporary use by travelers and those in transit, not for permanent use in unauthorized areas. Users found in breach of these conditions face the termination of their service.

Furthermore, Starlink’s recent email to subscribers outlined stringent measures to enforce compliance.

Subscribers who use the roaming plan for more than two months outside authorized locations must either return home or update their account country to the current one. Failure to do so will result in limited service access.

The decision to discontinue services in certain countries raises questions about the future of internet connectivity in these regions.

Also, concerns have been raised about Starlink’s ability to enforce the new rules effectively. Reports indicate that the company has previously failed to enforce similar conditions for over a year, raising doubts about the efficacy of the current measures.

Starlink’s decision to pull the plug on Ghana, South Africa, and other nations underscores the complexities of providing satellite internet services in diverse regulatory environments.

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Nigeria’s Broadband Penetration Stalls at 42.53% Amid Connectivity Challenges

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Nigeria’s broadband penetration has stalled at 42.53% as of January, according to the latest report.

Subscriptions currently stand at 92.19 million, indicating a significant gap in connectivity, particularly in rural areas.

The Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 aims to increase broadband penetration to 70% by 2025, with the ultimate goal of achieving 96% mobile broadband coverage by 2030.

However, this ambitious target requires substantial investment—approximately $461 million, according to a recent report by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).

While the country’s major telecommunications companies, such as MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa, have invested heavily in expanding their network infrastructure, much of this development has been concentrated in urban areas. Rural and underserved regions face a significant coverage gap, exacerbating the digital divide.

Despite these challenges, Nigeria has made progress in improving its broadband infrastructure. Since 2012, the mobile broadband coverage gap across Africa has decreased from 56% to 13% in 2022, due to significant investments in network capacity and new technologies.

Nonetheless, millions of Nigerians, particularly those in rural regions, remain without access to essential telecom services.

To address this issue, Nigeria’s government established the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) in 2006, aimed at bridging the connectivity gap and expanding broadband access to unserved and underserved areas.

The fund provides resources for deploying telecommunications infrastructure in economically unviable regions.

The success of these initiatives, along with increased investments in broadband infrastructure and policies to incentivize internet expansion in remote areas, will be crucial in closing the connectivity gap and improving digital access for all Nigerians.

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iPhone Shipments Drop Amid Resurgence of Android Rivals

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Apple Inc. reported a significant drop in iPhone shipments during the March quarter, reflecting a downturn in sales across China amid the resurgence of competition from Android-powered rivals.

According to market tracker IDC, the tech giant shipped 50.1 million iPhones in the first three months of the year, a 9.6% year-on-year decline that fell short of the average analyst estimate of 51.7 million.

The steep decrease in iPhone sales marks Apple’s most significant quarterly dip since 2022, when Covid-19 lockdowns disrupted supply chains.

This time, the Cupertino-based company faces challenges from resurgent competitors such as Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Corp.

These firms have rebounded strongly in recent quarters, and their innovative product lines have begun to reclaim market share from Apple in China.

Samsung Electronics Co. regained its position as the top smartphone supplier globally, while Apple ranked second. Xiaomi closed the gap on Apple, shipping 40.8 million units, an impressive 33.8% increase year-on-year.

Transsion Holdings, another key player in the budget smartphone segment, nearly doubled its shipments, showcasing the competitive environment Apple faces.

Nabila Popal, research director at IDC, highlighted the broader shift in the smartphone market, which has recovered from the supply chain disruptions and challenges of recent years.

“While Apple has demonstrated resilience and growth in recent years, maintaining its pace and share in the market may prove challenging as Android manufacturers make strides,” Popal commented.

Apple has a strong brand and loyal customer base, yet its market position may be tested further by the aggressive pricing and innovative products offered by Chinese rivals.

The company’s efforts to sustain its premium pricing strategy may also be challenged as more customers consider switching to Android alternatives.

As the tech industry looks ahead to the rest of the year, Apple’s upcoming earnings report and strategic moves to address this competitive pressure will be closely watched by investors and industry observers alike.

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