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Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba, in Nigeria

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Alibaba chairman Jack Ma and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
  • Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba, in Nigeria

Jack Ma, the founder of the world’s largest e-commerce company Alibaba and the Chinese richest man, arrived Nigeria on Thursday with a large delegation of Chinese investors.

The billionaire said he was in the country to honour the invitation extended to him by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, in Davos, Switzerland earlier this year.

“I think our team today realised our dreams of meeting you. We flew 15 hours into Nigeria and we are excited. This trip is to try to understand Africa more. We came to Africa four years ago and our plan is to visit four or five countries in every trip,” Ma stated as he met Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa in Abuja on Thursday.

Ma, who recently retired from Alibaba to focus on philanthropy and his first job, education, expressed the desire to invest in Nigeria and Africa at large.

He highlighted four key areas of interest using ‘Four Es’:

  • E-infrastructure
  • Entrepreneurship
  • E-government
  • Education

Jack Ma will be speaking at a two-day summit titled ‘Leveraging Digital Economy for Trade & Investment’ organised by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, said “Technology, trade, and investment are inextricably linked in a digital economy.”

Speaking on Jack Ma’s visit, Vice President Osinbajo, said: “This is an exciting time for us and we are really happy that you are here and I know the young people and lots of businesses and entrepreneurs are looking forward to your interaction with them later today.

“So, the potential is tremendous, it is an incredible potential that we have. So, we are at a point, and your coming is very strategic, in our trajectory and in the progress of our country.

“I think, it is a very important moment and what we are seeing – a lot of entrepreneurship, a lot of young people who are very actively engaged in the digital economy at various levels.”

While this is not the first time the billionaire is visiting Africa, this is the first he will be visiting Nigeria and now join the list of prominent tech founders who have visited Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria.

This week alone, Nigeria has welcomed the co-founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey and Jack Ma, the 19th richest man in the world.

Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, visited Nigeria.

Jack Ma’s net worth has risen by $6.08 billion to $42.5 billion year-to-date.

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.

Fintech

SWIFT Launches SWIFT Go, a Fast, Cost-effective Service for Low-value Cross-border Payments

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SWIFT Go - Investors King

New service enables businesses and consumers to send payments in seconds with full transparency and strong security; SWIFT Go is a key building block in the co-operative’s strategy to enable instant and frictionless cross-border transactions; Seven leading global banks already live with the service.

SWIFT today announces the launch of SWIFT Go, a transformative new service that enables small businesses and consumers to send fast, predictable, highly secure, and competitively priced low-value cross-border payments anywhere in the world, direct from their bank accounts. Seven global banks, which collectively handle 33 million low-value cross-border payments per year, are already live with the service.

SWIFT Go enables financial institutions to offer a seamless payments experience for low value transactions often initiated by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to pay suppliers overseas and by consumers sending money to friends and family internationally. Using tighter service level agreements between institutions and pre-validation of data, SWIFT Go enables banks to provide their end customers a fast and predictable payments experience with upfront visibility on processing times and costs.

The SWIFT Go service builds on the high-speed rails of SWIFT gpi, which have transformed the speed and predictability of high-value payments. The service marks another milestone in SWIFT’s strategy to enable instant and frictionless transactions from one account to another, across SWIFT’s network that connects more than 11,000 institutions, and 4 billion accounts across 200 countries worldwide. It will further strengthen the capabilities of banks to serve their customers in the high-growth small business and consumer payments segments.

Stephen Gilderdale, Chief Product Officer, at SWIFT said: “SWIFT Go is a further step towards achieving our vision of enabling anybody, anywhere, to send money instantly and securely around the world. The new service is a direct response to the needs of small businesses and consumers for fast, easy, predictable, secure and competitively priced cross-border payments. Our new service will allow banks to compete effectively in one of the fastest growing segments of the payments market, delivering a seamless experience for their customers.”

SWIFT Go was developed in close collaboration with the global SWIFT community and is underpinned by several key pillars:

  • Speed: Tighter service levels between banks increase speed. A single payment format increases straight-through processing, while services such as pre-validation remove frictions that cause delays.
  • Predictability: The amount, time, fees and FX rate of a payment are known in advance. The sender and receiver of a payment can track the status in real-time.
  • Easy to use: The user experience is simple and streamlined, with data requirements known upfront. Strict network validation provides for easy initiation and processing of SWIFT Go payments
  • Competitive prices: Processing fees are agreed between financial institutions upfront so they can provide their customers with full transparency; increased straight-through processing further reduces processing costs.
  • Security: Senders and receivers have peace of mind that payments are underpinned by the strong security of the SWIFT network. Seven leading global banks are now using SWIFT Go live: BBVA; Bank of New York Mellon; DNB; MYBank; Sberbank; Société Générale, and UniCredit.

    Raouf Soussi, Head of Enterprise Payments Strategy of Client Solutions, BBVA said: “BBVA is very excited to be one of the first banks to sign up to SWIFT Go and we recognise the potential of this solution to revolutionise the way SMEs and consumers move money around the world. We have listened closely to our customers and we know how much they value a secure service that ensures payments reach their destination quickly and seamlessly.”

    Isabel Schmidt, Head of Direct Clearing and Asset Account Services Products, Bank of New York Mellon said:  “It’s no secret that for many years consumers and small businesses have been running into varying pain points when transacting international payments. These challenges have included opaque costs and lack of certainty on how quickly funds are delivered to the final beneficiary. This is why BNY Mellon is pleased to be the first US bank to go live with SWIFT Go, a new service that overcomes all of these challenges and assists financial institutions in delivering a competitive, seamless, fast and predictable payments experience to their customers.”

    Feng Liang, Deputy CEO, MYBank said: “SWIFT gpi has become the benchmark for high-value cross-border transactions and we are confident that SWIFT Go will be equally as transformative for SME payments. By providing for instant, seamless transactions within one of the highest growth areas of our industry, we expect that adoption of SWIFT Go will be widespread and that it will quickly be established as the industry standard for lower value transactions.”

    Jean-François Mazure, Head of Cash Clearing and Correspondent Banking, Société Générale said: “As customer expectations for faster payments evolve, the correspondent banking industry requires a solution to more competitively process SME and consumer payments. SWIFT Go fits perfectly with it, allowing us to provide an outstanding experience to our customers with predictable, seamless, and frictionless low-value cross-border transactions reaching beneficiaries accounts quicker than ever.”

    Raphael Barisaac, Global Head of Cash Management, Global Co-Head of Trade, UniCredit said: “UniCredit has long been a keen supporter of innovations within payments that deliver excellent outcomes for end-customers, and as such we are very proud of our involvement in SWIFT Go. This is a service that will lead to real benefits for SMEs and consumers, allowing them to enjoy the speed, predictability and transparency that SWIFT gpi has brought to high-value transactions.”

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Fund Raising

Bank of America, Coinbase Ventures Invested in Paxos’ $300M Funding Round

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Paxos Trust Company- Investors King

Paxos – a provider of blockchain infrastructure – said Bank of America, crypto exchange FTX, Founders Fund and Coinbase Ventures were among a heavyweight list of investors in its $300 million Series D funding round, the firm disclosed on Thursday.

Oak HC/FT led the funding round, which the nine-year-old company announced in late April at a valuation of $2.4 billion. The round also included PayPal Ventures and Mithril Capital, among others. The firm has raised more than $540 million over multiple funding rounds.

The company noted that Bank of America joined the Paxos Settlement Service earlier this year. The platform uses blockchain technology to achieve the same-day settlement of stock trades.

“We’re defining this space and are excited to grow our enterprise solutions besides these market leaders,” Paxos CEO and co-founder Charles Cascarilla said in a press release.

Paxos started providing infrastructure for PayPal’s crypto service last year, which has extended to PayPal’s Venmo payments app. Credit Suisse, fintech Revolut and Societe Generale are among other customers.

In an April interview with CoinDesk, Cascarilla called the latest funding round “confidence capital” that would give customers certainty that Paxos would “be around for the next five to 10 years.”

In a statement, Founders Fund partner Napoleon Ta called Paxos “a trusted operator in blockchain-based financial market infrastructure,” highlighting “its commitment to regulation, reliability and security for enterprises entering digital asset markets.”

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Telecommunications

NCC Sets Fresh Operational Fees, Spectrum Prices For Telecommunications Operators

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Nigerian Communications Commission

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has set up an annual operating regulatory levy to ensure that all licenses were properly and equitably assessed to meet statutory and regulatory expectations.

This was disclosed by the Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, during the Public Inquiry on two regulatory instruments draft held on Thursday, in Abuja.

Danbatta explained that the two key regulatory instruments were tailored to meet the challenges and to further strengthen the market structure of the industry.

The instruments include the Annual Operating Regulations and the Frequency Spectrum Regulations, which fees and pricing fall under.

He said “The first instrument will bring the regulations in line with current realities and sustain the enviable contributions of the communications sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

“The second instrument is a vehicle that enables the commission to meet its role and exclusive mandate in Section 121 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 by assigning this scarce national resource in an equitable manner. The regulations also ensure that frequency spectrum are assigned and managed in a way that ensures fair pricing and efficient deployment of attendant services. The public inquiry is precursor to the commission’s current drive to ensure efficiency in spectrum management and unveiling of next-generation services through varied enablers.”

Deploying 5G
The NCC Boss informed that the Commission had commenced the process of deploying Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria, which largely depended on the appropriate frequency spectrum.

With the explosion in technologies, Danbatta said there was also an attendant secondary reliance on different approaches to maximize frequency spectrum.

He noted that this led to the need for designation of several bands of frequency spectrum for communications services and a key illustration was the recent identification of some Spectrum frequencies for 5G deployment.

Professor Danbatta assured that the Commission was conscious of the expectations and the need to ensure that the required regulatory frameworks were in place to meet these challenges.

He noted that this had made the reviews, which the Commission was conducting an important milestone as the public inquiry is pushing the country to the front queue of this global efforts.

“We must be prepared on both ends of the industry to push the country forward for these remarkable changes; while the licensees continue to invest in deployment. The Commission will sustain its drive-by ensuring regulatory efficiency and excellence,” the NCC Boss restated

He expressed optimism that the review would ensure effective and efficient utilization of frequency spectrum and also ensure a fair approach to the management of finance in the industry in the near future.

Danbatta urged participants to make their contributions freely and raise issues that would assist the Commission in developing and issuing regulatory instruments that would continually contribute to the development of the industry and sustain its positive contributions to the nation’s economy.

Earlier, in her address, the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services of the Commission, Ms. Josephine Amuwa, said the objective of the public inquiry was to secure the buy-in of all stakeholders and ensure the efficiency of the regulatory instruments when implemented.

She explained that the Commission decided to review the Annual Operating Regulations 2014 and the Frequency Pricing Regulations 2004 to ensure that the regulatory instruments issued were abreast with developments in the industry.

According to Amuwa, the Annual Operating Levy Regulations review will look at the current licensing structure and ensure that all the spectra of licensees will be properly covered.

“Another key part of the review is to clarify and clearly outline the benchmarks for assessment. This will not only ensure regulatory certainty but further entrench transparency in the process. On the other hand, the review of the second regulation, the Frequency Spectrum (Fees and Pricing) Regulations is expected to provide more guidelines on the parameter for determination of proper fees and pricing of spectrum. This will also make adequate provisions for different spectrum licensing processes and their assessment parameters,” she explained.

Present at the event were the Executive Commissioner, Technical Standards, Engineer Ubale Maska, the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, Directors, Deputy and Assistant Directors as well as External Stakeholders.

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