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Banking Sector

Zenith Tech Fair Concludes With Hackathon Winners Receiving Significant Cash Rewards

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The Third Edition of the Zenith Bank Tech Fair, themed “Future Forward 3.0”, which was held on November 23-24, 2023, at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos has concluded.

From the over 500 contestants that participated in the Zenith Hackathon (Zecathon), Sync, a team collaboration and workflow management platform that provides synergy, enables project management, task planning, messaging, payments, scheduling and people operations, emerged as the overall winner, taking home the grand prize of N20 million.

This is in addition to a mentorship programme with Seedstars, a company dedicated to implementing high-quality capacity-building programmes for entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

The first runner-up, Skill Up With Kahdsole (SUWK), a social-tech startup that provides an end-to-end platform for learning technical and vocational skills to empower young people, won N15 million and a mentorship programme with Seedstars, while the second runner-up, Tribapay, a payment processing gateway that allows for cross-border payments and transactions in Nigeria and Ghana, won N10 million as well as a mentorship programme with Seedstars. Other finalists who took home N2 million each include Edupoint, Joovlin, Frootify, Izesan Limited, Natal Cares, Plychain.io, and Niteon.

In his welcome address at the Zenith Bank flagship Tech Fair, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, expressed his excitement for this year’s Hackathon, stating that it was indeed the high point of the overall event. According to him, “We have deliberately kept the best for the last. The high point of today’s event is the Hackathon. This is where we have the opportunity to see the immense creativity and talent in our youth as they come up with different innovative ideas.” He added that “the good thing about the Hackathon is that the pitches you see presented are completely different from the ones we have seen before and we intend to make it far more elaborate as we hope that as we go into the future, we should be able to bring back winners where they can tell the audience their journey and how they have progressed so far.”

The two-day Tech Fair which was described as a huge success by participants, featured presentations on the leading technological innovations that cut across different aspects of life, such as Artificial Intelligence, Contactless Payments, Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing, FinTech, Data Analytics, Financial Intelligence, and communication technologies, with the keynote address,” “Artificial Intelligence – Application & Bias “, delivered by Chris Lu, the renowned IT Specialist, business strategist and Managing Director for Huawei Technologies, Nigeria.

The event also featured a welcome address by Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc and Chairman of Body of Banks’ CEOs, Nigeria, and a goodwill messages by the Honourable Minister of Communication, Innovation & Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani and Dr. Doris Anite, Hon. Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment (represented by Dr. Femi Adeluyi, National Coordinator for the National Talent Programme). Other eminent IT practitioners from top global brands who also made presentations include Demola Sanusi, Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services; Temitope Aladenusi, Partner & Leader Cybersecurity, Deloitte; Andrew Uaboi, Vice President/Cluster Head, Visa West Africa; Dr. Blaise Ijebor, Director of Risk Management, CBN; Keelan Singh, Head, UiPath EMEA Banking and Financial Services; Shweta Juneja, Partner, McKinsey Digital; Wole Odeleye, Financial Services Technology Lead, Microsoft; Ope Ajayi, Founder & CEO, Cinemax; Elo Umeh, and Managing Director of Terragon.

The fair featured two panel sessions. The first panel, which examined “The next frontier: Digital Wallets, Contactless payments and BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later)”, had Chris Lu as the host, with five discussants, including Fey Wong, Country Director, Palmpay; Premier Oiwoh, Managing Director, NIBSS; Vincent Ogbunude, Managing Director, Verve; Ebehijie Momoh, Country Manager, MasterCard, and Managing Director of Network International, Adelola Agbebiyi.

The second panel explored the theme “The intersection of Fintech, eCommerce and SMEs – Collaboration for growth”. It was hosted by John Obidi and had five discussants, including Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, Chief Executive Officer, Konga; Tunde Kehinde, Managing Director, Lydia; Stan Martins, Regional Director, Meta; John Obaro, Chief Executive Officer, Systemspecs, and Seyi Banigbe, Founder of Bland2Glam.

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Banking Sector

85.51 Million Nigerian Bank Customers Face Withdrawal Freeze Over NIN, BVN Deadline

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First Bank

As the March 1 deadline looms, an estimated 85.51 million Nigerian bank customers are facing the possibility of frozen accounts due to their failure to link their National Identification Numbers (NINs) and/or Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) to their accounts.

Recent findings reveal the potential scale of the impending banking crisis.

Data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) indicates that Nigeria had approximately 146 million active individual bank customers as of December 2022.

However, by January 26, 2024, only 60.49 million BVNs were recorded on the NIBSS portal, leaving a significant portion unlinked.

Meanwhile, about 104 million NINs had been issued by December 2023, highlighting the disparity between NIN issuance and BVN linkage.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had earlier issued directives to banks, mandating them to restrict transactions on accounts lacking linked NINs and BVNs, with effect from March 1, 2024.

Any accounts found non-compliant risk being designated as ‘Post no Debit,’ rendering them unable to process further transactions.

Responding to the impending crisis, the Director-General of the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC), Abisoye Coker-Odusote, emphasized the need for the revalidation of Front-End Partners (FEPs) to ensure the integrity of the identity database.

She underscored the importance of NIN registration and urged collaboration with various stakeholders to expedite the process.

The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, reiterated the significance of linking NINs to SIM cards to enhance national security.

Telecom subscribers were urged to comply with the NIN-SIM linkage directive to avoid service disruptions.

Meanwhile, financial service providers like Opay have issued reminders of the impending restrictions, urging customers to comply with the linkage requirements.

Amidst concerns, some customers contemplate transferring funds to compliant accounts to avoid potential financial setbacks.

As the deadline approaches, stakeholders are intensifying efforts to mitigate the impact of the impending banking crisis on millions of Nigerians.

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Banking Sector

Central Bank of Nigeria Injects Over $300 Million to Stabilize Naira-Dollar Exchange Rate

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central-bank-of-nigeria

In a bid to mitigate the continuous depreciation of the naira against the dollar, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected over $300 million into the foreign exchange market.

This move comes amidst concerns over the instability of the naira-dollar exchange rate, which has seen rates soar as high as N1850/$ in recent trading sessions.

The Association of Corporate Treasurers of Nigeria revealed the CBN’s intervention in an advisory memo to its members, highlighting the significant injections made over the past two weeks.

The memo underscores the urgency to address the steep decline in the value of the naira, which has posed challenges to businesses and individuals alike.

The CBN’s proactive measures signal a concerted effort to stabilize the forex market and restore confidence in the domestic currency.

The injection of funds aims to provide liquidity and alleviate pressure on the naira, which has experienced rapid depreciation in recent weeks.

Market analysts anticipate that the CBN’s intervention will help mitigate the volatility of the naira-dollar exchange rate, providing relief to businesses and consumers grappling with the economic uncertainties.

The move reflects the CBN’s commitment to maintaining stability in the forex market and fostering economic growth amidst challenging times.

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Banking Sector

FBN Holdings Surpasses GTCO, Zenith Bank to Become Nigeria’s Most Valuable Bank

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Femi Otedola

FBN Holdings has emerged as Nigeria’s most valuable bank, surpassing Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) and Zenith Bank in terms of market capitalization.

At the close of trading on Monday, FBN Holdings achieved a market capitalization of N1.22 trillion, solidifying its position at the forefront of the banking sector.

The bank’s market cap is now higher than GTCO’s N1.16 trillion and Zenith Bank’s N1.11 trillion.

The surge in FBN Holdings’ market capitalization represents a 56.68% increase since Femi Otedola assumed the role of chairman on January 31st.

Otedola’s stewardship has been instrumental in driving FBN Holdings’ exponential growth.

Since he was appointed a non-executive director in August 2023 and subsequent ratification by shareholders, his leadership has been characterized by strategic decision-making and investor confidence.

Holdings’ shares have risen from N21.70 to N34 under his chairmanship, representing a significant boost for investors and shareholders.

The market’s positive response to Otedola’s leadership underscores the importance of effective governance and visionary leadership in driving financial performance and investor value.

Minority shareholders have expressed optimism about Otedola’s impact on dividend payments and capital appreciation, highlighting his track record of prioritizing shareholder interests in his previous roles.

FBN Holdings’ ascent to the top spot signals a new era of growth and stability for the bank, setting the stage for continued success in Nigeria’s dynamic financial landscape.

As the banking sector navigates evolving market conditions, FBN Holdings’ position at the pinnacle reflects its resilience and adaptability in driving sustainable value for stakeholders.

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