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Maximizing Remittances for African Development: Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Opportunities

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Money Transfer - Investors King

By Ifelade Ayodele

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the significant role remittances play in driving economic growth and development across Africa.

While much attention has traditionally been focused on remittances from the African diaspora outside the continent, there is a compelling case to be made for fostering intra-African remittances as well.

However, numerous hurdles must be addressed to fully realize the potential of these transactions. In this piece, I’ll explore both the importance of intra-African remittances and the benefits of outside remittance, while delving into the challenges that hinder smooth transactions within Africa.

Remittances, either from outside Africa or within, are lifelines for millions of families across the continent, providing essential support for basic needs, education, healthcare, and entrepreneurship.

While external remittances have historically played a significant role, intra-African remittances also offer unique opportunities for economic empowerment, particularly given the scale of internal migration within the continent.

To put it into perspective, approximately 20 million people migrate within the continent, a figure that exceeds the combined total of over 15 million migrants across the US, UK, Canada, and Europe.

Remittances, both to and within Africa, offer several potential advantages. These funds can stimulate local consumption, spur investment, and fuel entrepreneurship, thereby contributing to the growth of economies at both the household and national levels.

In the case of intra-African remittance, there’s an added dimension: it enhances the financial stability and independence of African countries.

It’s worth noting the significant improvements in remittance flows from outside of Africa, facilitated by the emergence of various fintech solutions. The potential is endless. However, intra-Africa remittance encounters several challenges that need to be addressed.

The obstacles are multifaceted and deeply entrenched. Remittances are made less valuable by exorbitant transaction fees connected to cross-border money transfers inside Africa, which deters both senders and recipients.

Moreover, a considerable segment of the African populace continues to lack or have insufficient banking, which restricts their ability to utilize official channels for sending money abroad. These difficulties are exacerbated by the many regulatory frameworks that exist in African nations, which lead to complexity and impediments to the smooth transfer of funds.

Inadequate digital payment systems and banking services are just two examples of the inadequate financial infrastructure that further impairs the effectiveness and accessibility of intra-African remittance routes.

Governments, financial institutions, technology companies, and other stakeholders must work together to develop a holistic strategy to address these issues. The following are a few possible fixes:

  • Expanding Financial Inclusion: By promoting the use of digital wallets and mobile money, as well as improving financial literacy, efforts can reach underserved communities with formal financial services, making remittance routes easier to use.
  • Harmonizing Regulatory Frameworks: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union are two examples of regional economic blocs that can significantly contribute to standardizing remittance practices and harmonizing regulatory frameworks across their member states.
  • Fostering Innovation: Fostering innovation in financial technology (fintech) solutions can bring more affordable and user-friendly remittance options. Examples of such fintech solutions include AI driven emittance platforms and mobile banking apps.

As a young entrepreneur, I envision a future where innovative remittance solutions seamlessly connect African nations, facilitating efficient and affordable transactions. This future includes intra-Africa remittance channels that are as accessible as those from outside the continent.

Through the utilization of cutting-edge technologies and advocacy for regulatory harmonization, my goal is to contribute to building a resilient remittance ecosystem that empowers individuals, businesses, and economies throughout Africa.

Both intra-African and external remittance mechanisms play pivotal roles in fostering economic development across the continent. By tackling the obstacles impeding intra-African remittances while maximizing the benefits of external remittance, we can fully unleash the potential of these financial flows as catalysts for African growth and prosperity.

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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Banking Sector

Fidelity Bank Launches N127.1bn Public Offer and Rights Issue on June 20

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Fidelity Bank Plc, Nigeria’s sixth-largest bank, is set to open its public offer and rights issue to investors on Thursday, June 20, 2024.

In preparation for this significant financial event, Fidelity Bank will host a “Facts Behind the Offer” presentation at the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) on the same day.

This presentation is expected to provide detailed insights into the bank’s strategy and the opportunities presented by the public offer and rights issue.

Under the rights issue, Fidelity Bank will offer 3.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N9.25 per share. These shares will be available to existing shareholders in the proportion of 1 new ordinary share for every 10 ordinary shares held as of January 5, 2024.

In addition to the rights issue, the bank will also offer 10 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to the general investing public at N9.75 per share. This dual approach is part of the bank’s comprehensive strategy to raise a total of up to N127.1 billion.

The acceptance and application period for the rights issue and public offer will commence on Thursday, June 20, and close on Monday, July 29, 2024.

This timeline provides investors ample opportunity to participate in the bank’s capital expansion.

Fidelity Bank has engaged Stanbic IBTC Capital as the lead issuing house for the combined offer. The joint issuing houses include Iron Global Markets Limited, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Afrinvest Capital Limited, FSL Securities Limited, Futureview Financial Services Limited, Iroko Capital Market Advisory Limited, Kairos Capital Limited, and Planet Capital Limited.

These firms will play a crucial role in managing the offer and ensuring its success.

The bank’s initiative to raise N127.1 billion is seen as a strategic move to bolster its capital base and ensure compliance with the CBN’s revised capital requirements, which were introduced on March 28, 2024.

This capital raise is expected to enhance the bank’s capacity to support its growing customer base and expand its operations across Nigeria and beyond.

In recent years, Fidelity Bank has demonstrated robust financial performance and growth, positioning itself as a key player in Nigeria’s banking sector.

The successful completion of this public offer and rights issue will further solidify its standing and enable it to pursue new opportunities in the competitive financial landscape.

Investors and stakeholders are keenly anticipating the outcome of this capital-raising exercise, which is poised to mark a significant milestone in Fidelity Bank’s journey toward sustained growth and stability.

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Banking Sector

Fidelity Bank Plc Promotes 11% of Staff Following Record Financial Performance

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Leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc has announced the promotion of 11% of its workforce, a testament to the exceptional performance and dedication of its employees.

This significant move follows the release of the bank’s 2023 full year Audited Financial Statements, which reported an impressive 131.5 percent growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT) to N124.26 billion.

The recent promotions span every level within the bank, reflecting Fidelity Bank Plc’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding excellence across its entire organization.

This strategic initiative has garnered positive reactions from staff members, who see it as a validation of their hard work and contribution to the bank’s remarkable financial achievements.

In addition to the promotions, Fidelity Bank Plc has also concluded arrangements to raise a total of N127.1 billion through a Rights Issue to existing shareholders and a Public Offer. This move is part of the bank’s broader strategy to strengthen its capital base, support future growth, and enhance shareholder value.

Fidelity Bank Plc’s impressive financial performance and the subsequent employee promotions highlight the bank’s robust operational strategy and its commitment to fostering a rewarding work environment. By investing in its people and ensuring their career growth, the bank continues to build a motivated and high-performing workforce.

Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc is a full-fledged customer commercial bank with over 8.5 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.

The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.

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Finance

Nigeria to Receive $2.25 Billion from World Bank for Economic Growth

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The World Bank has approved a $2.25 billion funding package aimed at stabilizing the economy and assisting the most vulnerable segments of the population.

The Washington-based lender announced this approval on Thursday.

The fresh infusion of capital is designed to bolster Nigeria’s efforts to stabilize its economy, which has been plagued by years of foreign-exchange shortages and economic instability.

The funding will also focus on enhancing non-oil revenue streams and safeguarding oil revenues to ensure fiscal sustainability.

This, in turn, will help deliver quality public services and support the poor and economically at-risk communities.

Ousmane Diagana, the World Bank’s Vice President for Western and Central Africa, emphasized the importance of this financing package.

“Nigeria’s concerted efforts to implement far-reaching macro-fiscal reforms place it on a new path which can stabilize its economy and lift its people out of poverty,” Diagana said.

“This financing package reinforces the World Bank’s strong partnership with Nigeria, and our support towards reinvigorating its economy and fast-tracking poverty reduction, which can serve as a beacon for Africa.”

Since assuming office in May 2023, President Bola Tinubu has initiated a series of reforms aimed at addressing the chronic foreign-exchange shortages and stimulating economic growth.

Key measures include allowing the naira to trade more freely, significantly increasing interest rates, and phasing out a costly fuel subsidy by adjusting gasoline prices.

Also, the Central Bank has taken steps to clear a $7 billion backlog of unmet foreign-exchange obligations to industries and foreign investors.

These reforms are part of a broader strategy to attract foreign investment and diversify the economy, which has traditionally relied heavily on oil production.

Despite Nigeria’s status as Africa’s largest oil producer, low crude production levels and a lack of economic diversification have contributed to ongoing fiscal challenges and foreign-exchange shortages.

The World Bank’s funding is expected to provide much-needed support for these reform efforts, helping to stabilize the economy and improve the overall economic outlook.

The injection of $2.25 billion will not only address immediate fiscal needs but also lay the groundwork for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

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