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Payment Cards’ Restriction Hurting Banks, Customers –Adeyinka

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  • Payment Cards’ Restriction Hurting Banks, Customers

The Chairman, Committee of e-Banking Industry Heads and Chief Digital Officer of Wema Bank Plc, Mr. Dele Adeyinka, talks about developments in the e-banking space and the need to increase the adoption of e-payment and alternate channels.

CAN you give an overview of the growth in the e-banking space over the years?

The Cashless Nigeria initiative started about four years ago. We are in 2016 and are still counting the dividends of that initiative; we are still working to grow the numbers. But if we want to appraise ourselves, we can say with a sense of responsibility that we are on the right track. The volume of cash in the economy is still on the very high side. But we can also say that between 2012 and now, the adoption of the e-channels and alternate payment options has grown significantly. Point of Sale adoption has also grown between then and now; card issuance and the adoption of all the card schemes that we drive in the country have also grown significantly. The usage of cheque has drastically reduced. The adoption of alternate e-payment platforms has grown tremendously.

The NIBSS Instant Payment and NEFT as alternate options to doing funds transfer (rather than cheque) have also grown significantly. And If you compare what we had in 2012 and 2106, we have seen some tremendous growth. I have some statistics that I can share. As of the end of 2015, the circulation of cheques in the industry had been reduced to about 2.8 per cent from eight per cent that it used to be , compared to all options of payment. Growth in cash adoption has grown by 15 per cent. Electronic funds transfer and alternate funds transfer channels (NIP, NEFT, AUTOPAY etc), on the general note in the industry, have recorded eight per cent adoption as compared to four per cent adoption that it used to be in 2012.

The deployment of the PoS terminals has also grown seriously. We have a whole of merchant locations, where the use of the PoS terminal has become so prevalent as an alternate point of payment rather than using cash. Of course the deployment of the ATMs in the industry has also grown tremendously. I will say we are on the right track even though we still have a lot to do; stakeholders and different players still have a lot to do. But we have done fairly well and we will continue on that path, encouraging our consumers and stakeholders to adopt these alternative channels of e-payment.

Commercial banks recently stopped their customers from making cash withdrawals (foreign currencies) from Automated Teller Machines abroad using the debit naira MasterCard. This has affected e-payments, especially transactions involving foreign exchange. Will banks reverse this decision soon?

My take on this is that it is a national challenge. It is a hurdle that we all need to clear together. Yes, currently, it is affecting the card space but we all know it is not only the card space. It affects virtually all sectors of the economy. If you go to supermarkets today, you will notice that it is not the type of products that they used to have one or two years ago that they have there now. This is because they are finding it difficult to source for the FX to bring in these products. If the leadership of the country is advising us to look inwards rather than look outside, it is just natural that all of us including those in this sector aligns our visions, thoughts and actions to this national directive; that as a nation, we must look inwards. The decision regarding this in our sector was taken at some meetings. It was not as if it is generally outlawed to use our cards abroad. It was just to say there has to be a limit to the funds our customers and consumers can use outside the country; it tells heavily on our external reserves as a nation because settlement must be done. Today, reports say we have one of the lowest FX reserves in the last decade as a country. And of course, we all know the beginning of this: The price per barrel in the global oil market went downwards, and again some of the countries that used to patronise our crude oil stopped doing that. All of these have affected our FX reserves. For cards, we also considered that if we allow our customers to continue to go outside the country to use these cards, it will naturally get to a state that will further reduce our FX position as a country.

This is because those other countries will need to be settled and they will not be settled in our national currency; they will be settled in foreign currencies (dollars or pounds). Of course, if anything is going to affect our country, it is in our interest as a country to put a hold on it. We are not stopping it outright, we are only saying let us put a limit to the number of what our consumers can use for transactions outside the country. So it is a temporary restrictive measure. It is hurting not just the consumers, it is hurting the practitioners – all of us, but it is a temporary pain we all have to bear now in the interest of our nation. Once we cross this hurdle, and have enough FX reserves to be able to settle our bills, the cards will continue to work.

Are you saying in the meantime, the customers should forget increase in the amount they can spend overseas?

I know that the President, Vice-President, the National Assembly and all of the leadership in the country are working round the clock to resolve this issue. I read in the newspapers how the President himself said he was looking for alternative options, seeking the NASS approval to get some loans to bring in some forex into this country. All the arms of government are working to ensure that we clear this hurdle. But am I going to advise and encourage that we continue to create more problems rather solving existing ones? No, my take will be for us to be solution-providers; and not adding to the problems of the nation. We need to align all of our products and offerings to solving the problems. It is just a temporary pain. Once we clear this hurdle jointly as a nation, it will be obvious to all. We can then increase the limit that our customers can use their cards to spend abroad.

As the CeBIH chairman, what are your visions for this industry?

There is a tag line that we have in CeBIH, it says we want to drive excellence and dynamism through collaboration. My major role and that of other members of the executive committee as we immediately took the leadership of CeBIH is to emphasise that aspect of our tag line that resonates collaboration. We want to use collaboration to achieve much more than ever before. As individual or member banks, we can achieve a lot but as an association or committee, we will achieve much more, if we collaborate. So we are bringing all players and stakeholders together, and we are using that force of collaboration to help us achieve much more. We are going round, and we are involving all stakeholders in what we do. By the way, on a monthly basis, we hold our meetings and we engage all stakeholders within the month. As much as possible, we ensure that all the gaps that we have identified are properly filled. We encourage ourselves to leverage our collective strength to see how we can achieve the Payment System Vision 2020 together. And ultimately, it will affect our businesses, our banks and consumers positively; because ultimately, they will be the beneficiaries.

This is because once our consumers adopt the usage of e-payment and alternate platforms, the business will grow and our individual banks will benefit from it; the revenue lines will increase; the industry and the nation as a whole will benefit.

Can you tell us more about CeBIH?

CeBIH means the Committee of e-Banking Industry Heads in Nigeria. It comprises of practitioners in all of the Deposit Money Banks in the industry.

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.

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Mozambique President Named Africa Oil & Power’s “Person of the Year” for 2020

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H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique has been selected as Africa Oil & Power’s  “Person of the Year” for 2020 by Africa Oil & Power.

This prestigious award is presented to exceptional individuals who display true leadership and innovative thinking in steering their countries or organizations to the forefront of the global energy sector.

President Nyusi has been at the helm of Mozambique’s energy sector during its many recent successes, including several multibillion gas projects which are now in development in this Southern African country. These natural gas projects, once fully actualized, represent more than three times the country’s current GDP, with the Exxon-led Rovuma LNG project valued at $23.9 billion; the country’s Total-led gas project valued at $23 billion; and the $4.7 billion Coral FLNG project, which is expected to reach first gas in 2022.

  • H.E. Filipe Nyusi has steered Mozambique through incredible challenges, and is leading the country to demonstrable economic success.
  • Multibillion-dollar gas projects are transforming Mozambique’s economy and are leading to prosperity, progress for all Mozambicans.
  • Africa Oil & Power will present H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique, with highest honors at the Mozambique Gas & Power 2021 event.

“H.E. Filipe Nyusi has led the charge in creating an enabling environment in the energy industry and the broader economy that paved the way for extraordinary energy deals which Mozambique currently enjoys,” said Jude Kearney, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Service Industries and Finance at the US Department of Commerce during the Clinton Administration and currently President of Kearney Africa Advisors. “I can think of no better individual in Africa’s energy space on whom to bestow this award. Mozambique has a bright future ahead as international gas projects drive new growth, job creation, economic development and prosperity,” added Kearney.

Not only has President Nyusi been instrumental in the deals coming through, he has also helped drive a focus on national capacity building and has made sure the projects set aside natural gas for domestic use, setting the country on a path towards economic diversification and energy security.

“H.E. President Filipe Nyusi has worked hard to create an environment that ensures that a strong gas industry will create jobs, boost entrepreneurship, protect our environment, diversify our economy for the benefit of all the citizens and generate much-needed revenue for the government. The President has made the energy sector a crucial component of the economic well-being of Mozambique,” said Florival Mucave, CEO of the Mozambican Oil & Gas Chamber.

“H.E. President Filipe Nyusi has taken Mozambique from a place of relative obscurity in the energy markets, to a place of leadership in the global natural gas industry,” said Renée Montez-Avinir, Managing Director of AOP.  “His leadership has been instrumental in bringing these mega natural gas projects to fruition, providing vital investment security to close several multi-billion dollar deals. There is no doubt, the natural gas projects will transform Mozambique, bringing progress and prosperity to the entire country and placing Mozambique at the forefront of a global natural gas revolution,” added Montez-Avinir.

In office since 2015, Nyusi has aggressively pursued an anti-corruption campaign; continued to lead the country in peace; and has successfully navigated the country through incredible challenges, including Tropical Cyclone Idai that struck Mozambique in 2019 and the economic fallout presented by COVID-19 this year.

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U.S. New Home Sales Jump 108% Over the Last 10 Years

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Data presented by Buy Shares indicates that the United States’ new home sales annual rate has grown by 108.45%. The growth was recorded between 2010 and 2020.

Homes sales spear amid pandemic

The highest sales were recorded this year at 697, 542 as of September 28th, a growth of 2.9% from last year’s 677,386. Over the last decade, the lowest sales were registered in 2011 at 309,853, a drop of 7.40% from 2010’s 334,624.

From the data, it is clear that the new home sales have been rising despite the economic uncertainties. According to the research report:

“The rise in new home sales is a good indicator considering that the United States real estate market was among the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The high sales show a rising momentum as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic.”

The research also overviewed the sales relating to the existing homes where the annual rate jumped by 128%. From the data, the highest sales were recorded this year at about 1.3 million. Last year, the figure stood at 1.2 million. The lowest sales were recorded ten years ago at 577,774.

An overview of the new home median sale price shows a spike of 46.96% The existing home median sale price had a growth of 62.08%. In 2020, the new home sale median price was $332,560, while ten years ago the figure stood at $219,484. On the other hand, the median sale for existing homes stands at $280,134 while ten years ago, the price was $174,843.

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USAID/Power Africa Announces $2.6m in Healthcare Electrification Grants to Solar Energy Companies in Nine Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

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 Power Africa, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announces grants totaling $2,620,650 to solar energy companies to provide reliable, affordable off-grid electricity to nearly 300 healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Nearly 60 percent of all healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity, and of those that do, only 34 percent of hospitals and 28 percent of health clinics have reliable, 24-hour access.  Energy is critical for powering essential devices, medical and sterilization equipment, diagnostics, cold storage for vaccines and medication, information technology, and lights to enable the delivery of continuous health care services. Efficient health services and responses to diseases – including COVID-19 – depend on reliable access to electricity.

In support of the accelerated provision of off-grid solar energy to healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, Power Africa is awarding grants to the following solar energy companies: 

  • Havenhill Synergy Ltd. (Nigeria)
  • KYA-Energy Group (Togo)
  • Muhanya Solar Ltd. (Zambia)
  • Nanoé (Madagascar)
  • OffGridBox (Rwanda)
  • OnePower (Lesotho)
  • PEG Solar (Ghana)
  • SolarWorks! (Mozambique)
  • Zuwa Energy (Malawi)

These companies will utilize Power Africa funding to provide off-grid solar electricity solutions to 288 healthcare facilities across the nine countries represented.

“Solar energy holds great potential to expand and improve health care delivery in sub-Saharan Africa, and off-grid solar technology offers a clean, affordable, and smart solution to electrify healthcare facilities located beyond the reach of national electricity grids,” said Mark Carrato, Power Africa Acting Coordinator. “Power Africa’s experience shows that off-grid solar energy systems can be rapidly deployed to even the most rural facilities.”

“These awards demonstrate what we can accomplish when the public and private sectors join together to break down the barriers to reliable electricity for rural healthcare facilities,” said Chris Milligan, Counselor to USAID, on September 22, 2020 during a virtual event announcing the grant awardees.

ABOUT THE GRANTEES AND HOW THEY WILL POWER HEALTHCARE IN RURAL COMMUNITIES

Havenhill Synergy will electrify 21 rural healthcare facilities in Oyo State, Nigeria, using an energy-as-a-service business model. The facilities are mostly within peri-urban communities with limited reliable electricity access. Havenhill will provide long-term operation and maintenance of the solar energy systems.

KYA-Energy Group will electrify 20 health centers in Togo. In addition to electricity access, KYA will provide automated solar hand washing stations for infection prevention and solar phone charging stations for generating additional income.  

In partnership with the Churches Health Association of Zambia, Muhanya Solar Ltd. will provide electricity access to seven rural health facilities in Zambia. Muhanya will also electrify staff housing to generate revenue for the operation and maintenance of the solar systems installed at the health facilities. 

Nanoé will electrify 35 rural health facilities in the Ambanja and Ambilobe districts of Madagascar. The company will deploy nano-grids with the health facilities as anchors and connections running to staff housing. Electricity will be sold to the surrounding communities to generate income for the operation and maintenance of the nano-grids. 

With their containerized solution, OffGridBox will provide renewable energy and clean water to six rural clinics in Rwanda. The company will also set up a pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) business model, selling electricity and clean water to the surrounding communities.

OnePower will electrify seven rural health facilities in Lesotho, using the facilities as anchor loads for mini-grids. In addition to powering the health facilities, the mini-grids will provide electricity access for rural communities served by the facilities. 

PEG Solar will provide electricity access to 91 rural community healthcare facilities in Ghana. PEG will adopt a private sector approach to energy service delivery for public health facilities, enabling rapid electrification of the facilities while significantly reducing the upfront financial burden of transitioning to solar energy. 

SolarWorks! will electrify 92 rural healthcare facilities in Mozambique’s Sofala province. To ensure sustainability of the systems beyond the grant implementation period, SolarWorks! will cover operational and maintenance costs of the solar energy systems for five years.

Zuwa Energy will install solar energy solutions in nine health facilities in Malawi. Electricity access will enable the facilities to provide higher-quality health services throughout the day and more comprehensive services at night. Additionally, Zuwa will electrify staff housing with the aim to increase staff wellbeing and retention rates.

“Through these grants, USAID is investing in a set of pilot projects that demonstrate how healthcare electrification can be delivered in a commercially sustainable manner, with strong private sector involvement,” said David Stonehill, the Lead for Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative.  “These grants demonstrate the Power Africa model in action:  We use a modest amount of public funding to de-risk transactions, thus opening the door for private investment.”

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