By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Africa’s leading payments technology company, Flutterwave, has been chosen to drive the digital transformation efforts of Standard Bank Group, the continent’s largest bank by assets.
With this development, Flutterwave will enhance digital payments experiences for the lender’s customers in Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Mauritius, Cote D’Ivoire and Malawi.
A statement from the bank said both parties are collaborating to build e-commerce, card issuing, payments, collections, USSD, lending, and buy-now-pay-later capabilities for millions of Africans.
The integration will help customers including individuals, SMEs, large companies and institutions to fully leverage the power of digital payments and e-commerce to grow their businesses.
The COVID-19 crisis has changed how people buy and sell across Africa – enabling a massive shift to digital payments and e-commerce.
According to Statista, digital responses were key to improving services within several sectors such as business, healthcare and education. A shift to digital payments accounted for 33 per cent of all COVID-19 responses by governments and the private sector of Sub-Saharan African countries in 2020.
Institutions, businesses and individuals continue to think of ways to reach their customers using digital channels. With this partnership, Standard Bank will provide agile tech solutions to its customers to help them grow their businesses online and offline. This partnership denotes the unique collaborative relationship that exists between banks and fintechs across Africa where the customers’ needs and satisfaction take utmost priority.
Commenting on the news, Olugbenga GB Agboola, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Flutterwave said: “We are proud that Flutterwave’s white-label services power digital efforts for top banks in Africa.
“Our partnership with Standard Bank demonstrates that fintechs and banks are not competitors but trusted partners with the key focus being the customer.
“We plan to grow financial and digital inclusion through this partnership and in the long run, we expect to generate more jobs in the digital economy and enable rapid business growth across the continent.”
On his part, the CEO of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Mr Demola Sogunle, reinforced the importance of the partnership to Stanbic IBTC’s customers.
“In its over three decades of existence, Stanbic IBTC has a rich heritage of serving customers and contributing to the growth of the Nigerian economy. At Stanbic IBTC, we see Nigeria as our home and we drive her growth.
“The selection of Flutterwave as our digital transformation partner reflects our resolve to deliver real impact and opportunities to our various customers. It is also a reflection of our mission to adopt digital strategies to improve our services and processes, being an innovation-driven financial institution,” he said.
Also speaking during the announcement, Eric Fajemisin, Head, Wholesale Clients, Stanbic IBTC Bank said: “One of the mandates on our evolution to a client segment-led organisation is to partner with trusted partners in our ecosystem to meet our clients’ needs.
“This partnership with Flutterwave is one that gives credence to that and enables us to connect with our clients via digital platforms further reiterating our well-earned status as their partner as they also transform within their businesses.”
Commenting on the benefits of the Flutterwave partnership to the financial institution’s customers, Olu Delano, Head, Client Coverage, Stanbic IBTC Bank, stated: “Our collaboration with Flutterwave is a testament to a renewed drive and focus on our future-ready transformation ambition.
“With our clients as the focus and centre of this partnership, we are building a platform and payment system to support our customers and their targeted ecosystem across Africa, ultimately delivering exceptional service and enhancing customer experience.”
CBN Gives DPO Group Payment Services Licence
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted a license to One Payment Limited, a subsidiary of the leading Pan-African digital payments group, DPO Group, to provide certain types of payments services to businesses across Nigeria.
This payment services licence enables the DPO Group to operate as an independent payment solutions services company in Nigeria as it does across over 20 other countries in Africa.
DPO offers merchant aggregation services to over 60,000 active merchants, including e-commerce companies, airlines and travel agents through its robust and reliable network which allows merchants to accept payments in the currency of their choice.
Working across local and international channels, DPO also offers strong protection against fraud and helps merchants manage refunds, chargebacks and more.
The company will be banking on e-commerce which has seen significant growth in Nigeria in recent years, due to high levels of internet penetration combined with being one of the largest digital economies on the continent.
Digital payments make up the large majority of payment volumes in the country, and volumes are expected to reach 7.7 billion by 2025, representing a growth of 45 per cent from 2019.
Speaking on this, Mr Eran Feinstein, CEO of DPO Group, stated that, “Nigeria represents a key market for any business with a digital focus, as one of the most innovative African countries when it comes to fintech and e-commerce.
“This new licence is an exciting development which will allow us to offer an even smoother payment process for Nigerian businesses looking to grow and reach more customers through secure digital payments.”
DPO’s country manager in Nigeria, Mrs Chidinma Aroyewun said, “This licence provides an exciting opportunity for us at DPO. It allows us to work with tens of thousands of Nigerian businesses and help them achieve their growth goals through secure payment technology.”
DPO Group was acquired by Network International in 2021 in a landmark deal for the African payments space. It continues to operate under the same brand in existing territories and will be launching a new comprehensive payment solution, DPO Pay for businesses across Africa and other territories.
BVN: Reps to Investigate Unclaimed Trillions of Naira in Banks
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The House of Representatives has taken a step to investigate the alleged trillions of Naira trapped in commercial banks because owners of the funds have failed to link their bank accounts with the Bank Verification Number (BVN).
In February 2014, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced the BVN and gave bank customers till June 2015 to link their accounts with the BVN.
The scheme was introduced to check and combat money laundering, illicit financing and duplications in the ownership of bank accounts used for fraud.
But almost eight years after the policy was introduced by the apex bank, several bank account owners are to link their accounts with the BVN, meaning they have not been able to access funds in their accounts.
On Thursday, this issue was raised at the lower arm of the National Assembly in a motion moved by a lawmaker, Mr Dachung Bogos.
According to the green chamber of the parliament, about 45.85 million bank accounts are yet to be linked to BVNs as reports by the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) of June 23, 2021, stated that the total number of bank accounts in Nigeria as at May 2019 was 122.07 million, while active accounts as at May 2020 stood at 72.94 million.
It was claimed that suspicious monies running into trillions of Naira were left unclaimed in various banks across the country because their owners had failed to register for the BVN or link to existing ones where appropriate and that commercial banks have flagrantly continued to hold on to the unclaimed monies longer than necessary against the directives of the CBN.
The lawmakers argued that despite the introduction of BVN to curb the misappropriation of funds in the financial sector, about 71 million customers still use their accounts without the compulsory requirement from NIBSS.
When the market was debated during plenary, it was agreed that there is a need to constitute an ad-hoc to look into the suspicious and unclaimed funds in commercial banks as well as unremitted funds collected by commercial banks on behalf of agencies and departments of the federal government.
Zenith Bank to Give Akwa Ibom N4.7bn Loan for Auto Plant
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The government of Akwa Ibom State is planning to obtain a loan of N4.7 billion from Zenith Bank Plc for the establishment of Mimshac Automobile Assembly Plant.
The auto plant is to be located in Ikot Ukap, Itu Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Udom Emmanuel, a former director at Zenith Bank, approached the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for approval of the credit facility.
Mr Emmanuel, in a message forwarded to the Speaker of the House, Mr Aniekan Bassey, and read by the Clerk, Mrs Mandu Umoren, at plenary on Tuesday, explained that the loan will aid the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Akwa Ibom State Government and Mimshac Digital Ltd Automobile Plant for the sum of $10 million (about N4.7 billion at the exchange rate of N470/$1.
According to the Governor, the said amount from Zenith Bank will help “finance the procurement of Semi Knocked Down and Complete Knocked Down (CKD) parts for the assembling of 85 stainless steel, 20-seater luxury buses.”
He further explained that the money will also facilitate the training of 20 persons recommended by the state government on the assemblage and manufacturing of vehicles in Israel.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page on Thursday, the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly said the loan request was supported by lawmakers, who said it would boost the economy of the state and create more jobs for the teeming unemployed youths.
The lawmakers assured that the House will continue to support Governor Emmanuel in his quest to leave the state better than he met it.
The Speaker, while speaking after the loan request approval, directed the Clerk to communicate the resolution of the parliament to Mr Emmanuel.
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