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Mobilising Nigeria’s Tech Space for Economic Growth



Tech Space for Economic Growth

By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke

The price of crude oil has been crashing after years of successive boom. Nigeria as an oil producing and a dependent nation has immensely benefitted from this oil explosion since its discovery in Oloibiri in 1956. Reports showed that Nigeria earned N77.348 trillion from the oil and gas industry from 1999 to 2016.

For oil, the country abandoned and abdicated agriculture as soon as sweet crude was discovered. Even when agriculture monies were used to build the cocoa house in West, the groundnut pyramids in North and the large expanse of oil palm in the East; every exited the farm for oil fields. As at now, only scraps of the agricultural investments are left.

Fast forward to the present day, oil is no longer the bride that once beholds everyone. As expected, revenue is thinning. The government has resulted in borrowing to finance its project. Recently, Nigeria got $328 million loan from China to boost the ICT Sector and it is appealing to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund for assistance.

At the same time, the government is looking to diversify the economy in order to move it from a mono-economy reliant on oil to a multi-economy.

One of the sectors it is massively pursuing is technology. The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has made it his top agenda to use technology to drive economic growth.

Interestingly, before the government recognised technology as a goldmine, young Nigerians are already pushing the frontiers of technology. These Nigerians are utilising fintech, healthtech, foodtech, propertytech, traveltech, ecommerce and socialtech among others, to tackle social problems and provide much-needed employment.

In this case, Jumia has provided jobs for thousands of Nigerians and at the same time empowered millions more. This is possible because Jumia has over the past six years been able to move from just been a retail store to an ecosystem where you can buy anything and perform any transaction. You can now order food, book hotels and flight, buy groceries as well as make payments. The aim is to keep the customer within the ecosystem and of course, Jumia is clearly achieving this aim.

These creative solutions have attracted million dollar investments from venture capitalists. For example, Fintech startup, Paga, raised $10 million from Global Innovation Partners et al for global expansion.

Also, we have seen the impact of technology in Agriculture. Presently, digital farming pioneered by the likes of Farmcrowdy, Thrive Agric and Crop2Cash provide more insights and information to enable farmers to make informed decisions.

The tech space needs to be properly and effectively harnessed so that it can lead economic growth. One of the first things Nigeria must do is to come up with a framework or policy to back up the technology industry. The reason for this is to ensure there is continuity so that the next administration won’t sideline the painstaking efforts of the government. This legal policy will help create an enabling environment for the tech space to thrive and survive. It will also bridge the gap between decision-makers and ICT practitioners.

Furthermore, there is the need to promote local and international collaboration among the tech startups in the country. This collaboration can be in the form of technical support and data exchange. This will ensure that startups have a longer lifespan and actually help Nigeria.

Importantly, innovation is key to the survival of the tech space. Tech companies have to continually innovate to remain relevant. This can be done through tech and innovation hubs where startups can discuss the latest trends in the tech space.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Binance Gets Digital Asset Service Provider Licence in France




By Adedapo Adesanya

Binance, the world’s largest crypto and blockchain infrastructure provider, has been granted a Digital Asset Service Provider (DASP) registration to operate in France.

The green light was given by Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), which regulates the French financial markets, with the approval of the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), the authority responsible for supervising the banking and insurance sectors in France, especially AML Regulations.

The landmark achievement for Binance represents its first DASP registration in the European Union and demonstrates its commitment to being a compliance-first exchange.

The registration allows Binance France SAS to operate as a DASP in France and provides regulatory protection for local users with regard to the implementation of French AML/CFT and customer identification requirements.

This came just after the platform received licenses to be a crypto service provider in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, a key milestone for the world’s largest digital-asset exchange as it set up the stage for a major push in the Middle East.

According to Binance, compliance and regulation are critical to the development and maturation of the crypto and blockchain industry.

Mr Changpeng Zhao (CZ), founder and CEO of Binance, said: “Effective regulation is essential for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. The French DASP and AML/CFT regulations put in place stringent anti-money laundering and fit and proper requirements to meet the high standards necessary to be regulated in France.”

“We are grateful to the AMF and ACPR who both demonstrated a commitment to innovation that made it possible for Binance to navigate the entire application process. Since day one, Binance has always put its users first, and now the crypto community can have even further confidence in Binance France as a trusted DASP registered in France,” he added.

Mr David Princay, CEO of Binance France added, “The registration of Binance France as a DASP is a key milestone for crypto in Europe. In particular, the new levels of protection for AML will help grow crypto adoption in France and Europe. Greater adoption will help bring better liquidity to the market which will be welcomed by users and the community in particular.”

Following the registration, Binance will significantly expand its operations and intends to recruit more people focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure development.

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We’ll Sustain High Level of Corporate Governance—Seplat




By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The immediate past chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, Mr Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka (ABC) Orjiako, has assured that the company will continue to sustain a high level of corporate governance.

Speaking last Thursday at the closing gong ceremony to honour him and introduce his successor, Mr Basil Omiyi, to the market, the energy expert applauded the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited for insisting on transparent and accountable corporate governance for issuers on its platform.

According to him, this has been critical to the company’s growth, assuring that this trend would be maintained in the interest of the firm’s stakeholders.

“The high level of corporate governance promoted by NGX for its listed companies was a key attribute that motivated Seplat Energy Plc to become part of the market.

“Since our acceptance into the market, Seplat Energy Plc has continued to deliver a corporate governance structure that is accountable and transparent to our investors, employees, government and all other relevant stakeholders.

“We are committed to sustaining these high levels of corporate governance through our collaboration with NGX as we implement market-leading measures towards ensuring Nigeria achieves a sustainable energy sector,” he said.

Corroborating him, Mr Omiyi, said, “NGX has played an instrumental role in Seplat Energy Plc’s growth within the domestic and international markets. Our history with the exchange dates back to 2014 when the shares of Seplat Energy Plc were listed in the market and over the years, Seplat has benefitted immensely from its collaboration with NGX.

“As we celebrate another milestone on the Trading Floor of the Exchange, we look forward to strengthening our partnership with NGX for the fulfilment of our joint goal of leveraging capital to empower sustainable initiatives that positively impact our investors, employees, and the environment.”

The chairman of NGX, Mr A.B. Mahmoud, in his address, congratulated Mr Orjiako for his exemplary leadership and outstanding performance of Seplat Energy for well over a decade, during which the company was listed on both NGX and the London Stock Exchange.

“The notable acquisition of eight oil and gas assets, expansion of the Oben and development of the ANOH gas plants under his leadership positioned the company as the largest indigenous domestic supplier of gas,” Mr Mahmoud, who was represented by a director on the bourse, Mr Kamarudeen Oladosu, he noted.

On his part, the CEO of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, said, “The exchange is better positioned to lead government advocacy efforts for listed companies, promote technology advancement and digital innovation for the capital market, and increase retail investor participation in the capital market aimed at building a market for the future and addressing the prevailing challenge of financial inclusion.

“We welcome Seplat Energy Plc to a renewed NGX and look forward to deepening our collaboration to develop and push for disruptive, out of the box ideas that could support Nigeria’s energy transition into a net-zero economy.”

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JUST IN: CBN Raises Benchmark Interest Rate to 13%



killing interest rate

By Dipo Olowookere

For the first time in two years, the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) has been raised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to 13.0 per cent from 11.5 per cent.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the CBN, who announced this development on Tuesday in Abuja, explained that the decision to increase the benchmark interest rate was taken at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held yesterday and today.

While addressing financial reporters this afternoon, Mr Emefiele said members of the committee were unanimous with the decision to hike the rates as it was the best thing to do after holding them for about two years.

According to the central bank chief, one of the reasons for raising the rate is to control liquidity ahead of the 2023 general elections as politicians would be expected to flood the system with cash in a bid to woo voters.

However, the other parameters were left unchanged by members at the gathering as the Asymmetric corridor remained around the MPR at +100/-700bps, the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 27.5 per cent and the Liquidity Ratio (LR) at 30.0 per cent.

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