By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigerian agric tech startup, ThriveAgric, bested competitors from Europe and America to win the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) – a global open innovation program and competition for start-ups and fintech companies.
Taking place in Qatar in the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022, the global finale was preceded by a year-long competition that saw entrepreneurs across the world compete in regional editions before advancing to the final stage.
ThriveAgric defeated Zeti, a fintech enabling pay-per-use financing of sustainable transport from Europe (2nd place), while audience favourite was awarded to Huli, a platform that connects patients, doctors, and other healthcare services from Latin America.
Speaking on the victory, Mr Ayo Arikawe, co-founder of ThriveAgric and winner of Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) leg of the competition, delivered his pitch on how ThriveAgric is enabling strategic partnerships with financial institutions and agriculture value chain players to provide smallholders with financial services, agriculture inputs, extension, market linkage, e-commerce, and payment services.
“As a central part of the Nigerian economy, agriculture is the livelihood and main source of income for many of our people. The hard work we’ve put into ThriveAgric will ensure that technology is leveraged to empower farmers across the country. To not only win the CEMEA regional VEI competition but also pitch at the final here in Qatar gives me great confidence in our ability to scale our solutions and continue to enrich farmers’ lives,” he added.
As for the organisers, Mr Andrew Torre, Regional President for CEMEA, Visa, more than 4,000 fintechs participated in the global Visa Everywhere Initiative, including a record 1,130 applications from Central Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
He said, “A new fintech generation is transforming the way consumers and businesses make payments, making it easier for more people to access and move money when they need it. We congratulate ThriveAgric and all the winners in this year’s competition, and we look forward to continuing partnering with fintechs to solve the payments challenges of tomorrow”.
On his part, Mr Ruben Salazar, Senior Vice President and global head of Visa Direct, said: “As we strive to create more ways for people, SMBs, and larger businesses to participate in the global economy, the VEI competition provides a unique insight on how fintech is helping shape the future of money movement and expanding access to underserved markets and regions. Today’s Visa Direct Award winner will have access to modern tools and teams that help enable global money movement to billions of endpoints worldwide.”
The event brought together Visa and industry thought leaders and a previous Visa Everywhere Initiative winner to celebrate the innovative fintechs and their solutions. Mr Wade Arnold, founder and CEO of Moov Financial and 2021 Visa Everywhere Initiative North America and Global winner, returned as a judge, with special guest Visa’s Dr Saeeda Jaffar, Group Country Manager for the GCC region, hosting a fireside chat with French football legend, Marcel Desailly.
Demand Pressure Jerks NGX All-Share Index to 54,213.09 points
By Dipo Olowookere
The sustained demand for domestic stocks further raised the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited by 0.40 per cent on Friday, with the All-Share Index (ASI) crossing the 54,000-point threshold at the close of business.
The index, which measures the general performance of the bourse, appreciated by 214.97 points to settle at 54,213.09 points compared with the preceding day’s 53,998.12 points, as the market capitalisation expanded by N117 billion to close at N29.528 trillion as against Thursday’s closing value of N29.411 trillion.
The growth reported yesterday was supported by buying pressure across sectors of the market, though the consumer goods space came under selling pressure, losing 0.39 per cent.
However, this did not affect the outcome of the bourse due to the 1.06 per cent recorded by the banking counter, the 0.31 per cent expansion posted by the insurance sector, the 0.17 per cent growth printed by the energy counter, and the 0.04 per cent improvement reported by the industrial goods space.
Business Post reports that the market breadth remained positive on Friday, with 35 price gainers and 10 price losers, indicating a very strong investor sentiment.
Red Star Express, International Energy Insurance, and FTN Cocoa gained 10.00 per cent each yesterday to finish at N2.53, 99 Kobo, and 33 Kobo, respectively. MRS Oil gained 9.94 per cent to end at N19.35, and Northern Nigerian Flour Mills rose by 9.55 per cent to N9.75.
Conversely, Ikeja Hotel was the worst-performing stock after it dropped 10.00 per cent to 99 Kobo, Lasaco Assurance fell by 5.88 per cent to 96 Kobo, ABC Transport declined by 5.41 per cent to 35 Kobo, Universal Insurance went down by 4.76 per cent to 20 Kobo, and May & Baker shed 2.89 per cent to N4.71.
At the market yesterday, investors traded 268.02 million stocks worth N2.4 billion in 4,017 deals compared with the 2.9 billion stocks worth N8.1 billion traded in 3,940 deals on Thursday, indicating an increase in the number of deals by 1.95 per cent and a decline in the trading volume and value by 90.66 per cent and 70.37 per cent apiece.
Universal Insurance topped the activity chart after it sold 63.4 million shares, GTCO traded 20.8 million equities, Transcorp exchanged 19.5 million stocks, International Energy Insurance transacted 12.8 million equities, and Access Holdings traded 12.5 million shares.
Naira Shortage: President Buhari Calls for Calm
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to remain calm as they express their anger over the shortage of Naira in the financial system.
Since last week, many citizens of the country have been unable to access their funds in the banks because of a shortage in the supply of the redesigned Naira notes.
This has resulted in a huge crowd at banking premises across the nation, with several persons queuing at Automated Teller Machine (ATM) terminals waiting to withdraw their money with success.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) redesigned the N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations last year and said the old notes would no longer be legal tender from January 31, 2023.
However, while many Nigerians approached their banks last Sunday to quickly deposit their funds to beat the deadline, the CBN announced that the deadline had been moved to February 10, 2023.
The next day, while customers attempted to withdraw their funds over the counter, they were informed that the apex bank had directed them (commercial banks) not to honour cash withdrawal requests.
Also, cash withdrawal from ATMs was limited, making it very difficult for businesses to operate, triggering a protest in Ibadan on Friday.
When the demonstration was going on, Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were meeting with President Buhari to persuade him to do something about the Naira scarcity.
After the gathering, he said in a social media post that, “I am aware of the cash shortages and hardship being faced by people and businesses on account of the Naira redesign.
“I want to assure you that we are doing everything to resolve these issues. Nigerians should expect significant improvements between now and the February 10 deadline.
“I met with a delegation of Governors today on the matter. All the complaints about the execution of the currency change are being seriously looked into.
“I will ensure that everything is resolved in a lasting manner, and we will all enjoy the long-term benefits of the decision.”
Local Currency Appreciates at P2P, I&E, Depreciates at Black Market
By Adedapo Adesanya
The local currency appreciated by N2 on the United States Dollar at the Peer-2-Peer (P2P) foreign exchange (FX) window, closing at N760/$1 on Friday, February 3, compared with the previous day’s N762/$1, indicating a form of ease as tensions rose across the country following a cash crunch that has triggered anger and aggression in some states.
President Muhammadu Buhari stepped in on Friday and pleaded with Nigerians to give him seven days to resolve the crisis caused by the scarcity of new Naira notes.
The President said he had seen reports about cash shortages and the effect on local businesses and ordinary people.
In the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment, the Naira recorded a 50 Kobo or 0.11 per cent upward movement against the US Dollar to trade at N461.50/$1 compared with the preceding day’s N462.00/$1.
The day’s trading data showed that the value of forex transactions during the official market slightly increased by 3.54 per cent or $4.08 million to $119.43 million from the $115.35 million recorded a day before.
But in the black market, the Nigerian currency depreciated against the Dollar by N1 to close at N753/$1, in contrast to Thursday’s exchange rate of N752/$1.
In the interbank window, the domestic currency closed flat against the British Pound Sterling and the Euro on Friday at N568.32/£1 and N507.14/€1, respectively.
At the cryptocurrency market, there was a mixed outcome across the tokens tracked by Business Post as moves by the US Federal Reserve to raise rates by 25 basis points continued to send jittery signals.
Binance Coin (BNB) recorded a 2.8 per cent rise to sell at $329.32, Dogecoin (DOGE) grew by 2.4 per cent to trade at $0.0935, Solana (SOL) appreciated by 1.1 per cent to $24.49, Ethereum (ETH) improved by 0.9 per cent to $1,654.18, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 0.6 per cent addition to quote at $0.4006, while Litecoin (LTC) rose by 0.4 per cent to $99.15.
However, Bitcoin (BTC) declined by 0.7 per cent to trade at $23,356.32, and Ripple (XRP) recorded a 0.2 per cent slump to trade at $0.4092, while Binance USD (BUSD) and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) closed flat at $1.00 each.
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