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Addis Ababa to host the Africa Fintech Summit

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Addis Ababa to host the Africa Fintech Summit

On November 21, leading innovators, investors, and policy makers from around the world will gather in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the 4th edition of the Africa Fintech Summit (AFTS).

With participants who represent over $4.5bn in private equity and venture capital funding, the AFTS is the premier global initiative dedicated to financial technology in Africa. The bi-annual summit occurs each April in Washington, D.C., and each November in a different African city. The AFTS Advisory Board unanimously chose Addis Ababa as the 2019 host city in recognition of its rapidly growing economy, extensive infrastructure investments across the last two decades, and ambitious reform agenda that includes partial privatization of the national telecom monopoly and
ongoing liberalization of the financial sector.

“I am thrilled that this great event is coming to Addis Ababa,” said the Honorable Getahun
Mekuria (Dr.-Ing) Minister of Innovation and Technology, Ethiopia.

“And there is no better time than Nov 2019 for this Summit to come to Addis, to show to our policy makers the great economic impacts fintechs are bringing to other economies and to prove that our current sweeping digital reforms are absolutely correct.”

H.E. Fitsum Arega, Ethiopian Ambassador to the US, added:

“I am very much pleased to welcome Africa Fintech Summit delegates to the continent 's political capital and a nexus of global events, Addis Ababa. Ethiopia's commitment to Pan-African economic growth and integration is evident from its founding membership of OAU/AU, its offer of visa-on-arrival to all African travelers, its ratification of  the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) last April, and by its flag-carrier Ethiopian Airlines, which connects 61 African cities to more than 120 destinations worldwide. Ethiopia is well positioned to welcome global travelers for the Africa Fintech Summit.”

“In addition, the country’s renewed focus on digitizing the broader economy and driving greater financial inclusion through innovation, there is no better time to host the Fintech Summit in Ethiopia,” the Ambassador added.

The AFTS is organized by Dedalus Global, an investment and communications advisory focusing on emerging markets and emerging technologies, and by Ibex Frontier, an investment consultancy and route-to-Ethiopian-market advisory.

“We are extremely proud to bring AFTS to Ethiopia, the 2nd most populous nation in Africa that is at the inflicting point of digitalization, as e-commerce and financial inclusion are of prime focus both by the Government and the tech sector. We look forward to welcoming global investors and Fintech eco-system players with warm Ethiopian hospitality,” said Zekarias Amsalu, Founder & MD of Ibex Frontier.

This past April, the AFTS in Washington, D.C. hosted 200 entrepreneurs, bank executives, policy makers, and corporate influencers from over 20 countries. Past AFTS speakers include Jim Ovia, Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank; Clinton Townsend, Director, Global Fintech at Visa; Olugbenga Agboola, Co-Founder and CEO of Flutterwave; Tayo Oviosu, Founder and CEO of Paga; Andi Dervishi, Chief Investment Officer at IFC; and Worku Gachou, Managing Director for Africa, OPIC.

The AFTS Addis Ababa will focus on the future of banking, mobile money growth and integration, policy and regulation, blockchain, digital identity, remittances, and financial inclusion. Strategic partners for the Summit include the Corporate Council on Africa, the US State Department, the US-Nigeria Council, the Congo Business Network, and PeaceTech Lab.

Figure 1 Zekarias Amsalu, Founder and Managing Director of IBEX Frontier LLC, and Leland Rice, CEO of Dedalus Global LLC, signing an MoU to jointly organize and execute the Africa Fintech Summit in Addis Ababa on November 21, 2019.

Figure 1 Zekarias Amsalu, Founder and Managing Director of IBEX Frontier LLC, and Leland Rice, CEO of Dedalus Global LLC, signing an MoU to jointly organize and execute the Africa Fintech Summit in Addis Ababa on November 21, 2019.

A limited number of delegate passes for the AFTS Addis Ababa are now on sale. To learn more or to register, visit http://africafintechsummit.com/.

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Jelurida Africa Sponsors National Blockchain Hackathon

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Jelurida Africa today announced that it will be sponsoring students of 5 different universities to the National Campus Blockchain Hackathon on September 25th and 26th 2019 where they will have the opportunity to pitch their Blockchain-based idea or solution to investors. The Sponsorship will cover their cost of flight to Abuja, feeding and accommodation.

Having been to five institutions across the country earlier in the year with Jelurida’s support, the National Campus Blockchain Hackathon is set to hold its Finale on the 25th and 26th of September, 2019 where winners of the previous Hackathons from each school will be hosted in Abuja by Jelurida for the conference themed ‘Blockchain Innovation for Sustainable Growth in Nigeria’.  

 

The Campus Blockchain Hackathon, an initiative of the Blockchain Industry Advisory of Nigeria (BIAN) a subdivision of the Cryptographic Development Initiative of Nigeria (CDIN) with sole sponsorship from Jelurida is a two days programme that is hosted in Universities across Nigeria. Jelurida Africa, a Blockchain Technology firm in Lagos Nigeria as part of their efforts of spreading advocacy and creating awareness of the Blockchain technology have been solely involved in sponsoring the Campus Blockchain Hackathon programmes right from its inception in 2018.

The major tertiary institutions that previously participated were selected across the geopolitical zones in the country which are Covenant University, Kwara State University, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Federal University of Technology Akure and the University of Nigeria Nsukka.

This upcoming Finale is a two day event where  the Campus communities are taught about the Blockchain technology, its potentials and use cases on the first day and made to think out ideas or solutions that can be implemented with this technology which will be pitched to the judges on the second day and the best solution goes home with a sum of 100,000 naira and other souvenirs.

Also, the finals of the Campus Blockchain Hackathon will offer participants the opportunity to pitch their blockchain-based ideas to investors from various industries that will be present at the event.



Pictures from  event

Jelurida Africa’s mission is to ensure that the rate of adoption of the Blockchain technology in Africa is fast-tracked through implementing solutions for businesses using the technology. The Managing Director Adedayo Adebajo believes that the youths are the most acceptable of new trends hence his full support of the programme in Campus communities which is also in line with the companies key offering of Education and Consulting. For more information about the company and what they do, visit the website or follow on social media platforms @jeluridaafrica.

 

Meanwhile, the Campus blockchain and cryptocurrency tour CampusBCAT 2019 train will be moving to the University of Port Harcourt after recording great success at its first stop at the University of Ibadan UI on the 7th of September. The event is slated to be held on September 24.

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Imposition of Charges for Deposits & Withdrawals by Nigerian Central Bank Could Drive Crypto Adoption

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Imposition of Charges for Withdrawal by Nigerian Central Bank Could Drive Crypto Adoption

The Central Bank of Nigeria in circular sent to Deposit Money banks said signaled it will impose charges on deposits in addition to already existing charges on withdrawals.
The charges come as a drastic move to compel participation in the nationwide implementation of the Cashless Policy initiative of the Apex bank. This will commence by the end of the first quarter of 2020.
According to the circular already circulating the internet, charges will take begin from the 18th of September, 2019. For individuals, amounts above 500,000 ($1389) will incur processing fees of 2% for deposits while withdrawals will attract 3% charges.
The circular also reports for corporate accounts a 5% processing fees for withdrawals and 3% charges for deposits of amounts above N3,000,000 ($8334).
The cashless policy full implementation will commence from March, 2020 however, the charges will begin on the 18th of September, 2019 and charges on deposits will only apply in select regions in the country such as Lagos State, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, Rivers States and the Federal Capital Territory FCT.

The decision of the Apex bank to enforce the charges on deposits has been met with criticism as mostly seen on cryptotwitter

Recall the Federal Inland Revenue Service had early announced a tax on online transactions. The consumption based tax is expected to affect digital purchases.
The Tax Administrator revealed the Deposits Money Banks DMBs in the country will act as collection agents. The Value Added Tax VAT which is currently at 5% is expected to increase the cost of online purchases.
While the FIRS Boss has disclosed the collection of VAT on digital goods would require legislative backing as the VAT legislature doesn’t support the appointment of Commercial Banks as VAT collection agents rather the vendor is the collected and remitter of VAT, the Nigerian Federal Executive Council FEC has approved the increase of the VAT to 7.5%. A move which has caused uproar in the country.

In the midst of economic uncertainty and diminishing purchasing power of the naira, coupled with the difficulties of accessing forex, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been helping locals to circumvent the difficulties encountered in accessing forex while also helping to store wealth and move funds across border at a low rate and fast speed.

The decision of the Apex bank to charge on deposits and withdrawals could inform businesses and individuals transacting in high volumes adopt the use of cryptocurrencies to avoid paying the charges. With local and foreign blockchain firm’s products like the BPay Prepaid Card and the BitPay Card which allows users to make transactions with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies without having to hold funds in any bank, cryptocurrencies presents a fascinating alternative to the use of traditional banking infrastructure.

While the aim of the Apex bank is to enforce the Cashless society policy, sentiments are not with the government and this move could have given a nudge to adopt crypto.

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MasterCard to Develop New Blockchain Powered Cross Border Payment Solution in Partnership with R3

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MasterCard has strategically partnered with R3, a leading enterprise blockchain software provider to develop and pilot a new blockchain enabled cross border payment solution that will focus on connecting worldwide faster payment infrastructures, schemes and banks supported by a clearing and settlement network operated by MasterCard.

In a press released by Mastercard, the global payment firm revealed has earlier strengthened its cross border network by its acquisition of Transfast – a global cross-border payment network provider with proprietary payment network serving more than 120 countries globally.

The partnership will help provide increasing innovative, value added services for customers, addressing challenges such as high processing overheads, liquidity management and the current lack of standardization and processes between local clearing systems and banks.

Speaking on the partnership, Peter Klein, an Executive of MasterCard says the development of a new and better cross border Business 2 Business payments solution by improving worldwide connectivity in the account to account space is central to MasterCard’s ambition.

Peter Klein went further saying “Our goal is to deliver global payment infrastructure choice and connectivity as demonstrated through our recent strategic acquisitions and partnerships, including our relationship with R3.”

“It confirms our commitment to innovation, both home-grown and through partnerships and acquisitions, to support advances and innovation in the increasingly complex global payment infrastructure space”

The firm believes the partnership with the Enterprise Blockchain Software provider will provide customers with unrivaled choice to transfer funds.

R3’s CEO David Rutter expressed his excitement at the partnership saying R3 is happy to partner with MasterCard to help shape the future of the digital payments ecosystem.

He went further saying, all institutions either large or small rely on the ability to send and receive payments, but all too often the technology relied upon is expensive and complex.

Defining Corda, David Rutter said, Corda was designed specifically for enterprise use cases such as cross border payments that is a pain point and R3 looks forward to supporting MasterCard bring blockchain enabled payments to business around the world.

R3

R3 is an enterprise blockchain software firm working with a global ecosystem of more than 300 participants across multiple industries from both the private and public sectors to develop on Corda, its open-source blockchain platform, and Corda Enterprise, a commercial version of Corda for enterprise usage.

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Libra Association Seeks Payment License for Facebooks Cryptocurrency in Switzerland

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Facebook makes plans to get payment system license from the Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) for its digital currency Libra. According to Reuters report on Sept. 11.

Going by an official statement the Switzerland registered association aims to govern the Libra network as a non-profit membership organisation. The body explained it’s decision to carry out this regulatory framework with the Swiss watchdog:

 

“Switzerland offers a pathway for responsible financial services innovation harmonized with global financial norms and strong oversight. We are engaging in constructive dialogue with FINMA and are encouraged to see a feasible pathway for an open-source blockchain network to become a regulated, low-friction, high-security payment system.”

 

Guidance on regulatory requirements made for payments on the blockchain network and blockchain related services including exchanges, trading platform and wallet providers was notably released by FINMA this summer.

The guidance released complies to the framework for the regulation of digital assets which was issued June this year by the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which includes provisions for Anti Money Laundering (AML) measures, Know Your Customer compliance, risk-monitoring systems and others.

 

The concerns of other bodies

The United States Treasury officials had told had told reporters in Geneva that it was of utmost importance that the Libra project satisfy the highest standards for combating money laundering and countering terrorism financing if it gets approval by the lawmakers and regulators.

On Sept. 5, Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan made a statement on this, saying that stablecoins pegged to foreign currencies creates a possibility for an adverse effect on Switzerland’s monetary policy.

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