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.
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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Jamie Dimon Claims Libra Will Soon Be Everyone’s Talk
Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, a global financial services firm, has been reported to claim that Facebook’s Libra project is going to be the talk of many people. Thus, he believes that it does not pose a threat in the near future. Jamie Dimon made this known during a conference call with analysts.
During the speaking, Dimon asserts that talks about Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Libra, has been going on for seven years yet nothing significant has happened. He then avers that about three years from now, we are going to be talking about the project.
“To put it in perspective, we’ve been talking about blockchain for 7 years and very little has happened. We’re going to be talking about Libra three years from now. I wouldn’t spend too much time on it.” He claims.
Dimon added that there is no need for competition rather a leveled playing ground is better. And that since no one aids terrorism or criminal activities, there will be an insistence from the government on conformance to the the rigorous anti-money laundering rules.
“We don’t mind competition,” Jamie Dimon said. “The request is always going to be the same: We want a level playing field. And governments are going to insist that people who hold money or move money all live according to rules where they have the right controls in place; no-one wants to aid and abet terrorism or criminal activities.”
Jamie Dimon’s statements, especially as it regards to regulation in order to curb terrorism or criminal activities, can be taken to come on the heels of Donald Trump’s tweets and Steven Mnuchin’s press conference in support of Trump. These two figures have spoken badly about the ability of cryptocurrencies to facilitate illicit activities.
I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
Steven Mnuchin is the United States Treasury Secretary. He recently echoed Donald Trump’s tweet posts on the negative use of cryptocurrencies.
“Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity, like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, randomware, illicit drugs, human trafficking” … “I think to a large extent, these cryptocurrencies have been dominated by illicit activities and speculation.”
Mnuchin then quotes Trump saying: “Bitcoin is highly volatile and based on thin air’”… “Treasury takes very seriously the role of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.”
Let us recall at this juncture that Jamie Dimon as the CEO of JPMorgan firm is reportedly expecting to project its own digital token known as JPM Coin by the end of 2019.
The dark side of remittances we don’t see
Statistically, there are about 164 million migrant workers around the globe, the majority of which are Africans in the diaspora that have left their families back at home in search of greener pastures and these migrant workers send a large chunk of their earnings to support their families.
Over the years we could see that the remittances inflows that constitute the money transfer business form a reasonable part of GDP income for most countries experiencing economic hardship, countries like the Philippines which have the highest migrant population in the world suffer from this experience the most. Regardless of the constant attention, we see countries like the US give the issue of migrants the global remittance industry keeps flourishing by the day as it keeps increasing in size and level of competitiveness
The dark side we don’t see
Although it may look very simple at first glance the remittance industry is a vast and sprawling network with various intermediaries. We could also easily see that at the most basic level at any time it involves parties which include
- the sender
- local agent
- money transfer operator
- foreign agent
- The receiver
Western Union PayPal and MoneyGram judging by their performance over the years have been seen to offer the best global remittance services, western union is renowned for their high commission as their services are costly and even if we could say that it should cost something for these services to be rendered, it does not take away the fact that there is a good measure of exploitation involved in the whole process as good percentage of whatever is to be sent is deducted before it gets to the receiver. PayPal came into the picture after a while a become a major competitor which we could say would have slashed the monopoly that might have existed in the system but for persons familiar with the services you could see that even they too had their dark side as the level of scrutiny involved when using their platform could get so extreme that you experience lockdown on funds which could have urgent need to the receiving party only for PayPal to hide under the pretext of investigating funds, this is not to mention the discrimination that we see clearly take place as IP addresses of countries which are perceived to be “low classed” are prevented from using their services
Light at the end of the tunnel
With the advent of cryptocurrencies we can already see the potential for a lot to change as this not only eliminates all of the problems previously stated but further reduces the gap between sender and receiver through speed of transfer thereby slowly eliminating any possible need for a third party except of course there happens to be a hybrid system to make both parties more efficient. Blockchain has come to change the way we do a lot off things
Why Trump’s bashing on bitcoin is a milestone achieved to cryptocurrencies
On the 12th of July the president of the United States of America issued a statement on his tweet stating that he is not a fan of bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, while this could be seen to some as a negative turn of events for cryptocurrencies, so many enthusiasts saw this as a step in the right direction considering the fact that the president before now has decided to remain silent on the subject matter, but as it has been making waves recently he decided to take his opinion out through his tweet
Positive or not, for proponents, this obviously marked a psychological milestone seeing that his need to bash bitcoin further buttresses the fact that it is independent of global powers and also reflects their helplessness to be able to do anything to crush it, Coinbase CEO Brain Armstrong stated in one a response to Donald Trump’s tweet as one of the leading responses.
Armstrong’s reply actually reflected the disposition of other bitcoiners as most are thankful for the free publicity that has been given to cryptocurrencies noting a sudden surge in interest as documented by Google trends. Although judging from an objective standpoint of view it is noteworthy to state that Trump’s point of view was not just antagonistic but reflected some level of ignorance especially considering the fact that he found it difficult to consider the technology behind the birthing of cryptocurrencies as nothing but illegal as it has been proven over the very short existence of blockchain that aside from cryptocurrencies there are applications in other aspects of life, other cryptocurrency enthusiasts who have made remarkable contribution to the space also made some replies as Max Keiser, the RT host and regular Bitcoin bull, considered Trump to have nullified his chances of reelection in 2020(even though this is debatable considering the fact that this depends on many other factors) , while eToro senior analyst, Speculations have already been got about as to whether or not this would lead to a bull run as Mati Greenspan, described the words of the president as an early nomination for the most bullish tweet of the year, even though we could say that this makes a good premise to create a fundamental analysis this event does not guarantee any bull run, however, it is expedient to state that cryptocurrencies are beginning to gain more recognition especially with the introduction of libra into the world of cryptocurrencies. These are exciting times for any crypto enthusiasts and we can only sit back and watch the events as they unfold.
Africa Blockchain Alliance Calls for Applications to the Second Cohort of the Africa Blockchain Developer Program
Africa Blockchain Alliance has announced the opening of applications for the second cohort of the Africa Blockchain Developer Program.
The program was launched earlier this year in partnership with ConsenSys Academy, the educational arm of ConsenSys, a market-leading blockchain technology company.
According to Africa Blockchain Alliance, their vision with the program is to train 1000 blockchain developers across Africa and empower them with the tools they need to leverage blockchain to solve some of the pressing problems in Africa and the world.
Through the partnership with ConsenSys Academy, developers in Africa will have access to ConsenSys Academy’s on-demand developer course at a significantly discounted rate.
The developers on the course will have access to dedicated mentors who will have weekly office hours with them for 1 to 2 hours per week and answer their questions daily. Developers will also have unlimited access to an online forum with over 2,000 developers who are all current and past developers trained by Consensys Academy.
The program will run for a period of 11 to 12 weeks (approximately 3 months) starting from August 2019. On successful completion of the program, graduates will be issued certificates on the Ethereum blockchain and given the opportunity to work on blockchain projects in Africa and around the world.
The first cohort of the program is graduating this month. The cohort was made up of developers from 7 African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Morocco.
One of the developers from the first cohort had this to say about the program;
“This course is great. It teaches you about the blockchain ecosystem and how they interact with each other. You’ll learn how to use tools such as Truffle, Solidity, Ganache etc. It’s a course that’s for anyone going into blockchain development.” ~ Valentine Ahiwe (Nigeria)
Africa Blockchain Alliance will also be sponsoring a number of developers to the program through a $10,000 grant from Consensys Grants for the program. Developers that cannot afford the full cost of the program can apply for the scholarship.
You can find out more about the program and apply from the program website: https://afriblockchain.org/developer/
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