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Bank of Namibia cuts Repo rate to historic 3.75 per cent
August 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

Windhoek – The Bank of Namibia’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to reduce the Repo rate from 4 per cent to 3.75, the lowest point on record.

The MPC decided to reduce the Repo rate to a new historic low, following its bi-monthly meeting on 18 August 2020.

Bank of Namibia Governor Johannes !Gawaxab announced the decision of the monetary policy committee on Wednesday.

Before that, the rate fell to the lowest point of 4 per cent in June 2020, as part of the central bank’s effort to cushion the local economy from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the decision was taken following a review of domestic, regional and global economic and financial development. This translates to a cumulative 2.75 percentage points reduction in the Repo rate since the beginning of 2020.

!Gawaxab said the MPC is of the view that at 3.75 per cent, “the rate is appropriate to continue supporting domestic activity while at the same time safeguarding the one-to-one link between the Namibian dollar and the South African rand.”

He said the bank has to balance the need for further monetary stimulus in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic-induced weaknesses of the economy, against the importance to not undermine sound saving and investment in the economy.

In its economic outlook for August 2020 released on Tuesday, the central bank expects the domestic economy to fall into a deeper contraction during 2020, before returning to positive recovery next year.

It predicted the local economy to contract by 7.8 per cent, before recovering to positive growth of 2.1 per cent and 2.7 per cent in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

The data for the first half of 2020 seems to suggest that the impact of COVID-19 on the economy is more severe than anticipated in the April 2020 update.

The bank noted that the likely contraction of 7.8 per cent for 2020 represents a further deterioration from a milder contraction of 1.1 per cent in 2019.

The estimated deeper contraction during 2020 is mainly attributed to the outbreak of COVID-19, which has led to travel restrictions across the world and lockdowns in many countries, including Namibia.

“Risks to domestic growth is currently dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially through uncertainty regarding its expected duration. Risks to domestic growth are dominated by ongoing travel restrictions that are in place for many countries, including Namibia.

Such measures are restricting business activities and causing disruptions to supply. Other risks to domestic growth outlook include the persistently low international prices of Namibia’s export commodities and adverse climatic conditions,” the bank said.

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Kenya:Equity Bank’s half-year profits fall by 24 pc
August 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma    

Equity Group MD James Mwangi
Equity Group MD James Mwangi

Equity Group Holdings half-year net profit has declined by 24 per cent from Ksh.12 billion to Ksh.9.1 billion.

The drop has been attributed to Coronavirus pandemic which has affected the economy, the bank announced on Tuesday.

The bank’s operational cost increased by 44 per cent to Ksh.26.7 billion from Ksh.18.6 billion. Loan loss provision also rose from Ksh.500 million to Ksh.7.7 billion.

Topline net interest rose by 17 per cent to Ksh.24.6 billion from Ksh.21.1 billion.

”Loan loss provision grew 15 times in recognition of portfolio risk associated with the adverse disruption of COVID-19 health pandemic control, management and containment measures and resultant economic shocks and disruptions of supply chains by economic lockdowns,’’ Equity Group MD James Mwangi said.

Customers shied from the use of Merchant Banking and Agency Banking as a transactional channel with merchant transaction stagnant as commission decreased by 10 per cent from Ksh.103.3 million to Ksh.93.3 million.

The Agency cash-out transaction volume reduced by 20 per cent from Ksh.54 billion to Ksh.42.9 billion with commission declining by 25 per cent from Ksh.1.055 billion to Ksh.789 million.

Non-funded income fell from Ksh.14.5 billion to Ksh.14.1 billion as a result of the waiver of mobile transaction fees since April 2020.

However, retail digital commercial payments Eazzy Pay and Pay with Equity registered 49 per cent growth in the cumulative number of transactions from 1.152 million to 1.719 million. The value of transactions also soared by 52 per cent to hit Ksh.9.8 billion from Ksh.6.4 billion.

The Equity’s balance sheet grew by 17 per cent from Ksh.638.7 billion to Ksh.746.5 billion. This was as a result of 19 per cent growth in customer deposits to Ksh.543.9 billion from Ksh. 458.6 billion.

Regional subsidiaries grew by 2 per cent to 28 per cent from 26 per cent.

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‘Africa’s outlook is positive,’ African Development Bank tells Indian investors and officials
August 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

The groundwork has been laid for Indian investors who are looking to invest in Africa.

During a recent virtual conference hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and its partners, officials called for Indo-African partnerships to go beyond government-to-government cooperation and promote private sector participation in order to accelerate Africa’s development.

The Conference on Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Doing Business with Africa took place on 30 July 2020 and attracted more than 600 participants from over 45 countries. Besides Africa and India, there were also participants from the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, representing businesses, governments, financial institutions, and business promotion agencies.

Akhilesh Mishra, India’s Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, urged the private sector to consider investing in youth and startups because those sectors have enormous potential for employment generation.  He noted that, aside from the long-term funding traditionally provided as official development assistance, African countries will require more targeted short-term financing.

Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, Acting Senior Vice President and CFO of the African Development Bank Group, highlighted business potential in Africa, noting that the continent had great prospects for investors, with a growing consumer market that Indian firms cannot afford to miss.

“The positive outlook for Africa is reinforced by the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which seeks to deepen regional integration across the continent and allow the free movement of people and trade across borders,” Tshabalala said.

Tshabalala said there was a tremendous opportunity for Indian industry to work together with the Bank in sectors such as power generation and transmission, energy, agricultural transformation, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, technology, transportation, and industrialization.

The Bank is seeking to expand the number of bankable projects in Africa and has set aside $100 million for project preparation activities in low-income countries. It is also keen to mobilize greater private sector participation in these projects from all countries, she added.

David Rasquinha, Managing Director of the Export-Import Bank of India, underscored the need to expand Indian financial inflows to Africa by expanding the Indian banking network. He said India and Africa could work together in areas such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals, the financial sector and infrastructure development.

Nana Spio-Garbrah, chief financing analyst from the African Development Bank’s syndications, co-financing and client solutions department, spoke on the Bank’s capacity to mitigate risk for foreign investors, especially during this era of COVID-19.

Spio-Garbrah also talked about the Bank’s Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG) and Partial Credit Guarantee (PCG), which has been upgraded to meet client needs better. She mentioned the Bank’s syndication services, particularly the A/B loan product, which allows B-lenders to benefit from the Bank’s Preferred Creditor Status. She also mentioned the Co-Guarantee Platform – a new cooperative of four risk mitigation providers and the African Union, which collectively pools their capacities to de-risk African projects. 

Takashi Hanajiri, head of the African Development Bank’s Asia External Representation Office made a presentation on the partnership between India and the Bank, and the Bank’s COVID-19 Response Facility. Hanajiri pointed out the huge potential of the Africa Investment Forum and encouraged Indian partners to participate to find investment opportunities in Africa.

The panelists also included representatives from ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, and ABSA Bank, who introduced their financial services and products. Escorts Limited, one of India’s leading engineering companies, talked on the trilateral partnership between India, Japan, and Africa in the agriculture sector.

The conference was supported by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the African Development Bank, the Export-Import Bank of India, and other organizations.

The African Development Bank and India have a long-standing strategic partnership dating back almost 40 years to 1982, when India first joined the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional arm of the Bank Group. A year later the country became a shareholder of the African Development Bank.

*AFDB

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Dr. Robert N. Erlich Joins the African Energy Chamber’s Advisory Board
August 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr. Robert N. Erlich
Robert will be advising and supporting the Chamber’s work within its Exploration Committee.

American geologist and oil expert Robert Erlich has joined the African Energy Chamber’s Advisory Board for 2020 and 2021. Robert will be advising and supporting the Chamber’s work within its Exploration Committee.

Robert brings decades of exploration experience working in the hottest oil & gas frontiers in the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa. During his career, he has notably worked assignments in the US, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, the United Kingdom, and the People’s Republic of China.

His demonstrated leadership, and successful track record of leading technical and operational programs that have resulted in the discovery of several major oil and gas fields make him a key asset to the Chamber’s Advisory Board. Robert has worked both for international oil companies such as BP, and for several junior and independent firms such as Hess Corporation. He is currently a partner and Executive Director, Upstream for Cayo Energy L.P., an oil and gas consulting service specializing in the assessment and evaluation of upstream and midstream projects and investments.

“Bob understands geology and exploration better than anyone else and is known across the industry for his ability to successfully execute exploration programs,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber. “More importantly, he has significant experience exploring Cretaceous depositional systems of the Equatorial Atlantic margins on both sides of the Atlantic. His expertise will be crucial to supporting the Chamber’s agenda of incentivizing exploration across the continent.”

Bob received his BS degree in Geology from the University of Miami, his MS degree in Sedimentology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his PhD in Paleoceanography from Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

*African Energy Chamber
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Kenya Airways resumes international passenger flights
August 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Principal Secretary Transport, Solomon Kitungu and Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and CEO Allan Kilavuka at the Ceremony to Mark the Resumption of International Flights From JKIA
Principal Secretary Transport, Solomon Kitungu and Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and CEO Allan Kilavuka at the Ceremony to Mark the Resumption of International Flights From JKIA

Kenya Airways (KQ) has resumed international passenger services following the easing of movement restrictions as directed by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta.

 It is reported that the first international flights departed 1st August to the following international destinations, London, Dubai, Addis Ababa, Kigali, and Lusaka.

 It has been added that during the month of August, there will be a gradual increase in the network with flights to Paris, Mumbai and Amsterdam. In Africa, the airline will operate flights to Accra, Dzaoudzi, Freetown, Harare, Kilimanjaro, Lagos, Monrovia, Moroni, Nampula and Zanzibar. Based on demand and other factors, resumption of services to other destinations around the globe will occur.

The Airline plans to start operations to USA, China and Thailand from October 2020. These destinations require the bulk of the network to open up so as to sustain adequate traffic on the routes.

“Since resuming domestic flights on 15th July 2020, we have been monitoring the adherence to the protocols that we have in place to ensure the health and safety of our customers and staff, and I am pleased that they are being enforced and followed strictly,” said Allan Kilavuka, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Airways.

“The resumption of our international flights is an important milestone for us. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to provide connections for our farmer’s produce to reach international markets, medical supplies to reach our people through our Cargo flights, as well as reuniting families through the repatriation flights we mounted with support from the Government of Kenya. We look forward to welcoming our guests on board from today onwards as we play our role in kick starting economies, not only for Kenya but also for those countries that we operate to,” he added.

Some of the safety measures the airline has put in place to ensure the safety of passengers include, the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) by the flight crew and airport workers where necessary, and limited interaction between crew and passengers. The airline is also providing sanitizer stations onboard and washing of hands will be encouraged by crew on board the flights.

All the aircrafts are fitted with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. The filters ensure that the quality of air on board is kept clean by constant filtration and replacement with air from outside the aircraft. They also trap particulates such as viruses and bacteria, and as the air flows primarily from the ceiling to the floor, it helps minimize particulates spreading throughout the cabin. The airline will continuously review the protocols in place and update where necessary to ensure the health and safety of all.

Kenya Airways Chairman of the Board Michael Joseph
Kenya Airways Chairman of the Board Michael Joseph

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the tourism and aviation industries, globally. According to IATA, demand for travel is forecast to fall by 58% in 2020, while passenger revenues will decline by over $6 billion compared to the previous year. Kenya’s tourism industry meanwhile has lost 80 billion shillings ($752 million) in revenue so far due to the crisis.

It is added that while it is not expected that these sectors will immediately return to business-as-usual as travel restrictions are still a reality, the resumption of international flights is an important step for Kenya towards bringing the sectors back to life.

According to the Kenya Airways Chairman of the Board, Michael Joseph, “The global economic and geopolitical context remains uncertain and it will take another 2-3 years to gain the confidence of travellers and begin the path to recovery for air travel demand. A number of industry watchers predict that it will be a few years before air travel returns to the 2019 levels.”

“However, the resumption of international flights from Nairobi to the world is a major step towards recovery, as it will enable local businesses to connect with global markets, contributing favourably to the Kenyan economy and towards the sustainable development of the continent,” he added.

  Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to 54 destinations worldwide, 41 of which are in Africa and transports over four million passengers annually. It continues to modernize its fleet with its 34 aircrafts being amongst the youngest in Africa. This includes its flagship B787 Dreamliner aircraft. The on-board service is renowned and the lie-flat business class seat on the wide-body aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10. Kenya Airways takes pride for being in the forefront of connecting Africa to the World and the World to Africa through its hub at the new ultra-modern Terminal 1A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Kenya Airways celebrated 43 years of operation in January 2020 and was named Africa Leading Airline 2019 by the World Travel Awards. For more information, please visit www.kenya-airways.com or call our 24HR Contact Center: +254 20 327 4747, Twitter: @KenyaAirways, Facebook: Kenya Airways, Instagram: OfficialKenyaAirways

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A Decade in Peerless :Excellence GTBank is Nigeria’s Best Bank for a record extending 10 Times
August 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (https://www.GTBank.com/) has long been regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions in Africa, a reputation that has been further buttressed by its recent recognition as the Best Bank in Nigeria by the renowned business and finance magazine Euromoney, for a record-extending ten times between 2010 and 2020. The foremost African financial institution was also recently awarded the Euromoney Excellence in Leadership Africa Award for its swift reaction in responding to the Covid-19 crisis and for addressing the impact of the pandemic on its customers and communities.

Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence is one of the most coveted accolades in the global financial services sector. The Magazine’s Awards for Excellence celebrates the best banks around the world by recognizing institutions that have demonstrated leadership, innovation, and momentum in the markets they operate. Key to GTBank’s dominance as the Euromoney’s Best Bank in Nigeria is the Bank’s consistency in driving new innovations in financial services, championing community development programs that uplift the most vulnerable in society, and delivering the best performance across several key financial indices. The Euromoney awards also reflects the efficacy of the Bank’s long-term strategy and the dedication of a senior management team that abhors complacency, puts a premium on excellent service quality and keeps the business in a constant state of innovation.

Regarding GTBank’s Excellence in Leadership Award, Euromoney said; “One of the first things Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank did with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic was to get in touch with local authorities to see how the bank could help. Recognizing that the pandemic would stretch the public healthcare system, the Bank partnered with local authorities to set up a care facility for people with Covid-19. “GTBank also granted small and medium-sized enterprises a grace period of 90 days [which has since been extended by a further 3 months] on all loan payments. It is also developing other resources to help SMEs better understand and navigate the impact of the pandemic,” the magazine added.

Commenting on the Bank’s Euromoney Awards, the Chief Executive Officer of GTBank, Segun Agbaje, said; “We feel very humbled to be awarded the Excellence in Leadership in Africa Award and immensely proud to be named Nigeria’s Best Bank for a record tenth time. These awards reflect what we are all about at GTBank—giving back to society and adding value to people’s lives. They are also testaments to our commitment to always be there for our customers and communities as a beacon of hope, an engine of progress and a platform for enriching lives.”

He further stated that; “As we continue to navigate the fallout of this pandemic, the imperative of our time as an organization remains safeguarding our lives and livelihoods. This means that we will continue to lead from the frontlines by protecting our employees, serving our customers wherever they may be, helping businesses make it through these uncertain times and supporting public authorities in combatting the pandemic.”

GTBank serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation. Renowned for its forward-thinking approach to financial services and customer engagement, the Bank was recently ranked Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand in the 10th-anniversary rankings of Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands, the pre-eminent survey and ranking of the Top 100 admired brands in Africa.

*SOURCE GTBank

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German Energy Investors Have a Bright Future in a Post-Covid 19 Africa
August 3, 2020 | 0 Comments
The reshaping of the continent from 2021 onwards provides a great opportunity for German companies and technology to fight energy poverty in Africa.

On Thursday, the Germany-Africa Business Forum (GABF) is organizing an exclusive webinar to encourage new deals between German and African public and private energy stakeholders. This is an extremely timely initiative. Covid-19 has accelerated several major trends and dynamics within Africa’s energy sector which are set to significantly increase the demand for German capital and technology on the continent.

Energy has been identified by most African governments and financial institutions as a key sector able to support Africa’s economic recovery post-Covid-19. In parallel, global trends toward a cleaner energy transition are now accelerating and Africa is no stranger to the game. The reshaping of the continent from 2021 onwards provides a great opportunity for German companies and technology to fight energy poverty in Africa and support the natural gas monetization and valorization drive from Mozambique to Senegal, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania.

“The African Energy Chamber is calling on Germany to work with African businesses to lower carbon emissions and support Africa’s path to a net zero future. From gas flaring to gas-to-power and cleantech, Germany has the capital and technology Africa needs to build an inclusive and sustainable energy future,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

By engaging not only with African governments but with the continent’s entrepreneurs and private companies, German stakeholders can structure the deals who will ensure a successful future for the German-African energy cooperation. German technical know-how and technology is increasingly looked after when it comes to assessing climate change risks and opportunities in business planning, and supporting public policies embracing decarbonization.

Germany’s appetite for Africa has already translated into landmark projects and deals across the continent. In West Africa, Siemens is currently supporting Nigeria in raising its electricity capacity of 25GW under the country’s Presidential Power Initiative. Meanwhile, Voith Hydro and the Commerzbank recently joined Angola’s Caculo-Cabaça Hydropower hydroelectric project to support CGGC in completing the 2172MW power facility by 2024. An increasing number of German SMEs are also involved in landmark gas and power projects, including the Akinokien LNG receiving terminal in Equatorial Guinea.

“We need to foster a candid and constructive dialogue with a broad range of German and African stakeholders on investment, energy poverty, the creation of an enabling environment for private businesses and the implementation of free market policies that benefit the poor and emerging African middle class,” concluded Nj Ayuk.

Register for the webinar here: https://bit.ly/30oT8m9

*African Energy Chamber
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Senegal, Equatorial Guinea set to discuss post-Covid-Investments in Africa with Germany’s Private Sector at Germany Africa Business Forum (GABF) Webinar
July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
In 2019, the GABF launched a multi-million Euro funding commitment to invest in German energy startups that focus on Africa.

The Germany Africa Business Forum (GABF) is organizing an exclusive webinar on the topic “Business in Africa after Covid-19” on August 6th, 2020, at 16:00 Central European Time. The high-level panel will be expanded with an opening speech by the Minister of Mines & Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, H.E. Gabriel M. Obiang Lima.

“We are proud to announce that H.E. Gabriel M. Obiang Lima, a true champion of German-African relations, will be enriching our webinar. We are excited that through his expertise and leadership, His Excellency Obiang Lima will bring fresh perspectives to the discussion”, said Sebastian Wagner, co-founder of the GABF.

Further, the GABF is happy to confirm the participation of Senegal’s Director General for Cooperation & Financing, Mr. Ibrahima Mané, as a keynote panel member. “German businesses have been important cooperation partners of Senegal for a long time. We are thus honored by Mr. Mané’s participation in our discussion”, added Mr. Wagner.

Other confirmed panelists are Mrs. Onyeshe Tifase of Siemens, Mr. Tim Gengnagel of the Rwanda Development Board and Mr. Kenneth Reed of the GEA Group. The panel will discuss the business opportunities and possibilities arising post-COVID between Germany and Africa. Germany’s strong capabilities in LNG, petrochemicals, gas to power, biomass, and renewable energy have become central to the African energy agenda, with German expansion through the construction of world class facilities in Senegal, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, Angola and other African countries.

In 2019, the GABF launched a multi-million Euro funding commitment to invest in German energy startups that focus on Africa. The funding commitment, which pledges funds to German startups with exposure to African energy projects, is the first such intra-regional initiative. It goes in line with Germany’s renewed focus on Africa, with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) providing new stimulus to cooperation with the continent through the Marshall Plan with Africa.

*African Energy Chamber
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Sterling Bank Leads with Lending, Investing and Credit Rating Features on WhatsApp with Clickatell’s Chat Banking Solution
July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
Oladipo Alabede, Group Head of Digital Banking at Sterling Bank
Oladipo Alabede, Group Head of Digital Banking at Sterling Bank
Customers can now initiate bank transfers, and airtime and bill payments, check balance and BVN enquiries, as well as statement generation directly on WhatsApp with the aid of Kiki.

Sterling Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, in collaboration with Clickatell , a global leader in mobile communications and chat commerce, today announced a unique and very personalised banking experience for existing customers and prospective account holders through the popular messaging app – WhatsApp. Customers can now initiate bank transfers, and airtime and bill payments, check balance and BVN enquiries, as well as statement generation directly on WhatsApp with the aid of Kiki, a new personalised financial assistant. 

The financial assistant also connects customers directly to customer service, making dispute resolution seamless.

Designed to provide personalised service to every customer of the bank, Kiki possesses conversational intelligence and will answer questions related to personal finances once prompted. Kiki makes initiating banking transactions as easy as chatting with friends through the bank’s verified WhatsApp number – +234 906 000 6449.

Oladipo Alabede, Group Head of Digital Banking at Sterling Bank, said “Delivering banking on WhatsApp for instant messaging is desirous by our customers who want a reliable, convenient, and safe medium to perform basic banking transactions on their mobile devices. It eases the stress of moving between apps before transactions can be concluded.”

According to Alabede, WhatsApp is easy, safe, fast and secure. “It has improved security that prevents fraud and enables customers to have access to all their accounts. The service is designed for self-service registration and the customers can sign on from any location. The current features of the app include Sterling to Sterling and Sterling to other banks’ transfers, airtime top-up, bill payments, balance enquiry, BVN enquiry and statement generation, among others.”

“We are pleased to help Sterling Bank enable chat banking on WhatsApp, making banking services available to its customers anytime and everywhere on a channel they use daily,” says Samson Isa, Director – West Africa for Clickatell. He added, “Chat banking is the future of financial services with bank customers preferring the channel for conducting routine banking, as it is fast, simple, and secure. We are proud to be leading this shift in financial services, along with customers like Sterling Bank.”

For a customer to get started, Alabede explained that he or she would need to follow three simple steps.
Firstly, the customer would have to save the mobile number +234 906 000 6449 as a contact on his/her device and should remember to save the number as “Kiki.”
Secondly, once the number has been saved, the customer should start a conversation by typing “Hi,” “Hello” or “Hey,” among others, and sending the message to Kiki.
Lastly, the prospective customer should agree to the terms and conditions by sending “I AGREE” followed by the account number to Kiki. Thereafter, an OTP will be sent to the registered mobile number for validation. The customer is also expected to set a transaction PIN using his/her debit card.
Alabede said the customer must use the mobile number registered on his/her Sterling account to enjoy the service.

He added that a new set of features will soon be enabled, as the bank is exploring ways to serve customers better with the introduction of micro lending, micro investment, account opening, card request, and credit rating, among others.


About Sterling Bank Plc:
Sterling Bank Plc is a leading national commercial banking establishment in Nigeria. It commenced operations as NAL Bank in 1960. Today, with over N1 trillion in total assets, 180 business offices and over 800 ATMs nationwide, Sterling Bank has grown into a major financial institution. The Bank prides itself as ‘Your one-customer bank’ that celebrates each customer as a unique individual.

About Clickatell:
Today’s consumers choose chat as their preferred method of communication (e.g., text, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.) and expect a high degree of convenience in the way they are served with goods and services. Clickatell (www.Clickatell.com) makes this possible by offering real-time customer engagement and transaction platforms that enable businesses to connect, engage, and transact with their customers via mobile chat and other digital channels. With offices in the US, Canada, South Africa and Nigeria, Clickatell has 15,000 customers, ranging from Fortune 500 organizations to well-known consumer brands and SMEs. We have connected to 6 billion mobile phone users in over 220 countries and territories worldwide.
*SOURCE Clickatell
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Angola and OPEC are a Strong Pillar of Market Stability
July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum  Diamantino Azevedo
Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum Diamantino Azevedo

Angola’s support to global market stability and energy cooperation is significant, and gives confidence to operators and future investors seeking to do business in Africa.

The OPEC-Angola discussions that took place last week is a major pillar of the strong dialogue and cooperation between OPEC and African producing nations.  The Chamber  welcomes these discussions and encourages more collaboration as Angola and others will benefit from market stability.

Such a dialogue is key for compliance with the OPEC global production cuts deal of April, to which all of OPEC’s African member countries have agreed to. Angola’s support to global market stability and energy cooperation is significant, and gives confidence to operators and future investors seeking to do business in Africa.

“In December 2018, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo made a historic visit to Angola and committed to working with its leadership to improve the industry and strengthen its relationship with OPEC. The OPEC-Africa dialogue has brought this relationship to a new level. African voices are heard and advocated for within the industry’s most influential institution, ensuring that the continent’s interests are represented,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

“The Government of Angola, and the country’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum have always been strong participants in the global energy dialogue between Africa and institutions such as OPEC. Angola has public officials committed to making energy work for Africans, and to fighting energy poverty in Angola. Such move makes our industry better for Africans and for investors,” declared Sergio Pugliese, President of the African Energy Chamber in Angola.

Under the leadership of His Excellency President João Lourenço and his Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum H.E. Diamantino Azevedo, Angola has embarked on a set of bold and market-driven reforms for over two years now. The country is becoming increasingly competitive for regional and international investors and has sent strong signals of its openness to investments, commitment to local content development and determination to fight corruption

*African Energy Chamber

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L’OREAL LAUNCHES THE 2020 EDITION OF ITS AFRICAN HAIR & SKIN RESEARCH GRANT AND A DEDICATED WEBSITE
July 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
File picture from the 2019 awards in Dakar,Senegal

Paris on 27th July 2020 – The L’Oréal group, the World’s leader in beauty products, has announced today the launch of the 2020 edition of its African Hair & Skin Research Grant. The winner, who will be chosen by a panel of nine African and international scientific jury, will be awarded the grand prize of 10,000 Euros to support their one-year research project. Research applications will be received on www.africaderm.com through 28 August 2020 .

Established in 2013, L’Oréal’s African Hair & Skin Research Grant aims at promoting African scientific excellence, through encouraging clinical and basic research, conducted by scientists from the Continent, on African skin and hair – a field that remains largely unexplored. In its 7 years of existence, the grant scheme has received over 40 research proposal submissions from 17 Sub-Saharan African countries. 

Last year, 3 scientists from Kenya, Senegal and Nigeria, focusing on pollution, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and traction alopecia, respectively, were each awarded a research grant at a prestigious ceremony held in Dakar, Senegal on 7 October 2019. 

The Grant also opens the door to African scientists to gain advice from a network of worldwide experts, and offers them greater visibility. Last year, renowned South African dermatologist and previous grant winner, Professor Ncoza Dlova, published her research findings in the prestigious high impact international journal New England Journal of Medicine.

In parallel to the Grant’s 2020 Edition launch, L’Oréal has also unveiled AfricaDerm.com, the first dermatological website dedicated to African skin and hair concerns. The website aims at providing a centralised channel for the exchange of scientific information for all hair and skin experts in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

As such, the website features a directory of African hair & skin experts in Africa, national dermatologist’s societies in the continent, and free education materials for patients. It will be constantly updated with congress information, grant announcements and public outreach programs happening in the continent.  

Dr. Michele Verschoore, Medical Director, L’Oréal Research & Innovation, France, commented: “For more than three decades, L’Oréal has built scientific programs for increasing knowledge on African Hair & Skin. Our collaboration with the medical and scientific communities across Africa have allowed for over 50 scientific publications by African teams in international dermatology journals, 5 Winners of the L’Oréal African Hair & Skin Research grant, and the creation of the first and only dermatology professional association for the whole African continent, the African Society of Dermatology and Venereology (ASDV)”.

ABOUT L’ORÉAL

About L’Oréal

L’Oréal has devoted itself to beauty for over 100 years. With its unique international portfolio of 36 diverse and complementary brands, the Group generated sales amounting to 29.87 billion euros in 2019 and employs 88,000 people worldwide. As the world’s leading beauty company, L’Oréal is present across all distribution networks: mass market, department stores, pharmacies and drugstores, hair salons, travel retail, branded retail and e-commerce.

Research and innovation, and a dedicated research team of 4,100 people, are at the core of L’Oréal’s strategy, working to meet beauty aspirations all over the world. L’Oréal sets out ambitious sustainable development goals across the Group for 2030 and aims to empower its ecosystem for a more inclusive and sustainable society.

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Africa’s First Sports, Media & Entertainment Practice Launched by Centurion Law Group
July 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
The practice will be offering local and international companies and stakeholders a full suite of legal and management services.

African athletes, along with the continent’s entertainment, sports, advertising, and media industries are important to the regional and the global economy. In order to further support the rapidly growing sports & entertainment industry across Africa, Centurion Law Group is delighted to announce the launch of a new dedicated practice.

Across sub-Saharan Africa, sports, media & entertainment have increasingly become revenue-generating industries for African countries, pillars of jobs creation, and important drivers of economic diversification. Beyond just Nollywood, the African entertainment and sports industries have become at the center of global investments, and have capitalized on increasing technology adoption to become globally competitive.

“With its track record of delivering high-profile and high-quality deal making, Centurion is the perfect fit for Africa’s sports, entertainment and media industries,” stated Oneyka Ojogbo, Sports & Entertainment Practice Head. “We are witnessing the rise of a true African sports & entertainment industry that now requires the best possible legal and business support services coming out of the continent itself,” she added Ojogbo

As the industry grows and attracts investments, it is even more crucial to adequately protect its essence, local players, revenue streams and overall bankability. Centurion’s new practice will offer a bridge between private and public sector, ensuring that regulations embrace market trends, promote an enabling environment for investors, and protect the interests of African entrepreneurs and companies operating in that space.

“Our job goes beyond legal advice. We provide counsel for career and life, and help clients build a business around their brand, protect their assets, and take advantage of strategic business opportunities during and after their career,” concluded Ojogbo.

The practice will be offering local and international companies and stakeholders a full suite of legal and management services including finance, licensing, intellectual property rights and enforcement, competition, advertising, representation and negotiation, sponsorship, investments and compliance.

Centurion is a leading pan-African legal and energy advisory group with extensive experience in the oil and gas sector. The group provides outsourced legal representation and covers a full suite of practice areas for its clients, including arbitration and commercial litigation, corporate law, tax and anti-corruption advisory and contract negotiation. Centurion specializes in assisting clients that are starting or growing a business in Africa with offices and Affiliates in Ghana, Cameroon, Canada, Germany, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, South Sudan, Nigeria, Gabon, Angola and Senegal.
*SOURCE Centurion Law Group
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