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Global FinTech Company Collaborates With local Startup To Digitise Okada operations

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Trans-Sahara Industries has collaborated with global Fintech company EightD&Co and its locally registered office, Africa 8D Limited, to launch BluBird Technologies, a ride-hailing service for motorcycles (Okada) and electric bikes.

The service when launched will be the first of its kind in the country targeted at improving the transportation system and making it easy for commuters to move from one place to another.

This was announced during the signing of an MoU between the joint venture partners.

CEO of Trans-Sahara Industries, Gerald Acheampong, told newsmen that his company has adopted technology in providing solutions to aid the government and other stakeholders in speeding up the legalisation of commercial motorcycle operations.

He believes this will have an immense economic contribution and help solve the youth unemployment issues in the country.

There have been debates over whether to legalise the Okada operations in the country with some MPs calling for an amendment of the country’s road and traffic laws to allow the motorbikes to work.

Founder of EightD&Co, Kevin El-Hassan, expressed his company’s vision to create world-class financial solutions for the world’s low-income and unbanked market, as the company has also been doing in the South-East Asian market.

“We combine the best technology and customer empathy to design product experiences that drive social impact, economic advances and solve challenges specific to each region,” he said.

At the MoU signing ceremony, the local managing partner the company Ighsaan Jacobs emphasized the commitment of their company for growing their Fintech presence in Ghana and the innate synergies they have with the new partnership with Trans-Sahara Industries.

According to him, “Trans-Sahara Industries and its amazing team of young visionaries, represent the very core of what we see as empowering local Ghanaian talent and globalizing their dreams into reality. Indeed we are just scratching the surface of where this partnership will collectively lead us to,” he said.

Local Managing Partner Africa, Ighsaan Jacobs and CEO Trans Sahara Industries, Gerald Acheampong

BluBird Technologies seeks to ease the concerns of government and other stakeholders in the call to legalise such an operation which has become popular.

The BluBird App seeks to give motorcycle, electric bike, and bicycle owners the opportunity to earn an income by simply riding around on their bikes to deliver packages or transporting people through a highly regulated and monitored platform.

The App is designed around customer experience, satisfaction and safety.

BluBird will ensure that riders have motorcycles that pass company inspection and meet regulators quality standards.

Regarding safety, the App will partner Okada riders licensed by the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).

According to Mr Acheampong, the platform will ensure that riders wear protective clothing, adhering to traffic regulations thereby curbing reckless riding.

Rides and riders will be assessed for compliance and incentivised by in-app awarded tokens that will translate into higher incomes, he disclosed.

BluBird is also working on a rider training program for all riders on the sharing platform, special training will be provided for females to enable and empower them to become riders in earning a living wage to support their families.

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SPDC disburses N41.1bn on Rivers, other states’ projects

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The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited has spent a total of N41.1bn ($228m) to fund development projects in Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa and Abia states in the last 13 years.

The General Manager, External Relations, SPDC, Mr Igo Weli, disclosed this during the inauguration of one of the projects in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The event was organised by the Tarakiri Cluster Development Board and the Oporomor Cluster Development Board.

The SPDC is the operator of a joint venture agreement involving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Shell, Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited.

At the events, 24 completed projects for 2019 valued at N496.9m were handed over to Tarakiri Cluster communities while those of Oporomor Cluster communities for 2019 were valued at N737.4m.

Beneficiaries of the Tarakiri Cluster communities were given as Ayamasa, Agbere, Isampou, Ofoni, Agbidiama and Egbemo-Angalabiri communities, all in the Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state.

The benefiting communities under the Oporomor Cluster are Peretorugbene, Amambolou, Oweigbene, Ndoro I, Ndoror II, Tamogbene and Norgbene, also in the Ekeremor LGA.

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AfDB Advocates disclose $1.8tn AUM for Investment

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In line with driving development in Africa, the President of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has announced the need to mobilise mutual funds and other Assets Under Management (AUM) in the continent put at $1.8 trillion, to drive Africa’s development. He disclosed this in an interview on the sidelines of the just-concluded 2019 Annual Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington DC recently.

He also said commercial banks who desire to get credit lines from the AfDB would have to increase lending to women-focused businesses, saying the bank was set to launch a rating for women- focused lending.

Through mobilising capital to accelerate growth in the continent, he stated: “Africa today has in its pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance mutual funds $1.8 trillion of asset under management.

“Those sovereign wealth funds and pension funds are being invested outside of Africa in money market instruments that are generating negative real yield of returns.”

He added: “So what we are working on at the AfDB is how do we get the pensions and sovereign wealth funds to invest in Africa.

“Africa Sovereign funds shouldn’t be invested in other sovereigns, it should be invested in Africa to create better wealth and better environment and quality of lives for our people. For me that is very important.”

Speaking further, he said: “The other thing is in terms of stimulating growth is the role of capital markets. The AfDB is supporting strongly the development of capital markets to be able to mobilise domestic savings and to drive investments in the economy.”

The AfDB boss mentioned that, the bank has been able to mobilise $3 billion for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). And AfDB was planning to launch what he described as a Women Financing Index for Africa.

Under the arrangement, all financial institutions in Africa would be rated based on their lending to women. The ratings, he said would be both in terms of the volume of lending and in terms of the lending that they give as well as its impact on women.

In addition, he said, “So, those who lend more to women will get more resources from us and those who are lending more can get more resources at a discounted rate from the bank; so, you can lend more and have more impact for women.

“I will like to see financial institutions in Africa being held fully accountable when it comes financing women. The reason for that is very simple. For me, women run African economies and I think we need to support them and helping them get the financing that they need.

“It is part of a bigger agenda that we have where we are supporting women, this in particular is very strategic. We would help to minimise $3 billion for women businesses.

“I think when Africans get the issues of women right, we can get everything right. We provide funding through Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) that will help to mobilise funding for women in Africa.” He noted.

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Access Bank’s hits N1bn digital lending Daily

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As part of its achievements, the leading financial institution Access Bank has expanded digital lending portfolio through  given Nigerians instant and  access to funds for insurgencies without any collateral, and has hit N1bn daily in loan value.

The Executive Director, Retail Banking, Access Bank Plc, Victor Etuokwu, said in a statement, “We are at the forefront of digital lending across the continent. This is a deliberate choice we made when we introduced the first USSD based digital lending product in Nigeria based on our deep understanding of our operating environment.

“In the past two years, we have disbursed loans to over 3.5 million  individuals. We acknowledge it is no mean feat when compared to where the market is coming from, but this is still a scratch in the overall potential of this market.

“This year alone we have disbursed over N45bn in over 2 million disbursements to individuals and have recently witnessed a spike in our volumes hitting N1bn daily. This achievement and our focus on retail lending reiterate our commitment to democratise access to financial services leveraging digital technology.”

Since the launch of Access Bank’s digital loan portfolio with PayDay Loan as the flagship product, Access Bank said it had continued to expand its loan portfolio using its proved innovative algorithms and deep machine learning capabilities.

The bank’s retail innovation journey had led it to expand its digital loan offerings to other multi-tenured variants to fit the needs of its diverse retail customer segments, it added.

Access Bank also launched a dedicated loan application platform known as QuickBucks in the third quarter of 2018; a Mobile Banking Application for digital loans aimed at improving customers borrowing experience for retail loans.

As part of its commitment to deepening digital finance, the bank said it had gone a step ahead to provide access to phone ownership as it recently launched a 12-month device ownership scheme where any salary earning customer could select a phone of his choice from its QuickBucks app and walk into any of its partner outlets across the country to pick up the phone.

The Head Digital Banking Business Development, Access Bank, Chinedu Onuoha, said, “Our objective is to ensure that there is a digital loan product for every adult Nigerian who has proven means of livelihood because we know that every individual at one point or another requires some form of financial support.”

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