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Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Wednesday, 13 November 2019 16:18

Opera unveils Opera News Hub

Opera, the Norwegian browser developer and leader on AI-driven digital content, announced Tuesday that Opera News, the most downloaded news app in Nigeria, is expanding its platform with the introduction of Opera News Hub – a new online media platform that helps authors and bloggers produce their online content and share it with the fast-growing Opera user base of more than 350 million users worldwide and over 120 million users in the African countries.

Opera News Hub connects seamlessly with other Opera mobile applications like the popular Opera Mini browser and the standalone news app Opera News. This means that content creators who choose to distribute original content in Opera News Hub, will have a unique opportunity to reach a new international audience, increase their number of followers on social media channels, and run their own online publication across the various Opera mobile products.

“With Opera News Hub, we are enabling thousands of Nigerian authors and bloggers to explore their creativity in a collaborative online media platform based on generated content,” said Scot Eritemu, Product Manager for Opera News. “Opera News Hub also guarantees premium content placement across the Opera mobile apps, allowing them to be discovered by a large international audience of over 350 million Opera users.”

The user interface of Opera News Hub is easy to use and allows content creators to set up their online content in minutes. Once the login and registration process is completed, Opera News Hub allows you to create an article where you can edit the text and images according to the goals of your publication.

Content creators that are already using other social media platforms to share their content can link their social media profiles to their own website in Opera News Hub to increase their traffic and profile views.

The Opera News Hub platform also allows authors and bloggers to keep track of their publication traffic, helping them better understand the topics that their audiences are primarily interested in.

The platform’s dashboard displays detailed information about the number of impressions, visualizations and shares that their articles have.

This information becomes valuable for content creators who are searching for detailed information that they can use to improve the monetization of their online content.

Opera has great ambitions to continue leading the digital transformation of Africa. Last year, Opera announced its Africa First strategy, wherein the company committed to launch its new products and services in Africa before anywhere else in the world.

This strategy was set up with the ambition of contributing to the growth of the African digital economy and speed up internet adoption across the continent.

The inclusion of Opera News Hub into Opera’s product portfolio is part of Opera’s strategy to expand its products beyond mobile apps. Opera News Hub joins the recently announced online content and marketing platforms Opera Ads, OLeads and OList.

With these digital content and marketing platforms, African businesses and content creators now have better opportunities to interact with their audiences and grow in popularity by expanding their online presence.

Published in Telecoms

The European Investment Bank on Tuesday formally agreed to support the membership expansion of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) with a concessional financing facility to cover the shareholding of three prospective members – Cameroon, Niger and Togo.

This represents the first time the European Investment Bank has backed ATI’s membership expansion. Unlocking additional investment insurance is expected to transform public and private sector investment in the countries. Investment insurance includes the full spectrum of political and credit risk insurance covering both sovereign and corporate risks.

The Agreement with ATI to enable the European Investment Bank to finance membership of countries was signed earlier today at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg by Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the European Investment Bank and John Lentaigne, Ag Chief Executive Officer of the African Trade Insurance Agency.

“Today marks a significant milestone in the European Investment Bank’s support for the private sector and sustainable infrastructure development across Africa.

The agreements agreed in Johannesburg today will enable West African countries to benefit fully from ATI membership and benefit from increased investment in sectors such as agriculture, energy, manufacturing and health.

As the EU Bank, the European Investment Bank is committed to accelerating sustainable development across Africa. This new cooperation will expand the impact of investment insurance essential for sustainable development in West Africa.” said Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the European Investment Bank.

“As an African institution, ATI has a strategic focus to de-risk member countries in order to attract investment and promote growth. The European Investment Bank’s engagement to expanding ATI membership in West Africa will help to ensure that the prospective countries’ economies achieve their full potential and follow the success of ATI membership seen in so many other countries across Africa,” said John Lentaigne, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the African Trade Insurance Agency.

The European Investment Bank, the long-term lending institution of the European Union, will finance capital participation that will enable three countries to access guarantee and insurance mechanisms provided by ATI. Full membership in ATI is expected to follow in the coming months.

Investment insurance key for sustainable development

ATI membership will enable underlying projects to be bankable and able to attract new investors for strategic infrastructure and private sector projects.

The agreement signed today is a key step toward improving private sector investment and sustainable economic development in West Africa by stimulating growth in key economic sectors, driving economic diversification and ensuring more stable and sustainable growth.

ATI membership to reduce borrowing costs and boost investor confidence

Once the countries become full ATI members investors will benefit from the full spectrum of investment insurance that protects against non-payment of both sovereign and corporate risks.

ATI membership has already helped other African countries to reduce sovereign borrowing costs. ATI currently insures USD 6 billion of transactions across Africa as a current outstanding portfolio.

Ensuring international environmental and social standards

The agreement will ensure that projects follow international technical, environmental and social standards that further reassure international investors.

Published in Bank & Finance

African countries will need to quadruple their rate of investment in their power sectors for the next two decades to bring reliable electricity to all Africans, a new International Energy Agency (IEA) study published said.

If African countries continue on their policy trajectories, 530 million Africans will still lack electricity in 2030, the IEA report said.

It said bringing reliable electricity to all Africans would require annual investment of around Sh12 trillion ($120 billion.)

“We’re talking about 2.5 per cent of GDP that should go into the power sector,” Laura Cozzi, the IEA’s Chief Energy Modeller, told journalists ahead of the report’s launch. “India’s done it over the past 20 years. China has done it. So it’s something that is doable.”

Taking advantage of technological advances and optimising natural resources could help Africa’s economy grow four-fold by 2040 while requiring just 50 per cent more energy, the agency said.

Africa’s population is growing at more than twice the global average rate. By 2040, it will be home to more than two billion people.
Harnessing renewals

Its cities are forecast to expand by 580 million people, a historically unprecedented pace of urbanisation. While that growth will lead to economic expansion, it will pile pressure on power sectors that have already failed to keep up with demand.

Nearly half of Africans - around 600 million people - do not have access to electricity. Last year, Africa accounted for nearly 70 per cent of the global population lacking power, a proportion that has almost doubled since 2000.

Some 80 per cent of firms in sub-Saharan Africa suffered frequent power disruptions in 2018, leading to financial losses that curbed economic growth.

The IEA recommended changing how power is distributed, with mini-grids and stand-alone systems like household solar playing a larger role in complementing traditional grids. 

According to IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, with the right government policies and energy strategies, Africa has an opportunity to pursue a less carbon-intensive development path than other regions.

“To achieve this, it has to take advantage of the huge potential that solar, wind, hydropower, natural gas and energy efficiency offer,” he said.

Despite possessing the world’s greatest solar potential, Africa boasts just five gigawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV), or less than one per cent of the global installed capacity, the report stated.


- Reuters

Published in Engineering
Wednesday, 13 November 2019 12:57

2019 FMDQ Gold Awards: Stanbic IBTC Wins 5 Awards

Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a member of the Standard Bank Group, has won five awards at the 2019 edition of the FMDQ Gold Awards which held recently at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos.

Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, emerged the overall winner in the Secondary Market category, winning the ‘FMDQ Dealing Member of the Year’ award, for the second year running. The company also won the award for ‘FMDQ FX Market Liquidity Provider’ of the year.

Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited, another subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, won the ‘FMDQ Capital Markets Securities Origination’ award, thereby emerging the overall winner of the Primary Market category. The company also won the ‘FMDQ Registration Member (Quotations) Award’.

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited won the ‘Most Active Buy-side Participant in the Fixed Income Market” award.

Dignitaries that attended the event included Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State and Mary Uduk, the Acting Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Both dignitaries presented awards to Stanbic IBTC.

Funso Akere, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Capital, said the awards would further spur the company to continue providing excellent services across the financial services spectrum. He said: “The five awards we have won will have a positive impact on our operations. This means raising the bar in terms of service delivery. It is a challenge to continually create innovative solutions for our clients. As long as we keep delivering innovative solutions to our clients, they will continue to engage us and we will continue to do transactions.”

He further expressed his appreciation to the clients of Stanbic IBTC, stressing that it was because of them that the company was winning awards. Akere also commended the effort of employees of Stanbic IBTC for putting their heart and soul in service delivery to the company’s clients.

Samuel Ocheho, Head, Global Markets, Nigeria at Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC described the awards as a testament to the culture of hard work at Stanbic IBTC.

He said: “This signifies that we are a top player in the foreign exchange market and in the secondary market for all money market products. It is a testimony to the hard work that we have been engaged in as an institution.”
The FMDQ Gold Awards, held annually, recognizes stakeholders whose participation in the fixed income, foreign exchange and derivatives markets, have supported and fostered growth and development of these markets as well as the Nigerian economy. The inaugural edition was held in 2018.

Published in Bank & Finance
Wednesday, 13 November 2019 12:47


Today is Wednesday; four days to the closing ceremony of UTANG UNITY CUP 2019 with the theme: FOR I BELIEVE, and that signals our official take off point for the winding down processes.

Accordingly, we are poised to serve you with the stats that have made the rounds already and are thickening the built of the tournament.

Fifteen goals have been produced by fifteen different scorers in at least eleven matches played so far; averaging 1.4 goals per game.

We have seen some slalom runs and some searching passes.

We have seen some crunchy tackles and some malicious challenges.

We have seen some epic aerial duels and some brilliant saves.

We have seen some sensational goals and we have seen some comical misses.

We have seen many glancing header and a lot of brilliant footwork

And with the semifinals still to come, we know we will see more because UTANG UNITY CUP is in the city.

#grace #wellfocused #utang #midweek #closingceremony
#stats #talents #discovery #four #days #togo #unity #cup #2019 #ibelieve #webelieve #akwaibom #countdown #udom #martha #completionagenda #onlygod

Published in World

Sir Richard Branson has apologised for a photo he used to mark the launch his new Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in South Africa.

The entrepreneur tweeted a photo which was criticised for failing to reflect the diversity of South Africa.

One of the critics is South African fashion designer Thula Sindi, who says: "Where did you find so many white people in South Africa?"

Sir Richard tweeted an apology, saying it "clearly lacked diversity".

A Virgin Group spokesperson added the image in Sir Richard's tweet did not reflect "the diverse make-up of attendees" at the launch event.

In the intial tweet, Sir Richard said: "Wonderful to be in South Africa to help launch the new Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship. We aim to become the heart of entrepreneurship for Southern Africa."

It sparked a series of responses, including from Mr Sindi - whose designs were worn by South Africa's minister of communications and telecommunications, Stella Ndabeni-Abraham on the day she was sworn in.

He remarks that it must have "Really taken an honest effort for exclude the majority of the population which is just as skilled and talented".

Sir Richard later tweeted: "Apologies. I hope you will take a look at my blog which does far better justice to the amazing work of the Centre and its team."

In the link to his blog, Sir Richard writes: "We will play a more meaningful role in entrepreneurs' lives than your average accelerator, supporting companies to not just survive, but thrive, and make business a real force for good in society, for the environment and the economy."

One individual had told critics they were wrong. "This is one of many pictures, most of which are diverse," he tweeted.

South Africa's population of almost 58 million is 80% black African, and Sir Richard writes in his blog that the "economy is dependent on entrepreneurial activity for creating future economic growth and jobs".

"But the economic contribution to South Africa's entrepreneurial sector is below the developing country norm. I believe that increasing entrepreneurship in this country is the golden highway to economic democracy," he adds.


Sir Richard's Virgin Group has a wide range of interests from gyms to planes and the entrepreneur's space company, Virgin Galactic, listed on the New York Stock Exchange last month.

A spokesperson for Virgin said: "The tweet linked to a blog about the launch of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship South Africa, which assists aspiring entrepreneurs of all backgrounds with the skills, opportunities and inspiration they need to succeed.

"We apologise for the poorly chosen image, but would like to emphasise that this does not reflect the diverse make-up of attendees.

"As the video, other social posts and other images of the event show, many of the diverse group of Branson Centre entrepreneurs, trustees and team were present and the image attached to that particular tweet should have reflected this too."


Source: BBC

Published in Business

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has dismissed the notion of Africa being a risky environment for investors. According to him, data has shown that Africa has a lesser default rate compared to more developed continents.

The AfDB boss spoke yesterday at the ongoing Africa Investment Forum in South Africa. Adesina predicted an average growth rate of about three percent for the continent, adding that about 20 countries on the continent could even achieve an average of five percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate.

“And guess what, six of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa,” he stressed.
Adesina added that foreign direct investment in Africa increased in 2018 by 11 percent, compared to four percent in Asia and a decline of 13 percent globally.

“So, Africa is doing well on investments, but it still needs to do a lot more and Africa is ready to absorb a lot more of those investments.“The risk perceptions of the continent while high are often exaggerated and they do not match what the data show on risk and return performance on investment,” he stated.

He compared Africa’s default rate with other continents, saying, “consider for a moment, the Moody’s Investment Services on project loans and finance between 1983 and 2016; it shows that Africa has one of the lowest project default rates in the world, much lower than Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe, North America and the Oceania.

“Yet investments are tilted to regions with much higher default rates. So, it is not about real risks, it is all about perceived risks.

“Last year, when we all gathered here at the inaugural Africa Investment Forum, we secured investment for deals valued at $38.7 billion in less than 72 hours. A lot of progress is being made on this investment with a highly dedicated team working around the clock to accelerate financial closure of transactions.”

Adesina added: “Let me cite a few examples: The Africa infrastructure investment fund for investment in agriculture was presented here last year; it sought $500 million and $500 million equity has been closed – promise made, promise kept.

“The Africa Guarantee Fund for investments sought $175 million to support small and medium size businesses and enterprises and the equity transaction has been finically closed – promise made, promise kept.

“Here in South Africa, the beef agro-processing project, we sought $350 million and that has also been financially closed. The Alitheia identity fund, a private equity fund specifically for women businesses put up right here for $72 million has been financially closed – promise made, promise kept,” he added.
In his address, the President of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, debunked the allegation that his country is prone to xenophobic attacks on foreigners and urged foreign investors to take advantage of the huge investment opportunities in the continent.

Ramaphosa said the forum provided a unique opportunity for deal-making. “Last year, there were quite a number of investors who came from 55 countries, the forum was instrumental in mobilizing funding for initiatives as diverse and exponentially impactful as the Accra Skytrain, the Kigali innovation city, the first road/rail/bridge project linking Kinshasa and Roseville and the $320 million Africa infrastructure investment fund.

“This is an indication of the breadth of investment opportunities that do exist in our continent in areas such as mining, oil and gas, infrastructure, agricultural production, manufacturing, renewable energy and a range of other profitable sectors.

“Much of the economic progress over the last few years has been made possible by developments in the area we call the political sphere.
“This has been a good year for the consolidation of democracy across our continent. National, presidential and parliamentary elections have been held in a number of countries notably in Botswana, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Mozambique and right here in South Africa.

“Global investor surveys consistently highlight political stability and security as important considerations for committing capital. Every election that passes peacefully and that reflects the will of the people is another major step towards the attainment of an Africa that is at peace with itself,” he explained.
He also faulted the notion that Africa was unstable and a risky place to invest and to do business.



Published in Business
Wednesday, 13 November 2019 04:50

Zimbabwe: New Coins, Notes Hit Market

Local banks started the issuance of the new Zimbabwean dollar coins and notes as of this morning following a ZWL$30 million allocation to banks by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), 263Chat Business can report.

The new notes are expected to ease liquidity crisis in the market resulting in people paying more to get cash which is usually sold at a premium on the black market.

A survey by this publication revealed that most bank clients were being issued the new ZWL$2 coins with notes less visible.

The withdrawal caps however, remain stuck at $ 50 at most banks in line with RBZ drip-feed strategy of the new cash to monitor new money effects in the market.

"I have just received the new cash in $2 coins. I'm however saddened that we came here with high hopes of securing all our money but they still restrict us to just $ 50. What tangible thing can I buy with $ 50?," said Allan Kodzaimaoko, who had just come out of one banking hall.

The Central Bank announced that it will still cap the weekly withdrawal limit at $ 300 in order to maintain money supply balance in the economy and only up until a time it feels the economy is in balance it will then raise the limit.

Authorities also say banks are expected to start feeding the cash into the automated teller machines (ATMs) soon to improve convenience for customers.

Zimbabwe has been reeling from serious cash shortages for over two years now but the Central Bank intends to increase cash threshold from current levels of four percent of broad money supply to just above 10 percent.

The shortage of cash has been creating serious problems in the economy, hence high cash premium were being set against all forms of electronic money transactions.

This has had adverse effects particularly on the exchange rates.

But analysts are skeptical of monetary authorities' remedial action citing deficiency of confidence in the banking sector as the biggest threat to the economy.

"Money moves from formal to informal sector; it gets trapped there," RBZ Governor, Dr Mangudya conceded.

Some have also raised concern of the small quantities of notes in a market in hyperinflationary mode.

"I must say I'm worried about the fact that the highest denomination is going to be $ 5. You cannot buy a loaf of bread with $ 5 yet it's the highest denomination. Actually it's going to be costly for them because the nominal value of the $ 5 is less than the cost to print it," said economic analyst Brain Muchemwa, in a local radio station interview yesterday.

Zimbabwe's economy is predominantly informal, making it difficult for money to circulate in the formal banking channels and this is a challenge authorities will have to urgently address to bring stability in the financial sector.


Source: 263Chat 

Published in Bank & Finance
  1. Opinions and Analysis


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