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AfDB Seeks MSMEs Lending in Africa to be Increased to $135Bn

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has called on financial credit providers to increase lending to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa to 135 billion U.S. dollars.

A statement issued by Mr. Emeka Anuforo, the Communications Officer of the Bank, in Abuja on Wednesday said that increasing affordable loans would promote the growth of MSMEs on the continent.

The statement quoted Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the President of AfDB, as saying that although Africa had the highest percentage of adults starting or running new businesses in the world, the productivity nonetheless remained low.

Adesina solicited a holistic policy approach to strengthen entrepreneurship to facilitate Africa’s industrialisation and tackle the myriad financial constraints facing small-scale businesses.

“The entrepreneurial culture is vibrant, with about 80 per cent of Africans viewing entrepreneurship as a good career opportunity.

“New industrialisation strategies should focus on leveraging this dynamism and targeting the continent’s fast-growing private enterprises which have potential to create quality jobs.

“Given Africa’s potential for increased involvement in this sector, AfDB is also increasing its efforts to promote access to finance for entrepreneurs to create start-ups and expand existing businesses,” he said.

Adesina said that the bank in 2016 provided financial services to 156,000 owners and operators of MSMEs via financial intermediaries to address a key challenge facing efforts to start and grow businesses.

He said that AfDB had collaborated with USAID, the Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to build the capacity of SMEs in Zambia.

He said that the partnership was to enable the nation’s financial institutions to become efficient in lending to smaller businesses.

According to him, the bank is also launching some new programmes that are designed to help Africa to attain its industrialisation goals.

Adesina said that the bank was also collaborating with the European Investment Bank and the European Commission to help create and grow 1,500 innovative businesses, while creating 25 000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs.

He said that the collaboration would also improve environmental, social and management practices in youth-owned SMEs across Africa.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world.

So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Financial

Vodacom Director Urges Accountants to Leverage Sage/ACCA Partnership

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By peter oluka

Mr Oluseyi Olanrewaju, the finance director at Vodacom Business Africa (Nigeria) Limited, has re-emphasised the need for accounting professionals to embrace digital culture.

He made the remark while delivering keynote address at Sage-ACCA Continuing Professional Development (CPA), event held in Lagos Tuesday, which was the launch of partnership between the two entities to provide platform for accountants to embrace digital transformations.

Olanrewaju emphasized that rapid growth and development in information technology has brought about digital revolution in economic, social and cultural fields, and bequeaths today’s accountant with the responsibility to improve on the skills to remain relevant.

With the recognition of the accounting discipline as an information system, he said, the accountants can’t undermine the influence that the changes in processes of carrying out transactions with the usage of IT in business operations.

In a bid to keep up with changing conditions and the enabling inclusion of information era the need to embrace the digital culture in accountancy can’t be overlooked especially in medium to large scale business.

“Technology should not be viewed as a threat rather tools to boost accounting profession. Digitization is the future; as accountants we can’t run from it. Yes, manual processes are ridden with high risks on accounting and costly. Thus, changes is the environment necessitates changes in applicable accounting tools and skills required to carry out accounting roles”, Olanrewaju said.

Determinants of business that qualify as medium to large include: IT staff & skills including several specialists, multiple locations, large capex in relation to other businesses in operation in the same industry and business with main considerations for technology purchases being advanced features and security.

Using the acronym: VUCA- Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous situations, he reminded the participants that, roles of accountants have changed overtime, demanding for real-time ‘results’. “The environment demands you react quickly to ongoing changes that are unpredictable; it requires you to take action. Therefore, there is little you can achieve today in the ‘VUCA’ world without digitization”.

The keynote speaker also applauded Sage X3 offering, such as robust accounting processes; consistency; time saving; delivers visible metrics; helps to improve operational efficiency and assists users to be in line with government regulations and international accounting rules.

Participants at the interactive session with other C-level ACCA members also learnt how Sage X3 offers the bedrock of the adjustments required in today’s accounting field.

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E-Financial

CBN 14% Interest Rate: Investors Still Expecting Cut

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Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM.

By peter oluka

Nigeria’s central bank has yet again left benchmark interest rates unchanged at 14% in November amid a ‘fragile’ economic recovery.

But, Lukman Otunuta research analyst ForexTimes, in his comment, believes investors are still keen on interest rate cut.

The apex bank also left the cash reserve ratio (CRR) at 22.5 percent.

CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele made this known on Tuesday while announcing the decision of the committee in Abuja.

Emefiele said only one of the nine members of the committee voted against the decision.

“Inflation in particular requires very close monitoring to gain clarity on the medium-term optimum path of monetary policy,” Emefiele told a news conference.

The monetary Policy Committee had begun its last meeting for the year on Monday.

According to the committee, the interest rate was held to prevent exchange rate pressure.

Commenting on the decision by the apex bank, Otunuga said, “With GDP growth in the third quarter rising by 1.40%, it seems that the central bank is hesitant to take action anytime soon.

“I believe that Nigeria’s improving economic landscape, and signs of inflationary pressures easing, are likely to support investor expectations of a rate cut.

“With inflation in Nigeria at 15.91%, there is a suspicion that the CBN may be waiting for a more sustained decline before moving ahead with rate cuts to support economic growth.

“As the year slowly comes to an end, investors will continue to observe Nigeria’s hard economic data and inflation figures for hints as to when the CBN might act in 2018”.

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E-Financial

Bitcoin Smashes Through $8,000 for the First time

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Bitcoin hit a new record high on Monday after smashing through the $8,000 level for the first time over the weekend, marking an almost 50 percent climb in just eight days.

The new high came after leading U.S. payments company Square Inc said late last week that it had started allowing select customers to buy and sell bitcoins on its Cash app.

Bitcoin traded as high as $8,197.81 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, up over 2 percent on the day and around 48 percent up since dipping to $5,555 on Nov. 12.

An eye-watering eightfold increase in the value of the volatile cryptocurrency since the start of the year has led to muliple warnings that the market is in a bubble, and institutional investors are broadly staying away.

Retail investors, however, as well as some hedge funds and family offices, are piling into the market. The “market cap” of all cryptocurrencies hit an all-time high of over $242 billion on Monday, according to trade website Coinmarketcap.

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