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Blockchain Spending in Middle East & Africa to Double in 2018 – IDC

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Spending on blockchain solutions in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is set to more than double this year, according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation.

The global technology research and consulting firm’s recently launched Worldwide Semiannual Blockchain Spending Guide shows spending in the region totaling $80.8 million for 2018, up 107% on the $38.9 million spent in 2017.

To view the accompanying blockchain spending snapshot, please visit: https://images.idc-cema.com/images/MEA_Blockchain_Snapshot.jpg.

“There is clearly an immense amount of interest around distributed ledger technologies (DLT) in the region.

This is being driven by the pressing need for organizations to improve their efficiency, agility, security, and integrity”, says Megha Kumar, IDC’s research director for software in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

In 2018, we expect more organizations across MEA to move beyond the evaluation and proof-of-concept phase to pilots and even deployments.”

Looking further ahead, IDC expects blockchain spending in MEA to reach $307 million in 2021, which represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 77.4% for the 2016-2021 period.

While various industries are evaluating the use of blockchain, IDC research suggests the region’s public sector (including government, education, and healthcare) will spend an estimated $120.8 million in this space in 2021, accounting for 39.2% share. It will be followed by the financial services sector at 35.5% and the distribution and services sector at 14.1%.

“In the Middle East, Dubai’s government has identified blockchain as a major technology for helping it become a leader in the Smart Cities arena,” says Kumar.

“Alongside the establishment of the Global Blockchain Council, Dubai’s ‘Blockchain Strategy’ aims to promote efficiency around government services and fuel economic development.

At the same time, financial services firms across the region are evaluating the use of blockchain for cross-border payments, trade settlements, and anti-money laundering purposes.

In Africa, meanwhile, DeBeers intends to launch an industry-wide blockchain platform for tracing and authenticating diamonds, which highlights the integrity benefits of the technology.”

The most popular blockchain use cases in 2021 will be cross-border payment and settlements, assets/goods management and identity management, with IDC expecting these three alone to account for 33.1% of MEA blockchain spend in 2021.

“At this stage it’s still early days for blockchain, with technology vendors, start-ups, fin-techs, and end users continuing to discover new types of use cases.

Some of these may never go mainstream, stalling at the proof-of-concept stage as they fail to bring in the scale of efficiency that was meant to be achieved,” says Jebin George, IDC’s program manager for verticals in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

From a technology perspective, IDC’s forecast shows services (IT services and business services) accounting for 52.7% of MEA blockchain spending in 2021.

Blockchain software platforms will be the biggest and fastest-growing category in the software space over the coming years, while cloud will be the fastest-growing component in terms of hardware.

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E-Financial

Regulators Mull Clampdown on Accounts, GSM Phones Used for Fraud

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may soon introduce a scheme that will enable banks and telecommunications companies to ban owners of any bank account or the Global System for Mobile Communications line traced to fraud.

 

The CBN, NCC is reportedly working with the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) following the spate of electronic fraud involving (USSD banking) telephone lines and Internet banking transfers.

 

When introduced, owners of any bank account or GSM line traced to any fraud case, especially electronic fraud, would be banned for life from operating any bank account or GSM in Nigeria.

The pervasive electronic banking fraud in the banking sector has left customers, banks and regulators waxing worriedly.

 

Some experts claimed that the most significant risks to banks are self-serving or criminal acts carried out by some insiders.

 

According to them, when these insiders use their technical knowledge to alter or disable security controls, it can be even more difficult to detect abuse.

 

But it becomes more dangerous when insiders conspire with criminals outside, showing that depositors money in the banks are not safe.

 

For instance, fraudsters now inundate banks’ customers with SMSes to authenticate accounts with banks.

 

The preciseness of the messages with accompanying data show they could only have gotten the details from insiders in the banks.

Elsewhere, cyber security experts have also  berated telecommunications operators over the prevalence of SIM swap fraud in the country, arguing that such fraud could be possible with an insider in the network operator of the subscriber that is targeted.

 

SIM swapping is a sophisticated form of fraud and falls under social engineering. Fraudsters will distribute phishing emails, trying to ascertain as much personal information from victims as possible.

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E-Financial

FCMB Promotes Entrepreneurship Among Youths

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First City Monument Bank, FCMB, has sponsored capacity building programme for almost 1,000 members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.

Tagged: ’Youth Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Programme’, it was in partnership with Activate Success Foundation.

Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Olu Akanmu, Executive Director, Retail Banking at FCMB,  said: “FCMB Flexx account empowers Nigerian youths with the entrepreneurial and employability skills they need. Many youths set up their own businesses from their campuses.

FCMB will be there with them to provide the necessary entrepreneurial and business skills they need to make great successes out of their businesses.

FCMB will also provide great support for the youth businesses and work with them to nurture and grow the youth entrepreneurial ventures.”

Also speaking, Founder Activate Success, Love Idoko said: ‘’I have a penchant for motivating people. There are business-minded youths out there that are just looking for mentorship or business ideas and funds to start their businesses.”

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Global Heists on ATM Machines Imminent- FBI

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America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned banks in Nigeria and others across the globe that criminals are gearing up to execute a global bank heist in the coming days.

 

In a recent confidential alert FBI told international banks that criminals are plotting a concerted global malware attack on cash machines in the next few days.

 

The FBI issued a warning about a highly choreographed fraud scheme known as an ATM “jackpotting”, or ATM cash-out,” in which crooks hack a bank or payment card processor and use cloned cards at cash machines around the world to take out millions in just a few minutes.

 

The alert said the agency had procured information indicating an attack was imminent and that it was likely an “unlimited operation,” which uses malware to exploit network access and get customers’ card information at a large scale.

Once the criminals get the card data, they create fraudulent copies using reusable magnetic strip cards (like gift cards) and hit the ATMs.

 

“Historic compromises have included small-to-medium size financial institutions, likely due to less robust implementation of cyber security controls, budgets, or third-party vendor vulnerabilities,” reads the confidential alert, which was sent to banks last Friday.

 

“The FBI expects the ubiquity of this activity to continue or possibly increase in the near future.”

 

The alert urges banks to review their security systems and use two-factor authentication with a physical or digital token.

 

Other tips include monitoring and limiting administrator and business accounts with the authority to modify typical fraud controls like maximum withdrawal amounts and number of daily ATM transactions.

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