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Oradian, Stellar Roll Out Digital Payment Network for Microfinance Banks

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Oradian, a banking-software company and Stellar a cryptocurrency-based payments system, have announced a partnership, to use Stellar’s platform for microfinance institutions (MFI).

The plan is aimed towards using digital-currency based payments networks to improve the ability of financiers to work with each other.

Antonio Separovic, chief executive officer of Oradian had told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that, the renowned IT solution designed specifically for financial inclusion by experienced practitioners, will boost the fortunes of microfinance institutions across Nigeria.

Speaking on Oradian’s mission in Nigeria, he said, “When deciding where to start, we looked at Nigeria because we know the market very well. Our partner Onyeka Adibeli, based in Benin City, has been in microfinance for over 10 years with extensive knowledge of the market as well as firsthand experience when he was head of MIS at LAPO, one of the largest MFIs in Africa”.

Meanwhile, Stellar was launched last year by Jed McCaleb.

“There’s no way for microfinance companies to communicate with each other,” Joyce Kim, executive director at the Stellar Development Foundation told MoneyBeat. The combined Oradian/Stellar product would allow microfinance companies to quickly send money to each other. “There’s something like 100,000 microfinance institutions, how do we connect them? How do they get the kinds of efficiencies that will change their lives?”

Since launching Stellar in July 2014, the team behind it, led by McCaleb, who previously founded both Mt. Gox and Ripple, has been busy managing its growth and looking for different uses of its protocol.

In looking at the world of the unbanked and the microfinance industry, they think they found a good use.

The partnership, Oradian CEO said, is going to move slowly, beginning with a pilot program in Nigeria, where moving money often physically carrying cash on a 12-hour bus ride.

“This made Nigeria a clear frontrunner. Then we began talking to our established relationships — relationships we’ve formed over the years as consultants and vendor. As a result, these MFIs are now our first customers. Having successfully completed these implementations, we are ready to promote Instafin more widely and work with new customers — particularly in Nigeria.

“Our vision is to roll-out our easy-to-use, competitively priced system, Instafin, offering real-time reporting instantly. Microfinance is our niche, we have been in the industry for many years and believe in what we do. Microfinance is very important in the promotion of financial inclusion throughout emerging economies such as Nigeria.

“Until recently, there were few if any examples of technology specifically designed for the microfinance sector — for the most part, everything has been designed for banks and then adapted. We started explicitly from the particular functional needs of microfinance, designing a core microfinance system for microfinance by microfinance practitioners”.

Other Oradian’s product line include, Integrated accounting to ensure finances and operations work seamlessly; Loans and savings portfolio management; Group, Individual, and Corporate lending products; Real-time reporting; Layers for efficient reporting and accounting management and User groups and user rights management.

Separovic also said that the Company has made significant improvement in the Nigerian market with more Microfinance banks signing up to the software.

Instafin Champions: power users of Oradian’s core-microfinance system Instafin in Bauchi.

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

EcoBank Research: Digital Innovation in SSA Driven by Explosion in Mobile Phone Usage

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By peter oluka

Digital innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa is being driven by the explosion in mobile phone usage, enabling African consumers to leapfrog existing business models and technologies

The 2017 version of Ecobank Research’s Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities (FICC) Guidebook, which provides expert knowledge and analysis on African markets for investors and businesses, was launched today at AfricaFICC.

Indicating a positive outlook for the continent, three key trends are forecast to take hold during the next 12 months.

The first indicates an economic rebound in sub-Saharan Africa driven by a recovery in the region’s economic heavyweights, Nigeria and South Africa, and ongoing growth in the top performers, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire and (more recently) Ghana.

Growth will be driven by a rise in oil production (notably in Ghana, Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Angola), strengthening infrastructure investment across West and East Africa, and improved weather conditions which bode well for crops.

Strengthening economic activity, plus a moderate improvement in oil and mineral prices, will help narrow the current account deficit, but pressure on SSA currencies will remain.

The second emerging trend points to West Africa’s gas sector becoming a hive of activity in 2018 from Senegal to Angola, with the development of gas pipelines, floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platforms and major gas field projects.

Governments in the Gulf of Guinea and across West Africa have ramped up efforts to secure gas supply in order to boost domestic power generation and diversify their revenues away from crude oil.

Deregulating the gas market and allowing market-driven gas prices will be key to unlocking further gas infrastructure investment across the region.

The third trend suggests Fintech innovation in Africa picking up speed in 2018 buoyed by a new generation of Africans who are ‘digital natives’. The proliferation of tech hubs across Africa (notably in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire) will nurture the next wave of African start-ups and help connect them with investors.

Digital innovation in SSA is being driven by the explosion in mobile phone usage, enabling African consumers to leapfrog existing business models and technologies.

African Fintech firms are increasingly driving this innovation, deploying digital tools to build credit profiles for the previously ‘unbankable’, providing electricity to rural households that were previously off the grid, even using artificial intelligence to diagnose health problems remotely.

Edward George, Head of Ecobank Group Research, said: “The digital world moves apace, and so must we. The AfricaFICC website is a key way that we can deliver our regional market analysis and expert local knowledge of 41 African markets – which is often hard to access – to a much wider audience. We think these three trends are strong evidence that Africa has weathered the storms of late and is very much on track for improved growth in 2018.”

The Ecobank Research Centre is dedicated to providing the highest quality research for clients to help them navigate the complex African marketplace

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Court Modifies Orders Freezing Accounts without BVN

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A Federal High Court in Abuja Wednesday modified the order it made on October 17 this year for interim freezing of bank accounts who owners have not registered for the Bank Verification Number (BVN)

 

The court, which had stayed further operation of such accounts pending the determination of a case pending before it, has now said the accounts could be operated once the owner registers for BVN.

 

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba announced the modification Wednesday after parties in the case agreed that as presently couched, the order creates an awkward and unfortunate result such that even when account owners have got their BVN, they still will not be able to operate the accounts because doing so will be in violation of the order of court.

 

Parties in the case also agreed that the said Relief No 4 should be revised to eliminate this problem, in the interim.

 

In a ruling, Justice Dimgba said: “Having listened to all counsel on record, and with the consent of all parties represented, I hereby revise Relief No 4 of the court’s order of 17/10/17 such that the new Relief No 4 shall be:

 

“AN INTERIM ORDER of the Honourable Court stopping all outward payments, operations or outward transactions (including any bill of exchange) in respect of the accounts pending the linking of the accounts to a Bank Verification Number”.

 

In view of the above agreed compromise revision of Relief No 4, I also hereby revoke and set aside Relief No 5 of the Court’s Order of 17/10/17, which provides for:

 

“AN INTERIM ORDER of forfeiture of the monies in the said accounts without BVN to the Claimants/Applicants being accounts with insufficient Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines contrary to Section 3 of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and CBN guidelines the determination of the Originating Motion on Notice,” the judge said.

 

As as yesterday, none of the 19 commercial banks listed as defendants in the suit complied with the court’s order that they provide information about accounts without BVN in their custody.

 

They only filed a motion challenging the court’s jurisdiction.

 

Earlier in the proceedings, lawyer to 18 of the 20 banks listed as defendants in the suit, A. A. Adegbonmire (SAN) said his clients have filed an application, challenging the court’s jurisdiction to have made the order of October 17.

 

He said the plaintiffs served him with their response yesterday, which he needed time to react to.

 

Adegbonmire urged the court for an adjournment, which was not objected to by Joseph Tobi (for the plaintiffs).

 

The judge consequently adjourned further proceedings to December 11.

 

The Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation had filed the suit, querying among others, the continuous retention of accounts without BVN by banks.

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Path Solutions Emerged ‘Best Islamic Technology Provider’ @ IFN Awards 2017

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Path Solutions, a leader in banking software systems with a strong focus on the Islamic banking sector, has won the ‘Best Islamic Technology Provider’ award at the 2017 Islamic Finance news Awards. The company is winning the award for the tenth successive year and eleventh time in total.

Instituted by REDmoney – a leading global provider of specialized Islamic financial media services across three core divisions of publishing, events and training, IFN Awards is one of the most prestigious awards and highly recognized by the global Islamic finance community.

The IFN Polls was established in 2005, and continue to be an apt representation of the current Islamic financial landscape.

Speaking on the award, Mohammed Kateeb, Group Chairman & CEO, Path Solutions, said: “It’s an absolute privilege to be voted as ‘Best Islamic Technology Provider’ one more time at the IFN Service Providers Poll 2017. We especially thank our clients and partners for their continued trust and support.

They’ve made an informed choice in adopting our state-of-the-art Islamic core banking system that will enable them to add further value to complying with industry regulations, improving their management processes and service delivery.

We are again at a pivot point where new technologies are creating new paradigms that will change the shape and face of our industry along with opening up new vistas for the global financial world”.

Kateeb then added, “Path Solutions provides the power of digital transformation, enabling the unbanked to access financial services, improve their lives and secure a better future for them. Our strategy toward 2018 is driven by the ambition to become our clients’ trusted partner in digital life, creating long-term value for them.

We will allow them to be ahead of the curve by implementing a digital-first strategy, leveraging new technologies such as big data, advanced analytics, a 360-degree view of the customer and a personalized engagement, thus providing instant fulfillment to their customers.

In today’s increasingly digital world, failing to invest in and prioritize technology will come at a cost. We believe it’s time to move into the future”.

The prestigious IFN Awards are based solely on merit, and highlight key players, individuals and innovative firms who have provided the Islamic financial world with ground-breaking initiatives.

The award underscores Path Solutions’ momentum to maintaining a leadership position for more than two decades in the evolving Islamic financial marketplace, and the company’s critical role in pioneering industry-specific software solutions and services that are required for its sustainable growth.

“Announcing the IFN Service Providers Poll nominees is always exciting. The special awards honor and celebrate the outstanding annual contributions of those who are the backbone of the Islamic finance community”, commented Lauren McAughtry, Group Managing Editor, REDmoney Group.

“Path Solutions’ leadership and business model promote continuous innovation and impactful growth. Their hard work and commitment is vital to ensuring a technologically-standardized Islamic finance industry”, she said.

In a turbulent year that had its ups and downs — from the geopolitical tensions in the GCC and the ongoing effects of the US elections to giant debut sovereign issuances and oil prices bouncing back — the Islamic finance industry has sailed through successfully.

The IFN Awards recognize and reward the wide range of essential building blocks behind the scenes working to support the Islamic finance industry as it grows ever upwards. This year’s survey has seen a substantial swing with the received votes representing a rock solid review of the real state of the industry and the views of its participants.

The recipients of the IFN Service Providers Poll 2017 will be presented with their awards at a dinner ceremony held alongside the inaugural IFN Global Leaders Forum on 11th March 2018 in Dubai, and the Asian dinner ceremony on 19th March 2018 in Kuala Lumpur.

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