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SEC Launches Green Bond Rules



The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officially launched the Green Bonds issuance rules at a ceremony on Monday.

Speaking at the launch of the rules, Ms. Mary Uduk, Ag. Director-General, SEC stated that, “As Nigeria strives to harness the resources of non-oil sectors to anchor the transition to a more resilient economy, there is the urgent need to close the country’s infrastructure gap with investments in sustainable finance initiatives.

“The SEC’s release of the green bond rules is a significant step in furthering the complementary efforts of the government, regulators and the financial services industry to direct financial capital to more sustainable economic activity”.

Green bonds are special bonds issued to finance or re-finance in part or in full new and existing eligible environmental or climate projects.

According to Dr Evans Osano, Director of Financial Markets at the Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa), “We laud SEC Nigeria for the professional and quick turnaround in the preparation of the guidelines.

“The new guidelines are prepared in line with leading international guidelines and standards providing confidence to domestic and international investors.

“It also provides certainty to issuers of green bonds in Nigeria. FSD Africa is pleased to have supported this process which is a milestone for the Nigeria green bonds market”

Mr. Olumide Lala, Africa Markets Programme Manager, Climate Bonds Initiative, explained that “the launch of the rules brings much needed clarity and guidance on the issuance of green bonds.  Adopting the tenets of the Green Bond Principles and Climate Bonds Standard makes it easier to attract foreign investment where needed.”

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FBN Launches Chat Banking to Ease Transactions



First Bank of Nigeria has launched its Chat Banking on WhatsApp to harness optimal digital banking offerings that enhances ease of banking and convenience for its customers.


Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, managing director/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited & Subsidiaries, affirmed the bank’s commitment to utilise evolving technology in delivering easy banking services and products


Speaking during the launch in Lagos, Adeduntan said the FirstMobile app, Firstonline, FirstMonie and USSD banking are some of the channels in place to achieve the digital feat with the FirstBank Chat Banking on WhatsApp as latest addition.


“We are offering quality financial services and devising new ways of efficiently meeting customers’ monetary needs. FirstBank Chat Banking on WhatsApp is another significant milestone in our mission to provide convenient and fast payment solutions to our customers. It is one of the ways FirstBank puts You First and enables you stay connected with your contacts, loved ones, friends and finances all on the GO whilst you chat with them because at FirstBank we are driven to boost relationships on all fronts anywhere and anytime.


“It is a new channel for access to our services, that is, a convenient way to make payment and an easy-to-use banking application. Banking with FirstBank on WhatsApp is secure, accessible and convenient. You can now carry out basic banking transactions such as inter and intra bank funds transfer, pay bills, buy airtime, buy data and check your account balance on your WhatsApp,” he said.


He added that customer’s banking details are secured as a WhatsApp banking PIN and all transaction authentications will be done using a safe link.

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Court Grants CBN More Time to Resolve Settlement with MTN



A Lagos court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing over the $8.1 billion dispute between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and MTN Nigeria until the 22nd of January.


Sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Justice Saliu Saidu, after hearing submissions from learned counsel on both sides, granted the bank’s request that parties be allowed further time to pursue an out-of-court resolution.

“We are still making moves towards an out of court settlement,” a CBN lawyer told the court.
The Attorney General, listed as a co-defendant to the suit, agreed on the move to reach a resolution, a lawyer representing his office said in court, meaning that both co-defendants have now confirmed they are in settlement discussions.

The dispute is over the transfer of $8.1 billion of funds which Nigeria’s central bank said the company had sent abroad in breach of foreign-exchange regulations. MTN has consistently denied any wrongdoing.


In court filings, the company cited a 2016 Senate investigation where the CBN, in sworn testimony, said that the company complied with its foreign exchange regulations.


The bank’s Governor, Godwin Emefiele had told journalists in London in November and at October’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting that any resolution will not be anywhere close to the $8.1 billion it had initially asked from the company, fueling speculation as to what a possible settlement will look like and whether or not MTN actually committed an infraction.

Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market, serving  56 million people and accounting for a third of the MTN Group’s annual profit.




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Ecobank Appoints MFS Africa as Digital Payment Partner



Ecobank, the Pan-African bank has announced today the appointment of MFS Africa as Digital payment partner enabling cross-platform payment services for Ecobank account holders.

The partnership allows Ecobank customers to send and receive money to and from over 170 million mobile money users through an integration with MFS Africa that covers all Telcos in the MFS Africa Hub. The service is both domestic and crossborder intra-Africa transfers leveraging Rapidtransfer, a proprietary instant remittance product of Ecobank.

Ecobank operates in 33 African countries, serving over twenty million customers. In line with the bank’s digital strategy, the partnership with MFS Africa Hub creates the first major initiative of interoperability between bank account and mobile money customers.

This brings greater value for mobile money customers as they can now send money directly to any bank account in Ecobank without infrastructural hinderances; conversely Ecobank customers can do the same.

MFS Africa operates the largest mobile payments hub network in sub-Saharan Africa, connecting over 170 million mobile wallets, and a wide network of money transfer operators and merchants. Through partnerships with mobile network operators including MTN, Orange, Airtel, Moov, Econet, Tigo, Safaricom and Vodafone, MFS Africa allows mobile financial services to scale across borders, currencies and networks with a Pan African Bank like Ecobank.

“The partnership between Ecobank and MFS Africa represents a significant step in building pan-African linkages between mobile money services and traditional banking channels”, says Ade Ayeyemi, CEO of Ecobank Group.

“Typically, banks and other financial service providers seeking to integrate to mobile wallet systems are confined to domestic markets with almost no interoperability among networks in a single country, let alone across borders, severely inhibiting utility, efficiency, and customer experience. The collaboration between Ecobank Banking Group and MFS Africa eliminates this hurdle and accelerates the ecosystem, driving financial inclusion and offering a greater range of options to Africans”

While conventional wisdom pits banks and mobile money services against each other as incumbents threatened by disruptors, the reality is quite different. Interoperable crossplatform services expand the pie of financial possibilities, bringing more choice and value to consumers using bank accounts or mobile wallets, and leveraging the strengths of both types of players.

Speaking on the partnership, Dare Okoudjou, founder and CEO of MFS Africa says that the region’s financial inclusion landscape offers exciting opportunities for innovation and collaboration between Banks, other financial institutions, Mobile Money Operators and Fintech.

“We’re proud to offer seamless payments across networks and borders into the next frontier of financial inclusion – mobile wallets – to Ecobank customers. Historically, the relationship between banks and fintech has been competitive but Ecobank has demonstrated a win-win approach to partnership that takes care of every stakeholder in the value chain. Ecobank is the first financial institution that shares the MFS Africa vision to make financial services more seamless, convenient, and interoperable across Africa”.

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