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Social Lender Pledges Trust, Credit in Driving Financial Inclusion for Unbanked Population

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Faith Adesemowo, co-founder and CEO, Social Lender, has said that the company,  a lending solution platform, is committed to building a community of trust and credit to drive financial inclusion for the un-banked and under-banked.

Adesemowo maintained that Social Lender helps financial institutions to extend formal credit not to only salary earners but also to young professionals, small business owners, market women, entrepreneurs and students to leverage on their social reputation.

She, however, emphasized that the principles of lending is still the same across all platforms, adding that digital lending platforms are only “here to enable traditional lending to run more smoothly, efficiently and bring them to the space they don’t typically operate in”.

According to her, Social Lender does not focus on only on users with internet and smart phones, but also on the community of the individuals.

“Social Lender is not a lender but a platform that enables lenders target demography or segment of the market. We run a co-label and white-label partnerships with lenders and financial institutions,” she said.

She further explained the social reputation algorithm behind Social Lender, saying it is enough to guarantee willingness and ability to pay back loans.

Adesemowo said that the “social reputation score” has proven over the years to be a strong tool to ascertain willingness to repay loans.

“It takes into account the users’ community, engagement, network and several other indicators both online and offline. This is dependent on the data the user gives us permission to.

“The solution collects this data and processes it to give the user a social reputation score. It’s an artificial intelligence-based solution that gives users’ ability and willingness to repay small loans under a particular ticket size.”

She added that the ability to repay larger loans is a slightly different parametre, which technology can only do by reviewing transaction history of the user. The social reputation score focuses on “trust” or you could say “willingness to repay”.

“We have an end-to-end lending platform that can review users’ transaction history with some of our partner banks and partner financial institutions. This feeds into the partner specific business rules for lending specific amounts.  I should emphasize however that social reputation score is the main asset of Social Lender,” she emphasized.

She noted that open APIs and blockchain technology would afford lenders the opportunity to enjoy more services when using any lending platform.

“With Open APIs, more financial institutions will have access to data that was previously sited in silos that will help expand the space. This is happening gradually. We hope for a similar regulation to enforce financial institutions to share more data over time”, she concluded.

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EFCC Asks Banks to Report Suspicious Transactions to it

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Mr Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has asked financial institutions in the country to report any suspicious transactions to the agency.

 

Mr Magu made this appeal on Friday, at a meeting with Compliance Officers of banks in Benin City, Edo State.

 

The EFCC boss, who was represented by Mailafia Yakubu, Benin Zonal Head of the commission, said based on information at the disposal of the anti-money laundering organisation, politicians may want to use banks for illicit transactions before, during and after the elections.

 

“Once the transaction is above the stipulated threshold, you have a duty to report to us. We want to warn you not to be used by politicians. So be circumspect,” he said.

 

The acting chairman also warned the bank officials to desist from disclosing information to suspects wanted by the EFCC who operates accounts with them.

 

“There were times that the commission requested banks to place no debit on some accounts; instead of doing that, you call the suspects and say come and withdraw your money because the EFCC want to PND your account.

 

“We want to tell you that we are watching you. You have to stop it or face prosecution,” Mr Magu said at the meeting.

 

It will be recalled that the commission had on Thursday, February 14, 2019 similarly warned operators of Bureau De Change in the city of antics of politicians who may want to engage in vote buying through illicit transactions.

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Opeke Charges Nigerians to Adopt New Technologies to Grow the Economy

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Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), MainOne, has underlined the need for businesses in Nigeria to adopt new technologies to avoid falling behind the rest of the world in technological advancement.

Opeke made this known at MainOne’s annual tech conference, Nerds Unite, which held recently in Lagos with the theme ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation.’

Nerds Unite 2019, hosted mid-level & top level IT executives, start-up innovators and IT enthusiasts who discussed emerging trends in the IT industry and how they affect Nigeria and Africa.

The event featured IT specialist including Toby Shapshak, ICT journalist and thought leader, Libby Barr; Chief Operating Officer, Avanti Communications, Obinna Ekezie; CEO, Wakanow, Ife Oyedele; CEO, Kobo 360, Deji Balogun; and CTO, Terragon Group among others.

At the event, IT experts discussed the importance of applying technology to every facet of life in line with digital transformation agenda of the Federal Government.

The keynote speaker at the event, Toby Shapshak, highlighted reasons why a connected Africa is way to move the continent forward. He pointed out the peculiar situation of Africa and why it is important for Africa to utilize her strength, innovate and catch up with the rest of the world.

The first session, which was titled “Connecting the Next Billion to the Internet and Beyond to Transform the Face of Africa,” was moderated by Shapshak. The speakers for this session included Libby Barr, COO of Avanti Comm, and Funke Opeke who tackled connectivity in Africa and the use of connectivity and technology to drive development in Nigeria.

According to Opeke, “A connected Nigeria is a more economically prosperous Nigeria. It is a better educated Nigeria, it is a Nigeria where access to social services and health services are able to reach more of our population which in itself adds to more prosperity for Nigeria.” She added that the opportunity to use technology to drive economic development is the vision of what ‘we have for a connected Nigeria’.

During a panel discussion on ‘how AI can revolutionize your business model and create new revenue streams,’ Bayo Adekanbi, Chief Transformation Officer at MTN Nigeria, said that there is more to gain from artificial intelligence than there is to lose, and that man would have to adapt to leverage these gains.

This session was chaired by Dr. Olayinka David-West of the Lagos Business School, with Bayo Adekanmbi, Chief Transformation Officer at MTN; Deji Balogun, CTO Terragon Group; and Ernest Terry, from Flutterwave as panelists.

A third session focused on cloud technology and cybersecurity. It was chaired by Ms Funke Opeke and the panelists included Niyi Ajao from NIBSS and Adedayo Adesanya, Lead Consultant at Virtual Nigeria.

The panelists lamented the challenges involved in cloud technology and cybersecurity especially IT illiteracy, with humorous attention drawn to the question, “When it rains, what happens to my data in the cloud?”

But they agreed that cloud adoption is on the increase and emphasized the role of partnerships among global players and local cloud providers with issues such as latency and lack of government support affecting -growth.

In the final panel at the event, speakers gave insights and advice to questions asked by start-up founders and tech enthusiast, reminding them to “be comfortable making mistakes” and not to be discouraged by rejection.

To a question put to the panel members by Aaron Fu of MEST Africa on whether to focus on making money or building userbase, Maya Horgan Famodu, MD, Ingressive says, “numbers are important…but you have to pay your bills.”

The event also featured exciting attractions like a raffle draw where lucky winners went home with gifts like Playstation 4, LG 43-inch TV, Apple smartwatch, among others and included an after-event party.

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Lagos to Launch e-Procurement Platform to Eliminate Corruption

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has revealed that his administration would launch e-procurement platform aimed at eliminating corruption from the system in the next three weeks.

The governor spoke at the second edition of the Lagos State Annual Public Procurement Summit held at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

The theme of the one day summit was: ‘Entrenching Transparency and Prudence in the Management of Government’s Procurement Process: The Responsibility of Stakeholders’.

According to Ambode, the platform would start with three key ministries- Ministries of Works, Health and Education.

“By the end of 2019, 80 per cent of other Ministries, Departments and Agencies would have been brought on board. It is projected that by the end of year 2020, e-Procurement will be fully implemented at all levels of public governance including local governments,” he stated.

The governor, who was represented by the Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola explained that the theme of the summit was apt and spoke loudly on the need for integrity, “which is the combination of honesty, accountability, transparency, fairness, self-discipline and probity, to take its course on the public procurement process”.

The governor said the summit was a platform for all stakeholders in public procurement to deliberate on emerging issues and challenges and come up with new ideas that will align the state public procurement law and implementation process with global best practices.

He said apart from being the process by which the government contracts infrastructure, supplies and professional services, transparency, procurement was central to expenditure management of any government, dding that there was an urgent need to ensure the procurement process was transparent, efficient and effective in order to curb wastage and misappropriation of public funds and resources.

Ambode said before the advent of the public procurement law, corruption thrived in the procurement of goods, works and services.

“However, the public procurement law has entrenched clear and unambiguous governing rules on public procurement. A full and committed implementation of the governing rules on public procurement reduces public procurement malpractices, uncompleted contracts or unexecuted sub-contracts”, Ambode said.

He assured that as a government, it was working tirelessly to ensure that the procurement process was transparent and enabled accountability which is part of the reason why the e-Procurement platform was being activated.

He said the responsibility of entrenching transparency and prudence in the public procurement sector did not rest solely on the government.

“It is a collective responsibility and required the joint effort of all stakeholders including contractors/suppliers and non-governmental organisations…we are all to collectively uphold the core values of public procurement; probity, accountability, transparency, value for money and prudency”, the governor said.

Speaking, General Manager, Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, LSPPA, Fatai Onofowote said public procurement had come to stay in Lagos State as it had to do with leading practice in the world, opportunity to promote team work as well as opportunity to attract international support and foreign direct investment.

“Public Procurement is about total life cycle of the goods, works and services to be procured using public fund. It is about planning, contract formation, contract management and finally disposal of public asset,” he said.

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