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NSE Launches X-Bot to Enhance Market Participation

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The Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, has launched the X-Bot, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered Chatbot that responds directly and automatically to enquiries through Facebook Messenger.

The X-Bot which is the first African securities exchange Chatbot is designed to provide market participants, especially retail investors, convenient, faster and real-time access to data and information from the Exchange.

Commenting on X-Bot, the CEO of the Exchange, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema, OON, noted that the introduction of X-Bot is in line with the NSE’s drive to improve market participation through greater access to market information.

“We aim for an Exchange that is easily accessible and actively matches investors’ increased thirst for information and detailed disclosure information to make sound investment decisions. With X-Bot, investors in our market can access on-demand market information, news and events on the activities of the Exchange and the various products and instruments that are listed and traded on it”.

“The Exchange has always been at the forefront of innovation, and the launch of the X-Bot marks yet another significant milestone in our continuous adoption of new technologies with a customer-centric focus to make financial services more inclusive and to provide a superior customer experience in the access and use of capital”, said Onyema.

On his part, the Head, Regulatory Technology (RegTech), NSE, Mr. John Adelana stated that “Customer experience is a key priority for NSE and we are deeply committed to constantly improving it. With the launch of X-Bot, NSE becomes the first African securities exchange to launch a customer interactive machine learning chatbot, which contributes to facilitating and accelerating the process of providing information to market participants.

“We are particularly excited about the ability of X-Bot to learn through customers interactions and become better at providing our customers with more relevant and timelier solutions overtime”.

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E-Financial

Global Accelerex, Indigenous ‘android PoS’ Firm Eyes Africa-Wide Expansion

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The financial technology firm behind Nigeria’s first android POS terminal, Global Accelerex, is looking to expand across sub-Saharan Africa after its record operation in Nigeria.

 

Global Accelerex was awarded “Cashless Driver: PoS Transactions” by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) after it achieved highest volume of POS transactions on behalf of client banks last year.

 

The company announced at a press conference that it had positioned itself for “rapid expansion” into the African financial technology market, following its strides and achievements in Nigeria.

 

Tunde Ogungbade, company’s managing director, said, “In our quest to constantly deliver excellent customer satisfaction, we opened the first Customer Contact Centre in the industry.

 

“The Centre which is open 24/7 enables seamless reception of inbound, outbound calls, and live call monitoring to guarantee quality assurance even on public holidays.”

 

Six regional offices in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Ibadan and Kano between them provide countrywide support, according to a statement.

 

The android PoS device launched last year is thought to perform four times faster than other payment terminal—and stays powered for at least five days on single charge.

 

Apps on the device assist merchants to create sales records and invoices, and manage inventory—automatically monitoring stock, level of orders and replenishing stock.

 

In its quest to dominate the African market, Global Accelerex will undergo rebranding to take on a “new look that reflects its status as a world-class fintech player on the African continent,” said Ogungbade.

 

“The culture at Global Accelerex,” he added, “is to adapt global best practices to the peculiar African market. Our solutions are tailored to meet the needs of small businesses, large corporations and government agencies, helping them in their payment and business processes to propel growth.

 

“We not only provide and operate customised platforms that meet clients’ specific payment needs, we also provide value-added services that help businesses to effectively manage their business processes.

 

“We have set new standards in cashless payment systems with exceptional service delivery, superior applications and ground-breaking initiatives which has placed us far ahead of our competitors,” he concluded.

 

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Ecobank Transnational Debut $450M Eurobond Oversubscribed

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Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, ETI , the parent company of the Ecobank Group, is pleased to announce that it has successfully raised $450 million in its debut Eurobond which was oversubscribed.

The Global Offering is a 5-year unsecured note (144A/RegS) listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. The bond matures in April 2024 and was issued with a coupon pricing of 9.5% with interest payable semi-annually in arrears.

The proceeds will be used for ETI’s general corporate purposes and to refinance existing Holdco obligations.

Investor interest was global, including United Kingdom, United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

On this debut Eurobond issuance, Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, Group Chief Executive Officer of ETI, stated: “This is another first for Ecobank and I’m very excited at the prospects for the Group as we continue the second phase of our 5-year ‘Roadmap to leadership’ strategy. Our efforts toward greater operational and capital efficiency are paying off, and this offer is another example of the measures we are taking to strengthen our institution and deliver value for all of our stakeholders”.

The Group Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Greg Davis, also commenting on this Eurobond said: “The success of this Eurobond reflects appetite from high quality and real money institutional investors globally and the trust that continues to be conferred on our institution and the markets we have chosen to participate in.”

 

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UAE to Kill 8 Nigerians for ATM Robberies

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Eight Nigerians, all men, have been sentenced to death in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a string of robberies at money exchanges and cash machines (ATMs) across the emirate in December 2016.

 

The ninth Nigerian, found guilty for possession of stolen money was sentenced to six months imprisonment.

 

He will be deported after serving his prison term.

 

The Gulf News reported that the Nigerian denied the charge against him and said that one of the accused’s brothers asked him to transfer Dh60,000 to an account in Nigeria.

 

All the convicted Nigerians were not identified by both the Gulf News and Khaleej Times, all local newspapers, which reported the trial.

 

A total of 20 suspects were initially held for attacking security guards in four violent attacks at ATMs and money exchanges across Sharjah in late 2016. Out of 20 suspects, nine were convicted.

 

Some of the accused confessed to their crimes while others denied the charges levelled against them.

 

The verdict was handed down by Judge Majid Al Muhairi of Sharjah Criminal Court on Wednesday.

 

The eight-member gang attacked security trucks and entered establishments by force and threatened and assaulted staff and members of the public with bladed weapons in a spate of robberies, three of which were carried out on the same day on December 18, 2016.

 

The gang — who were all in the UAE on visit visas — were said to be highly organised and plotted a string of orchestrated attacks to ambush security trucks that were transporting money boxes to and from ATMs, and at least one money exchange in Sharjah.

 

The first robbery took place at a Dubai Commercial Bank ATM on King Abdul Aziz Street where Dh340,000 was stolen. Then two days later they attacked an ATM in Al Safeer Mall in Al Nahda fleeing with Dh700,000, and an ATM in Muweilah where they stole Dh710,000. A fourth attack at a money exchange office near National Paints was foiled by police.

 

The gang of 20 were arrested in record time but police confirmed that only a portion of the stolen money — almost Dh1.8 million — had been recovered, as the gang members had divided the money among themselves and transferred it to their home country.

 

Suspects were taken into custody in cooperation with police in Dubai, Ajman and Fujairah.

 

The gang committed the heists at the busiest times of day when streets were crowded, which added to the confusion and enabled them to escape, said police.

 

In each robbery the assailants struck quickly before police could arrive, the attackers however could not evade security cameras and police were able to recognise the suspects through surveillance footage captured at the exchange house in the mall.

 

Video footage showed the suspects attacking security guards, making off with cash, and in one of the robberies slashing the hands of a security guard with a knife before running away with money boxes.

 

Police believe the suspects had monitored and tracked the security trucks used to transport money for a period of time before launching the attacks.

 

A prosecutor told Gulf News on Thursday that as per the law, a group of people who threaten the life of others while committing robbery are subject to the death sentence, however an appeal is expected to be launched and the sentences could get downgraded to life imprisonment.

 

The trial appeared unconnected with the arrest of five Nigerians in March this year, who robbed a Bureau de Change operator of Dh2.3 million (N225.4 million) in Sharjai, Dubai.

 

The suspects were identified as Chimuanya Emmanuel Ozoh, Benjamin Nwachukwu Ajah, Kingsley Ikenna Ngoka, Tochukwu Leonard Alisi and Chile Micah Ndunagu.

 

The five Nigerians reportedly barged into the BDC on March 20 and smashed the glass barrier between the customers and the staff, stole the money in multiple currencies and fled.

 

Two employees at the exchange were injured as they resisted the robbers. One of them managed to notify the police. The Sharjah Police coordinated with forces from Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman to nab the suspects from four emirates within 48 hours after the robbery was committed.

 

A top police official said the suspects came to the UAE on visit visas on March 18.

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