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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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FG Sacked IST Members over Fraud- Ahmed

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Mrs Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, has said the Federal Government sacked some past members of the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST) as they indulged in corruption.

FG Sacked IST Members over Fraud- Ahmed

Inaugurating the new members, the minister charged the new members to eschew corruption and be forthright.

Bar. Azi Amos Isaac was appointed as Chairman for a five year term and Bar. Nosa Smart Osemwengie, was re-appointed as member for a second term of four years.

“The problem with the tribunal has been infighting amongst members, lack of industrial harmony and series of complaints bordering on maladministration.

“This has been the bane of the tribunal and a source of embarrassment not only for the Ministry of Finance but for the government in general,” Ahmed said.

The new chairman, Azi, assured the finance minister that, “the teething issue of restiveness has been addressed since he assumed duty,” adding that, “The place is calm and the staff have become very supportive.”

Azi said since 2003, the tribunal has “given judgment in the value of assets worth over N844 billion and that from 2017 to date, they have given decisions in monetary value totalling over N28bn.

“It has not failed in its adjudicatory responsibility.

“It has carried out its assignment with candour and integrity and intends to improve on what has been on ground.”

 


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CBN Bans Customer-to-Customer Forex Transfer

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has banned transfer of foreign exchange (forex) from one customer to another.

CBN Bans Customer-to-Customer Forex Transfer

According to the apex bank, forex cash lodgements into domiciliary accounts can only be done by the account owners henceforth.

An internal memo available in the media space explains that the new guidelines are necessary to review the utilisation of inflows into customers domiciliary accounts.

The circular states: “Forex inflows cannot be credited to customers until the legitimacy of funds is established.

“They can have unfettered access by telegraphic transfers up to a limit of $40,000 monthly for payment of medical bills, school fees, subscription to professional bodies subject to existing CBN guidelines.

“Transfers from one customer to another is prohibited. Transfer within related companies is allowed subject to a limit of $50,000 per month.”

It recommended that proceeds from non-oil exports should be sold to banks, used for repayment of dollar term loans, and self-utilisation for trade transactions for LC, bills and Form A.

Also oil export proceeds from E&P companies are to be used to pay contractors and service providers employed by the oil companies in addition to the recommended uses for non-oil FX proceeds.

Offshore forex inflows from other Nigerian banks and internal account to forex transfers sourced from offshore inflows are to be used for trade transactions subject to eligibility for E-Form M.

“Upon confirmation of the legitimacy of the inflows, customers can have unfettered access, subject to a maximum of $50,000,” the document read.

“Utilisation for trade transactions subject to processing of eligible trade transactions using E-Form M. Payment for services must be backed with demand note from offshore beneficiary and other regulatory documents.

“Related party transfers are allowed to the maximum of the inflow received. The transfer request should be backed by a signed instruction from the account holder.” Payment of government fees and levies are also allowed to the maritime, oil and gas, aviation. government parastatals and export processing zones.

 


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Stanbic IBTC, Standard Bank, Listed Among Top African Corporate Brands

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Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC and its parent company, Standard Bank, have emerged amongst the top winners of the 2020 Tech Times’ Africa LinkedIn Corporate Brand Awards.

The Stanbic IBTC Group emerged the second position in the category, with total votes of 3,515, out of 24 firms nominated for the award. Standard Bank placed the fourth 2,494 votes.

Nominations for this award opened to the public on July 1, 2020 and closed on July 14.

Shortlisted nominees were announced on August 24 while voting commenced immediately and voting ended on September 8, 2020.

The Corporate Brand Awards was instituted by Tech Times’ Africa, an online platform for leading technology, innovation, and startup stories.

Expressing his delight on the awards, Dr Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, said that both Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC and Standard Bank had been deliberate and consistent in making a remarkable impact in Africa’s financial sector.

“Our sincere appreciation goes to the organisers of the Africa Corporate Brands Awards and to every member of the public who voted. This is a reflection of the high level of trust and confidence that the public has reposed on us,” he added.

Dr Sogunle further said that Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC would remain relentless in portraying the organisation as one of the most influential corporate brands in Africa.

He stated: “Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC and Standard Bank have relentlessly contributed to driving the growth and development of the African financial ecosystem. These awards affirm our efforts, and we are encouraged to raise the bar continually.”

The Africa Corporate Brand Award is designed to identify and recognise outstanding companies. It also projects their achievements and impacts on African society and the world at large.


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