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Creating International Growth Opportunities for Tomorrow’s Unicorns

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By Stephen A. Newton, Managing Director at Aleph, Africa

It’s become increasingly impossible to deny that we live in an increasingly global world. Today, nearly 65% of world -wide consumers are connected to the internet. Africa having around 570 million internet users, combined with various technological advancements, is driving a wave of change in how entrepreneurs and businesses operate.

Stephen Newton, Managing Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Ad Dynamo by Aleph

Stephen Newton, Managing Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Ad Dynamo by Aleph

Decades of innovation – culminating in the launch and widespread adoption of social media; the availability of high-speed internet globally; and the rapid integration of generative artificial intelligence; have created new channels for local entrepreneurs and advertisers to grow their businesses. Entrepreneurs, who were once confined to trading within their local community, or best, their single market, can now leverage technology to access opportunities available through global, cross-border trade.

The nature of cross-border trade is already having a seismic effect on emerging economies. According to the World Bank, the digital economy contributes more than 15% of the annual gross domestic product (GDP) globally, and in the past decade has been growing at two and a half times faster than physical world GDP. In several African countries, the digital economy is becoming a main driver of growth, accounting for more than 5% of GDP. Helping to ease the pains associated with cross-border payments, Aleph has built and is now offering its own service, Aleph Payments. Aleph Payments, has managed over $2bn worth of total cross border credit and payments across multiple international markets. Building on Aleph’s near 20 years of experience as a trusted operator, Aleph Payments provides an end-to-end, cross-border credit underwriting and payments solution that supports global expansion.

For ambitious entrepreneurs looking at the wealth of opportunities available on the distant horizon through digital, it’s seemingly never been easier to do business. Businesses can engage customers through tailored advertising on social media platforms and through internet searches, 24 hours a day and seven days a week while using data and analytics to better understand their customers. However, the open and ‘always on’ nature of today’s trading environment means that it’s also hyper-competitive for businesses. Businesses need to excel in more than one aspect of their marketing mix: price, promotion, place, or product, and have the constant threat of being trumped by a larger, well-resourced player.

For some, the idea of launching your own digital business can come with complexities – a case of not knowing where – or how – to start. For those who take the plunge, resilience, overcoming the everyday challenges of managing and growing a business and keeping up to date with the latest trends in advertising is key.

Creating a business and accessing international growth opportunities through digital channels shouldn’t be difficult. We believe more needs to be done to help businesses participate in the digital economy and unlock significant economic value.

That’s why we’ve unveiled Aleph – a strong, single brand that brings together the technologies, local teams, and global reach of brands including Ad Dynamo, Connect Ads, Httpool and IMS. Simply, Aleph is an ecosystem of global digital experts and technology-driven solutions that enable the growth of digital marketing. We connect thousands of advertisers with billions of consumers and create markets for local businesses to grow. Designed with digital marketing at its core, Aleph has evolved to focus on [four key pillars] that address the challenges facing businesses—and consumers—at various stages of their growth journey or understanding of digital marketing.

At a foundational level, Aleph’s Digital Ad Expert offers a free skills-based education platform that gives each student the skills they need to manage digital advertising campaigns and unlock growth. It provides resources, courses, and networking opportunities, and has certified more than 75,000 people from 140+ countries in short courses. Nigeria leads the way in Sub-Saharan Africa with an impressive 149,018 registered participants in the Digital Ad Expert program, followed by Kenya with 24,709 registrants, Ghana with 23,999 registrants, and South Africa with 9,419 registrants. As a platform, it gives consumers around the world the tools they need to drive growth for businesses – or better still, capture growth opportunities through digital marketing for their own business. That’s why we were delighted to join UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition, and specifically support UNESCO’s Global Skills Academy, an initiative that aims to help ten million young people build skills for employability and resilience by 2029.

That’s where Aleph Express comes in – Aleph’s proprietary platform that enables micro, small and medium-sized to create and maintain a free ecommerce website, create a product catalogue, set discounts and coupons, local delivery options and record and process orders. Like Digital Ad Expert for commerce, it gives entrepreneurs all the tools needed to launch their own online store. It’s currently available in Nigeria but is highly scalable and will be rolled out more widely in the future.

Once at scale, Aleph’s core digital marketing business can then help businesses tell their story to the wider world. Through our existing partnerships with the world’s largest platforms, we create meaningful opportunities for brands to engage with consumers in an authentic way, while at a significant scale – often in multiple countries simultaneously. Our local teams across all continents support and provide insights to advertisers to equip them with the latest know-how to make the most of their media investments.

As the world evolves and the ways that businesses operate change, there is a level of responsibility for larger businesses to move with the times and do what they can to support smaller, ambitious, and possibly high-growth businesses. And, in today’s global world, that means breaking down barriers in place of international growth opportunities.

By doing this, we will help a new wave of small businesses flourish, create new jobs and economic value, and possibly uncover the next global unicorns in the process. From our perspective, there’s nothing to lose in helping businesses access global commerce.


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E-Financial

Zenith Bank Emerges as Nigeria’s Tier-1 Capital Leader for the 15th Consecutive Year @2024 Top 1000 World Banks’ Ranking

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Zenith Bank Plc for fifteenth consecutive year has retained its position as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the 2024 Top 1000 World Banks’ Rankings, published by The Banker Magazine.

This ranking places Zenith Bank Plc as the 565th Bank globally with a Tier-1 Capital of $2.01 billion. The rankings, published in the July 2024 edition of The Banker Magazine of the Financial Times Group, United Kingdom, recognise Zenith Bank’s continued financial strength and stability.

They are based on the 2023 year-end Tier-1 capital of banks globally and remain the primary source for global bank financials used by most international organisations in their assessments of banks.

Tier-1 Capital describes capital adequacy, the core measure of a bank’s financial strength from a regulator’s perspective. According to the ranking, Tier-1 Capital, as defined by the latest Bank for International Settlements (BIS) guidelines, includes loss-absorbing capital, i.e., common stock, disclosed reserves, retained earnings, and minority interests in the equity of subsidiaries that are less than wholly owned. A strong Tier-1 capital ratio boosts investor and depositor confidence, indicating the Bank is well-capitalised and financially stable.

Commenting on this achievement, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dame (Dr.) Adaora Umeoji, OON, said, “We are deeply honoured to be recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the fifteenth consecutive year.

“This recognition is a testament to our strategic focus on sustainable growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction. It also emphasises our resilience and strength in navigating the ever-evolving financial landscape.

“Our dedicated team of professionals has remained steadfast in ensuring that we maintain our position at the forefront of the banking industry.” She extended her profound and sincere appreciation to the Founder and Chairman, Dr. Jim Ovia, CFR, whose visionary and transformative leadership has played a pivotal role in cultivating a resilient and thriving establishment.

“She also expressed her deep appreciation for the board’s insightful governance, the staff’s relentless dedication, and the unwavering loyalty of the bank’s esteemed customers to the Zenith brand.

Zenith Bank’s financial performance for the year was driven by a remarkable triple-digit growth of 125% in gross earnings, from N945.6 billion reported in 2022 to N2.132 trillion in 2023.

This growth led to an improved market share in both the retail and corporate segments despite a persistently challenging macroeconomic environment. The increase in gross earnings was primarily due to growth in interest and non-interest income. Interest income growth was attributed to the increase in the size of risk assets and their effective repricing, while non-interest income was driven by significant trading gains and gains from the revaluation of foreign currencies.

Zenith Bank recently commenced recapitalisation efforts with the conclusion of its Capital Markets Day held on 11th July 2024. It aims to raise the least amount of capital amongst its peers at N230 billion, considering it already maintains a robust capital base of N270.7 billion.

The Bank remains dedicated to supporting the growth of the Nigerian economy and providing its numerous customers with innovative and efficient banking solutions.

Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards, with these latest accolades coming on the heels of several recognitions. These include being recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the fourteenth consecutive year in the 2023 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking, published by The Banker Magazine.

The Bank was also awarded the Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2022; and Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria in the International Banker 2024 Banking Awards.

Further recognitions include Best Bank in Nigeria for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022 in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards and Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria for three consecutive years from 2021 to 2023 in the World Finance Banking Awards.

Additionally, Zenith Bank has been acknowledged as the Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria, in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards for 2022 and 2023, and ‘Best in Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa for four consecutive years from 2020 to 2023 by the Ethical Boardroom.

The Bank’s commitment to excellence saw it being named the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands for 2020 and 2021, and Retail Bank of the Year for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022 at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

The Bank also received the accolades of Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria, in the International Banker 2023 Banking Awards, Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation in Retail Banking, Nigeria, in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards.

Zenith Bank was named Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020, Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper, and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS Awards.


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CBN Expects N20trn from Dormant Accounts

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks and other financial institutions to deposit unclaimed balances and funds in dormant accounts to the apex bank accounts.

CBN Expects N20trn from Dormant Accounts

According to the CBN the accounts dormant for at least 10 years are to be transferred to its custody, in a bid to standardise the management of these funds and curb potential abuses.

This initiative is part of new guidelines introduced by the CBN to enhance oversight and ensure these funds are managed appropriately for the benefit of their rightful owners.

Earlier data released by the CBN had indicated that the estimated dormant account balances in Nigerian banks have accumulated to over N20 trillion.

With nearly 20 million bank accounts that are inactive in the country, the CBN directed banks to begin transferring funds in dormant accounts into the “Unclaimed Balances Trust Fund (UBTF) Pool Account domiciled with it.

Data from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) show that there are 19.799 million bank accounts that are dormant as at the end of the first quarter of this year, representing 6.81 per cent of all bank accounts in the country.

This is according to the just released Guidelines on Management of Dormant Accounts, Unclaimed  Balances and Other Financial Assets in Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria.

A circular signed by John Onojah, acting director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, noted that the guideline amongst others, standardised the management of dormant accounts, unclaimed balances and financial assets, and outlines the procedure for the administration of these balances, funds, and assets by banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria.

Consequently, account balances in bank accounts that have been dormant for a period of 10 years will be transferred into the pool account, however, banks are expected to publish on their websites, details of all dormant accounts, six months prior to their eligibility for transfer to CBN.

The guideline stated that eligible accounts are dormant accounts balances that have remained with the FIs for a period of 10 years and beyond. These include current, savings and term deposits in local currency as well as domiciliary accounts.

Likewise, deposits towards the purchase of shares and mutual investments; prepaid card accounts and wallets;  Government Owned Accounts; proceeds of uncleared and unpresented financial instruments belonging to  customers or non-customers of financial institutions, unclaimed salaries and wages, commissions, and bonuses will be eligible for transfer.

Others include proceeds of stale local and/or foreign currency drafts not presented for payment by beneficiaries; funds received from a correspondent bank without sufficient details as to the rightful beneficiary and/or a recall of funds made to the remitting bank to which the Nigerian bank account had not been debited; a judgment debt for which the judgment creditor has not claimed the amount of judgment award; and any other deposits or financial assets that may be designated by CBN.

However, accounts that are subject of litigation; a judgment debt for which the judgment creditor has not claimed the amount of judgment award and the case is still active in Court; accounts under investigation by a regulatory authority or law enforcement agency; and encumbered accounts including, but not limited to, collaterals and liens are exempted.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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RT Briscoe Launches Recapitalization Fund

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RT Briscoe Nigeria Plc is proud to announce the launch of a first of its kind, the “R.T. Briscoe Savings and Investment Fund”. The fund is the first to allow investors save within a regulated vehicle towards investing into the capital of a target company. Following approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

This milestone marks a significant step in RT Briscoe’s commitment to providing innovative opportunities to its existing and potential shareholders to invest in the company with a savings plan.

This approach ensures that investors can own a stake in R.T. Briscoe Nigeria PLC through a saving plan (monthly or otherwise) towards their target investment amount in the company., This makes it much easier and very accessible to a broader range of investors who may not have the one-off capital to invest at once but, instead would be able to save towards it over a period of time.

The R.T. Briscoe Savings and Investment Fund is an open-ended money market fund with the primary objective being to offer unitholders a steady stream of income whilst they save towards their target investment in the company and also provide the investor with capital preservation at the point of the conversion into ordinary shares of R.T, Briscoe.

By investing the pooled funds into a diversified portfolio of high-quality money market instruments, the fund ensures low risk and competitive returns. Essentially, this is a save-to-invest in your company, R.T. Briscoe.

The fund is professionally managed by DLM Asset Management Limited who recently won the best Asset Management company of the year at the African Industrial and Development Conference and Awards.

This accolade underscores their commitment to ensuring expert oversight and strategic investment decisions. First City Monument Bank Limited serves as the custodian, while UTL Trust Management Services acts as the trustee, providing additional security and transparency.

With a minimum subscription of 10 units at N1,000 per unit, the fund is accessible with a minimum investment of N10,000. The fund comprises 1,000,000 units available for subscription, providing many opportunities for investors.

Additionally, the fund offers liquidity, allowing easy access to investments and the final option to convert the investor’s holdings into equity ownership in R.T. Briscoe Nigeria PLC.

Seyi Onajide, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive of RT Briscoe Nigeria Plc, expressed his enthusiasm about the launch: “We are thrilled to introduce the R.T. Briscoe Savings and Investment Fund, demonstrating our dedication to providing reliable and accessible investment opportunities that empower all investors to achieve their investment goals in our company with ease.

“This launch underscores our commitment to innovation and growth, offering clients an opportunity to save to own a part of R.T. Briscoe Nigeria PLC.

“We believe this fund will not only ultimately enhance our capital position, but also reinforce our leadership across our diverse businesses, including Automobile, Industrial Air Compressor, Material Handling, Industrial Equipment, Power, and Real Estate.

Ugonnaya Osi, MD of DLM Asset Management, commented on the RT Briscoe Nigeria Plc fund, emphasizing, “With the expertise of DLM Asset Management Limited and the unwavering support of our trusted partners, we are confident that the RT Briscoe Fund will deliver significant value to our investors and the company.

“As stewards of the RT Briscoe Fund, our commitment extends beyond mere management; we aim to maximize returns and foster sustained financial growth through meticulous oversight and strategic foresight.

“This dedication ensures that every investment decision is informed by a deep understanding of market dynamics and investor needs, reinforcing our pledge to deliver excellence in financial management.” She added.

Investing in the R.T. Briscoe Savings and Investment Fund is straightforward. Interested individuals can fill out a subscription form and complete the Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements and just make their target monthly or otherwise payments towards owning a part of Nigeria’s corporate history. For more information and to access the forms, visit https://dlm.group/rtbfund/

RT Briscoe Nigeria Plc invites the public to join in this exciting investment opportunity and take the first step towards financial growth and stability of our investors and R.T. Briscoe’s future.


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