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Experts Brainstorm at AITEC Africa Conference

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AITEC Africa, the leading organiser of ICT events across Africa, held the 2010 AITEC Banking & Mobile Money West Africa Conference at Eko Hotel’s new world-class conference centre over 11-12 May.
This year’s conference was tagged “Thought leadership and innovation to survive and thrive in a new banking era”.
Sean Moroney, chairman of Aitec Africa in his welcome address explained that “we live in a challenging world, particularly in the banking industry and it is vital for every manager and professional to have access to latest thinking on strategies, technologies and systems on the world market.”
Speaking on Pragmatic Ways to Achieve Financial Inclusion in Nigeria and West Africa, Macauley Atasie, CEO Nextzon Business Services said Financial Inclusion ensures access to financial services and timely and adequate credit where needed by vulnerable groups such as weaker sections and low income groups at an affordable cost.”
He added that “Financial Exclusion is the lack of access to basic formal financial products and services and credit leading to approaching informal/ exploitative markets.”
He noted that the financially excluded are small vendors, farmers, SMEs, artisans, semi/unskilled workers, unemployed, the poor and uneducated.
“In Nigeria, the structure for MFBs is still evolving, but it is clear that so far, we have not cracked it,” identifying the challenges of MFBs as efficient delivery channels, right products, industry standards and efficiency.
Atasie called for correspondent banking, mobile banking, absence of frills accounts, products with simplified documentation and shared offices back-office infrastructure.
“The current delivery channels of most financial institutions in Nigeria and other West African countries are ineffective at reaching the financially excluded, channels are too far away from the poor and are not modeled to suit their cultural and psychological make up,” he noted.
He said more recent financial inclusion efforts around the world are looking to combine the skills of traditional financial institution players with complementary, non-traditional distribution channels to reach low-income families.
Atasie called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other stakeholders to assist ISPs in accessing international funds for promoting financial inclusion while developing local funds
Hany Fekry, head of Sales & marketing, Mediterranean Smart Cards Company, Egypt while speaking on Smart Cards Challenges & Smart ways to address them, said third party processors were established to provide the experience and know-how to banks and financial institutions at competitive costs.
He said senior managers and decision makers need to focus on positioning themselves among their fierce competitors, and let their technical functions be handled by the experts.
“Outsourcing is rapidly becoming an accepted management tool for redefining and re-energizing the corporation. It challenges today’s executives to rethink the traditional, vertically integrated firm in favor of a more flexible organization structured around core competencies and long-term, external relationships.”
Zain Khan CMC, CEO, Alliances Consulting, Canada, in his presentation on Critical Success Factors in Maximizing Consumer Participation and Acceptance of the Mobile Banking Paradigm Shift said the consumer is imperative as a key strategic variable in the success of mobile banking.
Khan said this explains the need for maintaining a balance between innovation and consumer interests, critical consumer considerations in the supply chain of mobile banking, provide innovative ways to proactively educate consumers and maximize the overall value to consumers in the deployment of mobile banking.
The bank switch panel discussion, was moderated by Foluso Phillips, CEO, Phillips Consulting on the topic, Nigeria’s Banking Switch Landscape: Building a Tower or Babel?
Discussants at the panel were Mitchel Elegbe, managing director, Interswitch, Francis Ebuehi, managing director of Chams Switch, Ike Nnamani, managing director, Medallion Communications and Barry Ryan, director, Kenswitch, Kenya.
Francis Ebuehi, managing director, Chams Switch said stakeholders must be involved in the policy and procedures of the National Central Switch. He said there must be strict adherence to professionalism built on the concept of separation of roles for a successful switch.
Ike Nnamani, managing director, Medallion Communications said seamless interoperatability poses a challenge to epayment while calling for a proactive, knowledgeable regulation with right guidelines.
Mitchel Elegbe, managing director, Interswitch said problems with SAT 3 caused problems with the use of cards. He said banks will bypass the NCS, if not properly structured.
The two day event had a line up of 40 speakers, moderators, workshop leaders and panelists, 20 of whom are international experts, to share their knowledge and insights with local bank professionals in a stimulating and empowering conference environment.
The event also included a world class expo, showcasing leading local and international suppliers of systems and solutions for the financial services sector.

 


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NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution

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Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.

NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution

The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.

GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.

Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.

The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.

They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception

“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said

The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.

It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.

Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.

“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.

“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.

 

 


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Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria

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Tizeti announced that it selected Nokia’s Fastmile Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to enable usprovide superior internet services to over 1 Million subscribers in Port Harcourt, Edo and Ogun in Nigeria.

Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria

Tizeti will deploy Nokia’s AirScale Base Station TDD-LTE and FastmileFixed Wireless Access (FWA) gatewaysto deliver premium internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to Residential, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The solution will also enable Tizeti’sto deliver a more robust, high-speedinternet service to subscribers and the flexibility to seamlessly evolve to 5G Fixed Wireless Access when needed.

Nokia’s FWA solution enables Tizeti to fast-track broadband access and provide a best-in-class broadband experience to its subscribers.

Nokia’sAirScale Base Stations ensure high-quality connectivity and coverage and enablesTizeti to evolve the network in line with customer demand.

Nokia’sFastmilegateways connect wirelessly to the existing network to createa fastbroadband connection and enhanced Wi-Fi experience in the home.

The Nokia Network Services Platform will help Tizeti to simplify operations and quickly respond to changing market demands.

Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti, said:“We are committed to providing the best-in-class network experience to our subscribers. We are confident that Nokia’s proven technology and expertise will help us differentiate our services based on quality. This a crucial project for us as it introduces LTE in our networks and allows us to bring new and innovative services to our subscribers.”

Eniola Balogun, Nokia, said:“We are thrilled to work with Tizeti on the initiative to upgrade their network to bring the latest products and services to its subscribers. Nokia Fastmile will help Tizeti to cost-effectively enhance the customer experience.

The project will also enable them to delight their subscribers by providing more reliable data services.

On the other hand, Tizeti will benefit by adding new revenue streams.”

 

 


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Risk Assets Push Higher on Vaccine Hopes; Eyes on the Fed

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By Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM,

After two consecutive weeks of back-to-back declines, global stocks kicked off Monday with solid gains amid a surge in M&A activity and positive signs towards vaccine developments. Currency markets were little changed ahead of a busy week of monetary policy announcements, while Oil and Gold ticked slightly higher.

The two big deals announced over the weekend were Softbank’s plan to sell chipmaker ARM to Nvidia for more than $40 billion and Gilead Sciences to acquire Immunomedics for a price tag of $21 billion. Meanwhile, on the vaccine front, AstraZeneca resumed its phase-3 trial on Covid-19 after being suspended last week following a neurological illness developed in one participant, and Pfizer announced that its vaccine could be distributed before year-end if found safe and effective.

 

Central Banks will take centre stage this week with the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan all due to announce policy decisions. Out of the three meetings, the Fed is likely to be the most watched following its historic shift towards average inflation targeting. The big question remains how will the FOMC put this policy into action?

 

From what we know now, the Fed is set up to keep interest rates near zero for a long time, possibly for several years. Given the new framework, any spike in inflation won’t translate into immediate rate hikes as the Fed wants to compensate for the lost years when they have failed to hit the target. The dot plot will be the key guide for investors and traders alike. If inflation projections remain at 2% or below for the foreseeable future, this will solidify market expectations for a low rate environment for many years to come. That said, Jay Powell would still have to explain in more detail how the new framework will be translated into policy action.

 

In June’s economic projections, the Fed anticipated unemployment would be at 9.3% by year-end, but, in August, unemployment was well below that forecast at 8.4%. Many other economic data surprised to the upside during the June – August period in a clear sign that most economists were overly pessimistic towards the strength of the recovery. However, there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty given the latest surge in Covid-19 cases worldwide and the US, especially as we get closer into the winter season. A second wave will undoubtedly put the recovery at risk in the final quarter of the year and it will be interesting to see the Fed’s view on that issue.

 

As for the market selloff over the past two weeks, the Fed isn’t likely to show any signs of concern. In fact, policymakers should be satisfied with the pullback as the risk of a bubble in several assets has been growing due to the Fed’s extremely accommodative policies. Unless we see another 10 -15% drop, do not expect the Fed to intervene.


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