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UBA, African Guarantee Fund Partner on $100m SME Loan

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United Bank for Africa (UBA) and African Guarantee Fund (AGF) have signed a partnership that will benefit Small and Medium Enterprises across 20 African countries.

UBA, African Guarantee Fund Partner on $100m SME Loan

Oliver Alawuba, group managing director, UBA,

According to a statement from UBA on Monday, the AGF under this agreement will support and guarantee SMEs with a $50m Portfolio Guarantee as well as facilitate extensive capacity development for the bank’s customers who run small businesses across the continent, paying special attention to women-led businesses and green finance projects.

Oliver Alawuba, group managing director, UBA, who spoke during the partnership signing ceremony at the bank’s head office in Lagos, said that as Africa’s global bank, UBA remained committed to supporting SMEs in Africa, especially to women-founded and managed businesses.

He said, “This guarantee will serve as a catalyst for the bank’s intervention for SME business, women-led and environment-friendly businesses, enabling us to further extend our reach and impact. “Additionally, the extensive capacity development initiatives planned for our SME customers across 20 African countries align with our vision to empower businesses, drive innovation, and foster sustainable growth.”

“I’m particularly excited about our focus on advancing the AfCFTA initiative, reaffirming UBA’s $6 billion commitment to SMEs across Africa. This initiative, announced in September last year, demonstrates our dedication to supporting the economic integration of our continent.”

He noted that the bank’s commitment to promoting gender equality was reflected in its collaboration with the Affirmative Finance Action for Women protocol.

“Through this, we will provide loans to women-owned SMEs at more concessional rates, with customer-friendly collateral terms, aiming to bridge the significant financing gap faced by women in Africa, amounting to $42bn,” Alawuba affirmed.

Also, Jules Ngankam, group CEO of the African Guarantee Fund,  asserted that the partnership between two pan-African institutions that are both at the forefront of catalysing growth and development of SMEs would significantly drive economic growth across the continent.

“Small and medium enterprises despite being the backbone of all African economies – they account for 90 per cent of the private sector and 60 per cent of all jobs – are perceived as risky and therefore have limited access to financing.

“Through this guarantee facility and the technical capacity development grant support, we will de-risk SMEs with a priority on those that are owned or led by women and those that are within the green sector,” he said.

This partnership follows an announcement made by UBA and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat in September 2024.

The partnership will help the bank fulfil its $6bn commitment to SMEs across Africa under the AfCFTA initiative.


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E-Financial

CBN Says OPay, Moniepoint, Others can Start Onboarding New Customers Soon

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that mobile money operators including fintech firms like OPay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, and Moniepoint will resume the enrolment of new customers “in another couple of months”.

CBN Says OPay, Moniepoint, Others can Start Onboarding New Customers Soon

Olayemi Cardoso, governor, stated this on Tuesday at the 295th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the apex bank in Abuja when the MPC jacked up interest rate from 24.75 per cent to 26. 25 per cent.

Cardoso, said the apex bank has engaged many of the players on the need to strengthen their operations.

He said to block money laundering and illicit flows, the apex bank brought up “remedial measures that will help that sector to tighten up on onboarding and even existing clientele base”.

“I am confident that as time goes on, and hopefully in another couple of months, all these will be something of the past and then you will see that sector going back into what they’ve been known to do before, but certainly with a very stronger regulatory framework,” he said.

In April, the apex bank stopped fintech companies from onboarding new customers, a move that has been seen as a clampdown on the financial sub-sector by the Cardoso-led CBN.

When asked why the apex bank took the decision, the CBN chief said reports that the CBN has decided to clamp down on fintech firms are “furthest from the truth”.

He said “the fintechs have not been singled out for any exceptional kind of treatment”, adding that the CBN remained proud of the exploits of fintech firms in the last number of year and the apex bank would continue to support and strengthen them.

“However, regulation is very critical in a sector that seems to have grown so incredibly rapidly,” Cardoso said, citing illicit flows within the sub-sector.

“More recently, we had course to take a deep dive look at the whole issue of illicit flows and money laundering particularly within the non-heavy regulated banking system and we all know some of the issues that came out with cryptos and some of the messages we put out after that, which of course, gave us some course to know that there is the need for heightened surveillance.”

He said the apex bank has had major handshake with security agencies to identify the places to tighten regulations and surveillance in the sub-sector.

Cardoso said, “For that reason, we were concerned with respect to how we saw the issue of anti-money laundering and illicit flows as they made their way within the various sub-sectors of the financial industry and we felt there was a need for us to take a breather and work with different players to strengthen regulations, not by any means to throw them out of business.

“Let me re-emphasise that as at this point in time, we have not revoked the licenses of any of the fintech organisations.”


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Flutterwave Refutes N11Bn Loss Due to Security Breach

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Flutterwave, African fintech company, has debunked allegations in the media that it lost N11 billion ($7.25 million) due to a security compromise.

Flutterwave Refutes N11Bn Loss Due to Security Breach

Flutterwave, led by Olugbenga Agboola, Nigerian tech millionaire has rejected accusations is the only Africa-focused Company to make CNBC’s 2024 Disruptor 50 List

In response to the avalanche of claims, Flutterwave said that it discovered suspicious activity on one of its customer platforms in April 2024. The corporation maintains that it aggressively prevented any loss of customer monies.

As a security precaution, Flutterwave will contact select customers to move their accounts and recommends that all customers implement multifactor authentication, 3D security, and IP whitelisting.

This recent incident raises security worries for the corporation, which accepts payments in over 30 currencies from 40 countries.

In March 2023, reports arose saying hackers stole N2.9 billion ($6.3 million) from Flutterwave. The corporation quickly rejected the charges, reaffirming its commitment to client fund protection.

Flutterwave was ordered by a Nigerian court to recover N19 billion ($12.5 million) for unlawful POS transactions that affected 6,000 accounts across 35 banks and financial institutions.

This came after a months-long inquiry into a technical malfunction that enabled the fraudulent transfers.

Agboola founded Flutterwave in 2016, and it has since been a forerunner in Africa’s ongoing payments revolution. The company, with headquarters in San Francisco and

Lagos, is a notable success story in the continent’s developing fintech sector.

Flutterwave entered the Rwandan and Egyptian markets in 2023, which was a golden year for expansion. It formed a strategic relationship with IndusInd Bank Ltd., a top Indian financial services provider.

The corporation announced a $50 million investment in the Kenyan market to secure an operating license.

These results highlight Flutterwave’s twin goals of transforming Africa’s payments ecosystem and developing a foothold in international markets.

In 2023, Flutterwave formed a strategic relationship with Microsoft, founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, American billionaires.

This effort intends to empower at least 10 million small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) across Africa, with a concentration on Nigeria.

The partnership harnesses the power of the fintech sector to boost economic growth and improve people’s lives by promoting financial inclusion.

This collaboration expands on the two companies’ current technological arrangement, which was signed earlier in 2023.


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CBN raises interest rate to 26.25%

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Monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the monetary policy rate (MPR), which benchmarks interest rates, from 24.75 percent to 26.25 percent.

This comes after Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 33.69 percent amid the surge in food prices.

Olayemi Cardoso, CBN’s governor, announced the monetary policy rate adjustment at a news conference on Tuesday, May 21, during the committee’s 295th meeting in Abuja.

The monetary policy rate (MPR) is the baseline interest rate in an economy, which banks use to set their interest rates.

This is the third consecutive time the apex bank will be raising the benchmark rate this year. At the March MPC meeting, the benchmark rate had been increased by 200 basis points from 22.75 per cent to 24.75 per cent.


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