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AfDB President, Adesina confident of “very promising future” for continent

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“The future of our continent is looking very promising indeed,” African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina declared in the opening words of his address to diplomats  at a lunch organised today, Tuesday, in Abidjan.

Adesina referred to the Bank’s recent flagship publication, the African Economic Outlook 2019 which noted that the recovery in commodity prices is driving domestic demand and infrastructure investment, while real Africa’s GDP continued to improve in 2018 to 4.1%. The Bank expects growth of 4% this year and 4.1% in 2020.

Economic opportunities in Africa are generating considerable interest globally. For example, the agreement in March 2018 establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will create the largest free trade area in the world. The CFTA will provide an unprecedented framework with the capacity to increase trade by at least 100% in Africa.

“The African Development Bank is at the centre of the actions taken to ensure the success of the continental free-trade area. We have invested over one billion dollars to support the financing of trade in Africa,” Adesina said.

The Bank, whose triple-A rating with stable outlook has been reconfirmed by the four major global rating agencies, has also invested $1 billion in Afreximbank, including $650 million in credit lines for trade finance and $350 million in insurance.

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The free movement of people on the continent is another important driver of development. “We need to break down all barriers that impede the free movement of people across the continent, especially that of workers, because this is vital for promoting investment,” Adesina said.

In its report on intra-African investment, the African Development Bank emphasised the significant increase incross-border investments – $12 billion last year, up from $2 billion in 2010. Under the G20 Compact with Africa, the Bank has worked with the World Bank and the IMF to provide assistance to African countries, particularly to improve company regulations and the business environment.

“Africa will not develop through aid, but through investment”, said Adesina. This is whythe African Development Bank, with its partners, launched the highly successful Africa Investment Forum (AIF)  in Johannesburg, South Africa last November, securing investment interest in 49 deals across Africa worth over $38 billion in just two days.

The African Development Bank continues to invest in infrastructure to connect countries and improve their competitiveness. It has provided $16 million to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the preparation of feasibility studies for the Lagos-Abidjan corridor. It has also funded 1000 kilometres of road between Addis Ababa and Mombasa, which has increased trade fivefold between Ethiopia and Kenya.

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The Bank was the lead lender for the construction of the historic Senegambia bridge linking Gambia and Senegal which opened on 21 January 2019. And the Bank’s investment portfolio in Côte d’Ivoire has tripled in the last three years, reaching $1.8 billion in 2018.

The Bank is taking a lead role in the “Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation” (TAAT) initiative, which seeks to accelerate the dissemination of agricultural technologies throughout the continent, not only to improve yields, but also to fight against the consequences of global warming and against pests, such as Fall Armyworm. “The crucial point for the economic development of Africa is that we have to radically transform our agriculture,” Adesina declared.

The Bank’s High 5  priorities are already producing significant impacts across the continent,” said the Bank’s President.In 2018, 4.5 million people were connected to electrical grids.Nearly 20 million more people have access to improved agricultural technologies.Industrial investments in the private sector have benefited 1.1 million people.Some 14 million people have gained access to improved transport services, while another 8 million people have benefited from better access to water and sanitation.These impacts encourage the Bank to redouble its support for economic and social development in Africa.

“We need to achieve universal access to electricity. We need to help Africa to become self-sufficient in food. We need to achieve a fully integrated continent. We need to industrialize Africa and improve the quality of life for its people,” Adesina concluded.

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Cryptocurrency Is ‘Not Money’ – Trump

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US President, Donald Trump on Thursday expressed his mistrust of cryptocurrency, saying it was “not money” and warning that those wishing to join the trade would have to abide by banking regulations.

“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” Trump tweeted.

Trump, also stressed that cryptocurrency, whose electronic nature makes it nearly untraceable, could facilitate illegal activity.

Cryptocurrency has flourished since Bitcoin launched in 2009. But when Facebook unveiled plans last month for its own virtual currency, Libra, the announcement rattled financial regulators the world over.

With more than two billion Facebook users, the social media giant’s cryptocurrency — which is slated for a 2020 launch and already has multiple partners — could completely disrupt the financial world.

However, Trump said that Libra has “little standing or dependability.”

He also warned Facebook and other companies that, should they launch their own cryptocurrency, they would have to abide by both American and international banking regulations.

“We only have one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than ever,” he tweeted.

“It is called the United States Dollar!”

A high-level G7 working group is expected to produce a preliminary report on asset-backed cryptocurrencies next week when the group’s finance ministers meet in France.

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“The more we, the international regulators, investigate this project, the more we have serious questions and potentially reservations,” said Francois Villeroy de Galhaut, head of the French central bank.

His American counterpart at the Federal Reserve also broached the topic Wednesday and Thursday when testifying before Congress.

“I think we need to do a very careful, patient, thorough assessment of what the risks really are,” Jerome Powell said Thursday, adding that the size of Facebook’s social media network points to Libra’s “systemic importance.”

Some American politicians have called for a total freeze on Facebook’s Libra project.

Facebook has pledged to deliver a stable virtual currency that lives on smartphones and could bring over a billion “unbanked” people — adults without bank accounts or those who use services outside the banking system such as payday loans to make ends meet — into the financial system.

The ubiquity of smartphones means digital wallets for Libra could expand the use of banking, credit card services and e-commerce in developing nations.

AFP

 

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GTBank Named Best Bank in Africa at Euromoney Awards

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Foremost African financial institution Guaranty Trust Bank plc has been named the Best Bank in Africa 2019 by Euromoney at its annual Awards for Excellence, which held in London on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at the London Hilton Hotel, Park Lane. GTBank was also named the Best Bank in Nigeria for a record ninth time, reflecting the Bank’s position as one of the best managed financial institutions in the country, with strong and focused leadership that keep the business in a constant state of re-invention and innovation.

Now in its 50th year, Euromoney is the leading publication for covering the growth of international finance. Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence are the awards that matter to the banks and bankers who matter. This year, Euromoney received almost 1,500 submissions from banks in an awards programme that covers 20 global awards, more than 50 regional awards, and best bank awards in close to 100 countries. The Magazine’s Awards for Excellence celebrates the best banks around the world by recognizing institutions that have demonstrated leadership, innovation, and momentum in the markets they operate. In selecting its award recipients, Euromoney combines quantitative and qualitative data to honor institutions that have brought the highest levels of service, innovation and expertise to their customers.

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Key to the emergence of GTBank as the Best Bank in Africa and the Best Bank in Nigeria, is the Bank’s digital drive and its clarity of vision in reimagining the future of banks and banking. The Euromoney awards also recognized GTBank’s commitment to leading the future of banking as well as its consistent long-term strategy led by a senior management team that abhors complacency and keeps the business in a constant state of innovation.

Commenting on the Bank’s Euromoney awards, the Chief Executive Officer of GTBank, Segun Agbaje, said; “We are delighted and proud to win the Euromoney Awards for Africa’s Best Bank and Nigeria’s Best Bank. These awards reflect the progress we are making in delivering the best banking experience that captures what customers want in the world of today and tomorrow. They are also a testament to our leading role in driving world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation in Africa’s banking industry.”

He further stated that; “At GTBank, we are passionate about building the bank of the future by leveraging the best of technology to add real value to our customers’ lives, and these awards illustrate the hard work and commitment of our staff, management and board towards achieving this goal.”

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GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The GTBank brand is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation.

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AfDB to meet Nigerian businesses leaders next week ahead of African Investment Forum

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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the Africa Finance Corporation, will meet industry and business leaders in Abuja, Nigeria on Monday, 09 July 2019 as part of a roadshow to woo investors ahead of its second Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in November.

AIF − the continent’s biggest investment marketplace for accelerated economic transformation – is slated for 11-13 November 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is dedicated to advancing projects throughout Africa to bankable stages, raising capital, and accelerating the financial closure of deals.

The Abuja roadshow targets chief executive officers, captains of industry, State governments and other key players that will re-affirm Nigeria’s investment-ready status. The event will build on the quantity and quality of deals brokered in 2018, as well as explore investment opportunities across the continent.

By convening Nigeria’s premium project sponsors, borrowers, lenders and investors, the roadshow will showcase bankable projects, attract financing, and provide platforms for investing across multiple countries.

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