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Global Fintech News - AFN

Gloabl Fintech Trends – July 1, 2024

African Nations Urged to Expedite AfCFTA Implementation for Economic Integration

A call to action has been sounded for African countries to accelerate the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation, with experts emphasizing the need for robust national strategies and action plans.

The directive came during the “National Consultation Forum on the Development of Ethiopia’s AfCFTA Implementation Strategy” held in Addis Ababa. Stephen Karingi, Director of the Regional Integration and Trade Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), underscored the potential of AfCFTA to drive industrialization, job creation, and investment across Africa.

Karingi highlighted that while 36 African countries and three regional economic communities have already developed and launched their AfCFTA implementation strategies, 19 countries are yet to deliver theirs. He urged swift action to meet ambitious targets, including achieving tariff linearization for 97 percent of trade across the continent.

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Uganda: Finance Ministry On The Spot Over Equity In Bailing Out Companies

Legislators on the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises have tasked the finance ministry to present documentation on the criteria used in granting bailouts to companies in financial crises.

According to the committee chairperson, Hon. Medard Sseggona, companies belonging to foreign investors have mostly benefitted from bailouts compared to companies belonging to Ugandan investors.

“What is the legal and policy framework on which you base to determine who should benefit from your bailouts and who should not? You are helping AYA but you are not helping Sembule who has invested in development of your technology and skills,” said Sseggona.

He raised the concern in a meeting between committee members and officials from the ministry on Friday, 28 June 2024.

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Rural communities sidelined in fintech boom

Financial technology companies have made progress in the country, but they have not significantly bridged Nigeria’s exclusion gap, particularly in rural areas where many residents lack access to basic banking services, JUSTICE OKAMGBA writes

Rural communities in Africa’s biggest population are still struggling to have access to financial services, despite Nigeria’s fintech boom, which peaked in 2022 with a valuation of over $1.2bn.

Startups in the space have collectively raised over $2bn in investment, most of which came between 2019 and 2022, according to Intelpoint’s Nigerian Financial Services Market report released in December.

In the heart of Okuenyi, a small village in Obingwa Local Government Area, Abia State, residents struggle to access the internet for financial transactions, just like in many rural areas across the country’s 774 LGAs.

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Nigerian Fintech Startup Bamboo Launches Operations in South Africa, Offers Access to US Stock Market

Bamboo, the popular Nigerian investment app that enables users to invest in US stocks, has expanded its operations to South Africa. This move marks a significant milestone in the company’s mission to democratise investment opportunities for Africans, providing South Africans with a convenient and accessible platform to diversify their portfolios and tap into the global stock market.

Through the Bamboo app, South African users can now invest in fractional shares of over 3,000 US stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and Tesla. The app’s user-friendly interface and low minimum investment requirements make it an attractive option for both seasoned investors and newcomers.

Bamboo’s expansion into South Africa is a strategic move, capitalizing on the country’s growing interest in international investments and the increasing demand for digital financial services. The company aims to leverage its existing technology and expertise to provide South African users with a seamless and secure investing experience.

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Nigerian official advocates blockchain, AI against illicit financial flows

The chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Olanipekun Olukoyede, has highlighted blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI) as tools to address illicit financial flows (IFFs) in Africa.

According to local media, Olukoyede highlighted the $88.6 billion lost annually in African countries due to IFFs at the Pan-African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Taxation.

Fighting illicit financial flows

The conference is the premier annual forum of the African Union. It brings together stakeholders across Africa to discuss IFFs and taxation. This conference facilitates sharing insights, strategies and best practices to address the challenge of IFFs.

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The new Destination Thailand Visa will allow remote workers to stay for up to five years. Here’s what you need to know.

With more people working remotely in a post-pandemic world, numerous countries are rethinking how to appeal to and attract global workers. In recent months, Türkiye, Canada, Italy, and Japan have all rolled out digital nomad visas, inviting travelers who work remotely to live within their borders for six months to a year. Not to be left out, Thailand not only announced a similar visa scheme—but also upped the ante.

On May 30, the Southeast Asia nation unveiled a splashy new digital-nomad visa program that will allow remote workers to stay in the country, working from buzzy coworking spaces in Bangkok or beach cafés in Koh Samui, for up to five years. And unlike other visa programs, it extends to people interested in long-term cultural immersion in the country. According to the official announcement, “The effective date of the new measures will be announced upon the completion of final legal procedures.”

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DBS and Mashreq Offer Same-Day Cross-Border Payments Across Asia, Europe and the Americas

DBS and Mashreq have announced a new collaboration to extend same-day and near-instant peer-to-peer cross-border payments to Mashreq’s retail customers in selected markets across Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Americas.

The service, powered by DBS Globesend, aims to provide cost-effective, fast and transparent payments in up to 132 currencies across 190 markets, addressing the increasing demand for secure and convenient global transactions.

With global cross-border payment flows projected to exceed $250trillion by 2027, this collaboration between DBS and Mashreq represents a significant step towards simplifying and accelerating international financial transactions.

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Lynx Introduces Real-Time Mule Detection Solution for Financial Institutions

Lynx, a provider of artificial intelligence (AI) software that detects and prevents fraud and financial crimes, has introduced a real-time mule detection solution for banks and financial institutions.

The solution helps banks swiftly identify and prevent money mule activities, addressing global regulatory demands and significant laundering operations.

Cifas, the not-for-profit UK fraud prevention service, estimates that 37,000 British bank accounts exhibited behaviour associated with muling in 2023. These accounts facilitate approximately £10billion of laundering each year in the UK, with around 23 per cent conducted by individuals under 21 and 65 per cent by those under 30.

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Customers abandon more than $100m in possible scam payments

NAB’s payment alerts have seen customers abandon more than $100 million in payments in the 15 months since the initiative was introduced to digital banking, new insights reveal.

The alerts target invoice, investment, romance, and goods and services scams in the NAB app and internet banking.

Customers may receive an alert if a payment appears out of character for them or raises scam concerns and are designed to encourage them to stop and check.

The insights come as NAB launches the latest version of its ‘Red Flags’ campaign on social media, online channels and outdoor billboards highlighting the moment a customer reconsiders a payment after receiving a payment alert as they prepare to pay an invoice.

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Payment infrastructure is key to bringing retail users to crypto

Consumers can use their debit cards at almost any retail outlet or brick-and-mortar stores these days. It has made day-to-day payments very easy and hassle-free.

But it wasn’t always like this. When early iterations of debit cards arrived in the 1970s, they were usable only at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). Most retail outlets couldn’t accept them because point-of-sale (POS) terminals were expensive and not as widely available as they are now.

Web3 payment rails are presently in a similar spot. While certain online stores such as Overstock, Microsoft, Shopify and more accept Bitcoin BTCUSD payments, consumers mostly can’t pay for their local groceries using crypto.

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