Cryptocurrencies will revolutionise Remittance and Payments – Quidax CEO

Cryptocurrencies will revolutionise Remittance and Payments - Quidax CEO

On Tuesday, the Chief Executive Officer of Quidax, Buchi Okoro stated that cryptocurrencies like Ripple (XRP) can be used to increase liquidity for remittance businesses while reducing the cost per transaction to customers.

In a panel discussion at the 7th Remittance and Payment Expo that held on the 23rd and 24th of October at Oriental Hotel in Lagos. Buchi said that Quidax was not in competition with remittance or payments platforms, but instead in collaboration with them, as using cryptocurrencies like Ripple will increase liquidity and effectiveness to remittance businesses.

He added that partnering with platforms like Flutterwave, Paga and other remittance and payment systems could reduce the cost per transaction to consumers, cut transaction time and even lower operating costs. Explaining he said that remittance businesses usually needed to have security deposits in the countries they operate in, however, using a cryptocurrency like XRP this could potentially be eliminated. According to him in a matter of microseconds, the currency of the originating country would be converted to XRP, sold on the exchange for the currency of the destination country with the end user receiving the money in their bank account in seconds.

On the panel with Buchi were the Growth Lead, Remittance at Flutterwave, Etimbuk Bassey and Co-founder and Director of Business Development at Paga, Jay Alabraba.

In his speech before the panel session, Buchi shared how overwhelming the traction in Nigeria has been, with a lot of activity coming from the Ripple pairs which are mostly used for remittance because of the speed of settlement at around 25 seconds. Also, Quidax is looking to integrate XRapid a payment and international transfer product from Ripple which would efficiently power remittances and cross-border payments using XRP as a bridge.

At the expo, Buchi stated that there were a couple of reasons why people were suspicious of cryptocurrencies namely the fear of being ostracised and the possibility of cryptocurrencies crashing. According to him while some of these fears could not be erased completely, however, people are too focused on speculation. “It would be a lot more mind-blowing to consider the positives and opportunities cryptocurrencies offer us today; instant settlements and greatly reduced costs of financial transactions”

 

The Quidax CEO concluded saying that like every new technology, there were bound to be some resistance just like when the bicycle and the car were first introduced however the road ahead is still long and the innovations would continue well into the future.

 

The 7th Remittance and Payment Expo was themed ‘Unlocking Opportunities in Money Transfer and Payment systems in Africa’ and it was organized with the intention of deepening remittance and payment ecosystems in Africa. In attendance were top executives from financial services companies, regulators, mobile network operators, and fintech startups.

About Quidax

Quidax is a European based digital assets exchange that provides an easy platform for users to send, receive, buy and sell, digital currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin Gold using their local currencies.

Faith in a Culture of Unbelief” by Pastor Paul Adefarasin

Faith in a Culture of Unbelief” by Pastor Paul Adefarasin

Faith in a Culture of Unbelief” is a message by Senior Pastor of House on The Rock Church, Pastor Paul Adefarasin in his “Something is about to happen” series.

The main scriptures are from John 11:11-15, 12:1-2, 9-15

“These things He said, and after that, He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up. Then His disciples said, “Lord if he sleeps he will get well.” However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless, let us go to him.”

Jesus in his own days preached in a culture of unbelief.  He preached under a crowd of allegations, accusations and defiances. The people didn’t care about who he was and were not willing to listen to him.  How do you preach faith in a culture of unbelief?

Preaching alone will not work

This day, people do not believe what you say, they believe what you do. Jesus was called different names while on earth but he still made an impactful difference and this was because his message was more in his actions and doings than in his talking.

Support your talk

Jesus was not just an orator or speaker. He was a doer and an impactor. Luke confirmed this in the book of Acts in his letter to Theophilus. He wrote in Acts chapter one verse one: “Theophilus the former treatise that I have written to you of all the things with Jesus both began to do and to teach” meaning in his time and in our age of unbelief as well, talk is cheap. It’s so cheap anybody can talk. If your talk is not backed and supported by evidence, then it is not going anywhere.

Delays are not necessarily denials

God will sometimes withhold good from you because he intends to give you the best. There are things that you do that will lend credibility where there was formerly incredibility. Jesus wasn’t going to give Lazarus a healing, he wanted to give him much more than a healing. Jesus wanted to give him success and significance.

Good works

One of the reasons why we don’t believe God the way we ought to is because we are bombarded by a counterculture. So believing is hard and the church in this day is going to have to begin to manifest the power of God and the wisdom of God in what she does to bring things back to life. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he did that because he reasoned that he doesn’t need to really preach to the people of Israel but he was going to let his work preach. The people he wants to reach were not going to listen to him but when they see irrefutable works they have to bow.

Watch the full sermon by Pastor Paul Adefarasin and learn how to have faith in a culture of unbelief.

About Pastor Paul Adefarasin:

From his mother’s living room in Lagos, Paul Adefarasin established House On The Rock Church in 1994 with just a few attendees. Proof of his calling is that the living room church has blossomed into a Ministry that has over 50 daughter churches in Africa and Europe. A well-known mentee of Bishop T.D. Jakes, Pastor Paul has been fervent in his message of hope to the world and especially the African continent where he resides. He is also the Founder and President of the Rock Foundation; a charity based Organization committed to social reformation, education, provision of healthcare and relief work for ex-convicts, drug addicts, and the downtrodden and disadvantaged in Nigeria and West Africa.

Pastor Paul Adefarasin’s capacity to teach, speak and preach from a personal and theological platform has strengthened and encouraged people all over the world. The Ministry promotes reconciliation, redemption and reformation cutting across denominational and social divides. He has a burning passion for seeing the rehabilitation of his generation, his nation and his continent.

 

Pastor Paul has been happily married to pastor Ifeanyi since 1995.

Young Africans fired up by African Development Bank agribusiness mentoring partnership with Purdue University

Young Africans fired up by African Development Bank agribusiness mentoring partnership with Purdue University

For Miriam Ahuna Ofoeze, nothing now stands between her and her cherished goal of becoming a successful agribusiness entrepreneur. Thanks to an innovative training programme sponsored by the African Development Bank at Purdue University, Indianapolis, the young Nigerian is even convinced she now has what it takes to become a future World Food Prize winner.

“I have a dream that one day I will make some impact in Africa and win the World Food Prize,” says the young post-harvest processor at the National Root Crops Research Institute in Umudike, southeastern Nigeria.

The Prize is the foremost international award recognizing individuals for their contribution to the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

Ofoeze says she has been inspired and fired-up by the week-long hands-on training delivered by Purdue University’s agribusiness experts and is grateful to the Bank for the opportunity.

“Attending the programme was a great lift and insight into how to move my career forward,” said, Ofoeze, one of seven beneficiaries of the Bank-funded training. “I learnt how to consider every part of agriculture as a business and to be able to scale it up. Interacting with conference attendees also increased my network, and I hope to collaborate with some of them soon.”

As part of its Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment Youth Program (ENABLE Youth), the Bank partnered Purdue University to expose seven young African agribusiness entrepreneurs to innovative opportunities to expand their technologies and agribusiness enterprises.

The Scale Up Conference, as the Indianapolis workshop was called, was a partnership between the Bank and Purdue University and focused on how sustainable agriculture technologies could be extended to millions of farmers to help feed the world’s growing population.

The mentorship programme involved a special ‘Firestarter’ at the Purdue Foundry, a business incubation hub, where Purdue professors provided useful insights on commercializing ideas and products. The group of seven selected from Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan and Zimbabwe, had interests spanning precision agriculture using drones, innovative nutrition solutions, seed production for indigenous crops, and mechanization in harvesting gum Arabica.

Aboubacar Karim, one of the participants, said the training helped him on several levels, and like Ofoeze, said he hoped to collaborate with some of the people he met on the course.

“I have made contacts with experts in the field of precision agriculture, who work on interesting projects and with whom I can have concrete collaboration. The ‘Firestarter’ entrepreneurship training made me re-evaluate and improve my business approach. It is always a pleasure to meet people who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they do,” added Karim, founder and CEO of INVESTIV, a start-up company in Cote d’Ivoire specializing in precision agriculture using drones.

Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry at the Bank, Martin Fregene, said the selected youth all run innovative agribusiness enterprises which demonstrate the modernization of agriculture. He expressed optimism that the Bank’s support would transform agriculture for future generations and encourage young people to see the potential in farming and agribusiness.

“The Bank is committed to support youth agripreneurship on the continent and has invested over US$320 million in Enable Youth projects in nine countries (Cameroon, DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan and Zambia) which will create over 50,000 jobs,” Fregene said.

Participants also attended the Scale Up Conference on innovation in agriculture at Purdue, where they gained better understanding of successful, sustainable large-scale implementation and best practices for expanding agricultural technologies.

The Bank’s Enable Youth Program is designed to empower youth at each stage of the agribusiness value chain by harnessing new skills, technologies and financing approaches to help them establish viable and profitable agribusinesses.

Edson Mpyisi, Coordinator of the Enable Youth Program said the Bank is working with Africa’s youth and women to catalyze entrepreneurship, facilitating access to technologies and networks.

“This will in turn create a thriving agribusiness sector in Africa, thereby increasing rural jobs and improving livelihoods while making agriculture attractive and profitable to youth,” he said.

“Being a part of the Scale Up Conference helped me to expand my network of partners who will help me attain the mission of my agribusiness to eradicate the malnutrition problem,” said Elyse Habumukiza, one of the young entrepreneurs.

Carolyn Woo, Distinguished President’s Fellow for Global Development at Purdue University, lauded the “drive, passion and natural inclinations” of the young entrepreneurs, and said the Foundry provided a systematic approach and discipline that will enable them anticipate challenges and make critical decisions.

Unlocking Africa’s Digital Future’ was the theme of the 2018 Africa Summit on Women and Girls in Technology

Unlocking Africa’s Digital Future’ was the theme of the 2018 Africa Summit on Women and Girls in Technology

‘Unlocking Africa’s Digital Future’ was the theme of the 2018 Africa Summit on Women and Girls in Technology (#TechWomenAfrica) convened by the African Development Bank in collaboration with the World Wide Web Foundation on 9 – 11 October 2018.

Other co-sponsors of the summit were the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Ghana’s Ministry of Communications, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, the Internet Society, Facebook and the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation, Germany.

Over 250 participants attended the three-day summit, including Africa’s leading technology innovators, entrepreneurs, policy makers and change agents. The summit came as the world is set to reach 50 percent connectivity.

Discussions focused on the socio-economic, policy and regulatory issues around digital access, affordable broadband access, digital education and skills. Women’s rights online, and digital entrepreneurship to ensure women and girls benefit from the opportunities afforded by emerging technologies, were also discussed.

A key highlight of the event was the Bank-sponsored ‘power breakfast’ session on the role of incubators and venture capital financing in supporting female entrepreneurs in the technology sector. How to best support female entrepreneurs, policy and advocacy experts working in the technology industry also topped discussions.

Addressing summit participants during the opening ceremony, Hon. Vincent Sowah Odotei, Deputy Minister of Communications, Ghana said: “The Africa Summit on Women and Girls in technology offers a valuable platform to dialogue, share knowledge and experience and to collectively work towards designing solutions that will unlock a truly digital Africa where women and girls benefit from access to technology and the opportunities presented by the fourth industrial revolution.”

Digital technologies continue to transform societies but many women and girls, especially in developing countries, remain locked out of the digital revolution, due to social, cultural and institutional barriers. Research has shown that, globally, women are 50% less likely than men to be online. Across Africa, the connectivity gap is particularly acute, with nearly 75 percent of the population offline.

For the African Development Bank, bridging the digital gender gap is a critical step towards the vision of a thriving Africa.

Prominent discussants at the summit included Hon. Vincent Sowah Odotei, Deputy Minister of Communications, Ghana; Dr. Omobola Johnson, former Minister of Communication Technology in Nigeria; Bitilokho N’diaye, Gender Technical Advisor at the Ministry of Communication, Telecommunications, Posts and Digital Economy in Senegal.

The summit aligns with the Bank’s Gender Strategy to increase the economic empowerment of women. It supports the Bank’s goals of poverty alleviation, sustainable economic growth, gender equality and entrepreneurship. It also aligns with three of Bank’s ‘High 5’ priorities, namely, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Kenya has taken less than a decade to make giant strides in its energy sector.

Kenya goes all out for renewable energy

Kenya has taken less than a decade to make giant strides in its energy sector. Key to this are two iconic renewable energy projects that have benefited from the decisive support of the African Development Bank: Turkana Wind Farm and Menengai Geothermal Power Station.

The figures speak for themselves – the nationwide electrification rate in Kenya has leapt from 28% in 2013 to more than 60% in 2017, according to data provided by President Uhuru Kenyatta at an energy round table held in January 2018. The government’s next goal is to increase the electrification rate to 80% by 2020.

Two years to the target date, Kenya is on track and making great strides despite the severe drought it has experienced and an increase in demand of 11% per year. This progress is due to Lake Turkana Wind Farm and Menengai Geothermal Power Station.

These two projects have benefited from funding from the African Development Bank, which has also worked closely with the Kenyan Government and development partners such as the French Agency for Development and the European Investment Bank, to ensure the diversification of Kenya’s energy supply, with a focus on clean, reliable and low-cost energy sources. They have also worked to strengthen the national distribution grid by increasing renewable energy installed power by some 10%.

“Six million homes, that is, 69.4% of the population, have electricity supply,” said Ken Tarus, CEO of the national electricity distribution company, Kenya Power, in June 2017.

The result of this is that the load shedding and other untimely power cuts of the past are now much less frequent. In addition, the government reduced the retail price of electricity by 8% in July 2018.

Turkana with the wind in its sails

Lake Turkana Wind Farm project, located in the biggest lake in a desert setting in the world, took 15 years to build. Named the “African Renewables Deal of the Year”, in 2014 by Thomson Reuters, this wind farm is now the largest in Africa. It has hundreds of wind turbines whose blades turn in winds of up to 11 metres per second, about 25 miles per hour. Located in the north-west of Kenya, it has a power output of 300 megawatts.

The Bank served as lead arranger for 436 million euros in senior credit facilities towards the project cost of 623 million euros. The Bank also provided a partial risk guarantee from the African Development Fund (ADF) of 20 million euros, for the part of the project devoted to the transmission line.

Geothermal energy going full steam

The second major project, Menengai Geothermal Power Station, located some 180 km northwest of Nairobi, is another example of Kenya’s geothermal potential. With an estimated output of about 10,000 MW, it supplies 500,000 homes (including 70,000 in rural areas) and 300,000 businesses. Naturally, the plant benefits from its exceptional geographical location on the iconic Rift Valley, which runs for more than 6000 km through the country and into southern Africa.

As a result of the two projects, Kenya’s foremost energy source in the last two years has been geothermal. As of 2018, Menengai is the largest geothermal energy producer on the African continent and the ninth biggest worldwide. Since they became operational, both Turkana and Menengai have run at full capacity.

Once again, Bank financing was central to Menengai’s construction o-funded by the Bank – 96.5 million euros – the Climate Investment Funds hosted by the African Development Bank Group (19.3 million euros). Other partners included the French Agency for Development, (55.5 million euros), the European Investment Bank (29 million euros) and the Government of Kenya (190 million euros).

In March 2018, the government began a project to increase the capacity of Menengai Geothermal Power Station and at the same time decided to invest more in solar energy.

In June 2018, Kenya awarded a 20-year contract for the purchase of 40 megawatts annually from private electricity production company, Kenergy Renewables. The power plant, estimated to cost 60-70 million dollars, will be located in Laikipia, in northern Kenya, and will serve some 50,000 households. This represents another important step in the march towards universal access to electricity in Kenya.

Presently, renewable sources account for nearly 80% of Kenya’s energy supply.

Ethiopian President Dr. Mulatu Teshome, officially opened the sixth meeting of the Statistical Commission for Africa

Ethiopian President Dr. Mulatu Teshome, officially opened the sixth meeting of the Statistical Commission for Africa

Ethiopian President Dr. Mulatu Teshome, officially opened the sixth meeting of the Statistical Commission for Africa and the 13th Africa Symposium on Statistical Development (ASSD), jointly organized by the African Development Bank the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Statistics South Africa and the National Statistical Agency of Ethiopia.

About 400 delegates are attending the meetings, which are taking place in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Both events will focus on assessing the progress and challenges of ongoing population and housing census exercises undertaken within the region. Assessment of the 2020 population census comes against the background of a highly successful round of census taking undertaken by fifty African countries in 2010.

The main thrust of the meetings is to mobilize countries to maintain the momentum gained from the 2010 census round, and to discuss how to incorporate emerging technologies to reduce costs of census undertaking.

The meetings will also serve to discuss the need for economic statistics in decision-making and for informing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Countries are being mobilized to invest in timely surveys necessary for compiling reliable economic statistics to facilitate effective policy making.

In his opening remarks, President Teshome emphasized the importance of high quality statistics as a basis for the design and implementation of evidence-based policies at all levels.

Speaking on behalf of the Bank, Charles Lufumpa, Director of the Statistics Department, stressed its commitment to supporting statistical capacity development in Africa. He called upon African countries, regional organizations, development partners and the statistical community to strengthen their collaboration s in building statistical capacity across Africa.

Other speakers at the opening ceremony included the ASSD Chairman, the Statistician General of Statistics South Africa, Risenga Maluleke who narrated the origin of the ASSD, pointed out its centrality in the success of the 2010 population census round and called on African countries to maintain the momentum.

The Bank delegation is led by the Director of the Statistics Department, Charles Lufumpa, Manager of the Statistical Capacity Building Division, Ben Paul Mungyerez and , Manager of Economic and Social Statistics, Kouakou, Koua Louis.

African Development Bank promotes human capital and industrial development in Africa

Japan: African Development Bank promotes human capital and industrial development in Africa

Researchers and representatives of international agencies and embassies convened for a knowledge sharing event focusing on promoting industrialization and developing human capital in Africa. The African Development Bank organized the event on 26 September 2018 at the United Nations University in Tokyo.

In Asia, which has pursued a robust industrialization path, many countries have experiences to share with African countries, particularly regarding the quality of labor, Keijiro Otsuka, Professor at Kobe University, said during his keynote speech.

Otsuka recommended “Kaizen” – a collection of ideas and insights that many managers and workers have created and refined through observations and experiments carried out over several decades in Japan and other parts of the world.

“Learning from abroad is the essence of East Asian model of development,” the professor added.

About 60 participants attended the event, which was marked by lively participation in the panel discussion moderated by Tetsushi Sonobe, Professor and Vice President of National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. Also speaking at the event, Ndiyoi Muliwana Mutiti, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Zambia to Japan, encouraged Japanese Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises to do more business in Africa.

Yuko Yasunaga, the head of United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Tokyo, gave details of UNIDO’s activities to promote quality training for the business sector. Toru Homma, Senior Adviser of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), explained positive results and impact of JICA’s Kaizen projects to support over 1,000 SMEs in 8 countries.

“Coherent industrial policy is necessary for industrialization,” Tadashi Yokoyama, Head, Asia External Representation, said.

Masahiko Kiya, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, commended the holding of the event in his opening remarks.

The Bank’s Asia External Representation, established in 2012 in Tokyo, actively promotes Asia-Africa dialogues. The event was to promote knowledge sharing on Africa’s human capital and industrial development, Yokoyama said.

Africa has witnessed a recovery in commodity prices as well as economic and political transformation of several states. The average growth rates of African countries are projected to exceed that of the world average in the mid to long term, according to the Bank’s African Economic Outlook.

African Economic Conference (AEC) will hold its thirteenth edition from 3-5 December 2018 in Kigali Rwanda

African Economic Conference (AEC) will hold its thirteenth edition from 3-5 December 2018 in Kigali Rwanda

The African Economic Conference (AEC) will hold its thirteenth edition from 3-5 December 2018 in Kigali Rwanda, under the theme: Regional and Continental Integration for Africa’s Development.

The conference, which is held annually, convenes key development actors, academics, researchers, development partners, politicians and financiers. This year, Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Oxford University Blavatnik School of Government, will give the keynote speech.

Bank Director for Regional Integration, Moono Mupotola, said the meeting would build on the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) signed by 44 African nations in Kigali in March 2018.

“This, not only signified African unity but also the possibilities of what Africa could become from a developmental perspective. The possibilities of larger markets attracting investment, improvement in Africa’s productive capacity due to economies of scale and the possibilities of increased movement of goods, services and people across borders,” Mupotola highlighted.

This year’s meeting will focus, among others, on initiatives for accelerating progress in infrastructure integration, including the removal of barriers for movement of people goods and services across borders. Experts will share views, best practices and lessons on transforming regional institutions for more effective policy and institutional harmonization in the context of the new Africa Continental Free Trade Area, and other continent wide agendas including Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the global Agenda 2030.

The information, technology and digital revolutions are vital to transforming the way of doing business across the continent, thus the need for experts to examine how to better integrate public and private efforts to improve the environment for conducting business in Africa. The meeting will also examine way to reduce the cost of business and building viable value chains for agriculture, commodities and services.

“Our job as the African Development Bank is to make the AfCFTA a reality by helping our regional member countries implement the agreement. The Bank has already provided an initial grant of about US$5 million to support the Africa Union Commission in making the AfCFTA a reality,” Mupotola underscored.

The African Economic Conference is jointly organized by the African Development Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).