The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a guideline for including Sukuk (Islamic or non-interest financial instrument) issued by state governments as part of their liquidity ratio, including assigning it “a weight of 20 percent or as may be prescribed by the CBN from time to time.”
A circular with reference: FMD/DIR/GEN/CIR/07/006, dated October 6, 2016 to the General Public, noted that the guideline is part of efforts “to foster financial system and economic growth and development, as well as complement the efforts of government at various levels.”
The document titled: “Guidelines for Granting Liquid Asset Status to Sukuk Instruments Issued by State Governments”, signed by Dr. Angela Sere-Ejembi, for the CBN’s Director, Financial Markets Department, said the approval is “to enhance the diversification of sources of funding for development at the sub-national levels.”
To qualify for inclusion as a liquid asset on bank balance sheets, the “Sukuk issuance shall be backed by a law enacted by the relevant State House of Assembly, specifying that a sinking fund to be fully funded from the consolidated revenue fund account of the state be established.
Repayment structure of the Sukuk shall be from such sinking fund account created and backed by an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) obtained with approval of the state Assembly or other legislated sources of repayments disclosed in the offer documents.
Consequently, “the Accountant General of the State shall issue an Irrevocable Letter of Authority to deduct at source from the statutory allocation due to the state, approved by the Federal Minister of Finance, in the event of default by or failure of the state to meet its payment obligations.”
Also, “trustee(s) to the Sukuk shall submit to Director, FPRD, CBN every six months: (a) a statement of accounts of the sinking funds’ investments and (b) a statement of declaration on the sufficiency of the sinking funds’ investments and investment income in meeting maturing and redemption obligations.
“The Trustees shall advise the Director, FPRD, CBN on the action taken in the event that the Trustees are of the opinion that the sinking fund may be insufficient or there may be the likelihood of default, in line with Sections 255 and 256 of the Investment and Securities Act, 2007 or any amendment thereto.”
The guideline, the CBN explained, is part of efforts to further deepen the nation’s financial system and “to provide for eligibility for the grant of liquidity status to Sukuk issued by state governments at its discount window as well as for the purpose of liquidity ratio computation.”
It is also expected to further promote investment and secondary market activities.
The state government is also required to enact a fiscal responsibility law, with provisions for public debt management, in order to enhance investor confidence, in addition to establishing a debt management department that would ensure transparency and professional management of debt issues.
The Sukuk must from inception and throughout its lifespan, be of investment grade as determined by a rating agency accredited by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The commission must also confirm “that the proceeds have been disbursed in line with the provisions of the prospectus (that) shall be submitted to the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department (FPRD) of the CBN at the anniversary of the Sukuk issuance. Subsequently, SEC confirmation shall be required on amounts that have not been disbursed by the first anniversary.
The state government Sukuk shall have a maximum maturity of 10 years to qualify for liquid asset status.
The CBN also limited the maximum investment a bank shall make in any Sukuk issuance of a state government or its agencies to 10 per cent of the total amount outstanding of that particular Sukuk, while “aggregate portfolio of a bank in Sukuk issued by state governments and their agencies shall not exceed 30% of the bank’s total portfolio in debt securities.”
Debt securities, in this case, are listed as: “Nigerian Treasury Bills, FGN Bonds, FGN-guaranteed notes, sovereign debt notes, and any other Nigerian sovereign debt securities, CBN bills, bonds collateralised with FGN bonds, state government bonds, state government agency bonds, corporate bonds and dated preference shares.”
AI for Good Global Summit founder Stephen Ibaraki confirmed as AI Expo Africa 2021 keynote speaker
AI for Good Global Summit founder, Stephen Ibaraki (Source: AI Expo Africa)
AI for Good Global Summit founder, Chairman of the AI for Good Outreach Committee, industry analyst, venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur Stephen Ibaraki has been confirmed as a keynote speaker for AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE which takes place 7th to 9th September.
Ibaraki is the first VIP keynote speaker to be confirmed for AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE. In his keynote address, entitled, “5th Machine Age Driving Digital Reshaping” he intends to explore the “Society 5.0” and “Smart Humanity”.
Ibaraki who is a 16 time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award, most recently in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) category, is also the chairman and managing general partner of REDDS Capital. In addition to more than 300 awards and recognitions as well as over 300 global engagements impacting over $100-trillion in sustainable investments, Ibaraki is also a contributor for IT World Canada and Forbes on issues around AI.
Ibaraki’s keynote abstract states, “In popular stories about Chaos Theory, the wing beats of a butterfly in Geneva, are connected to the violent storms in your hometown in Africa. Global ecosystems, all interconnected thus force multiplied and amplified, are at an historical inflection point. These are founded on technology acceleration, with more disruption in 5 years, than the last 10,000 years. This Digital Reshaping will forever change governments, industry, academia, education, investments, startups, media, society, culture, our lives and our children’s future. What will the world look like, advanced by Smart Humanity, Society 5.0, 5th Machine Age, AI and innovation trends addressing global challenges and opportunities? What are the exponential change making innovations you must track, implement, and resources you must use to ensure success and not failure during these chaotic next five years?
Now entering it’s fourth successful year, AI Expo Africa is Africa’s largest B2B / B2G AI, RPA and 4IR smart tech trade event and conference, with the 2021 edition building to be the biggest yet with over 5000 delegates registering interest and expected to join the three-day online event.
Dr Nick Bradshaw, founder of AI Expo Africa and CEO of AI Media Group commented, “It’s a real honour to welcome Stephen as one of our VIP keynote speakers. We have been working with the ITU, Geneva since 2019 around partnering with the global AI4Good movement and the Africa region and this is another great commitment towards growing collaborations around AI4Good in our region. This announcement follows the recent conclusion of the first African focused ITU AI4Good Innovation Factory Challenge that received 44 applications from 12 African countries & 5 finalists using AI-powered innovation for diverse sectors in Africa covering Fintech, Agritech, Cleantech, and Insurtech.”
Over 30 organisations have so far signed up to exhibit at the expo. These include headline event partner Intel, Darktrace, Future Tech, Automation Anywhere partner 1ai, The Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa, InstaDeep, Aizatron, IBA Group, Zindi, Versus, Comparisure, Robotiq AI Africa, ecosystem Ai, Cognizance, Inspired Testing, Atura, Amathuba AI, COGO People Analytics, Elzware, WizzPass, Fliptin, Kosa AI, Learning Machines, Social Lab, Ashanti AI, and Curacel. In all about 80 speakers will make up the speaker list at AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE, with more keynotes set to be announced in the coming weeks.
Radisson Hotel Group renews partnership with SGS and continues global application of the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol
Radisson Hotel Group is proud to announce the extension of its partnership with SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity, and the continued global roll out of the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol to further strengthen Radisson Hotel Group’s existing rigorous sanitation, cleanliness and disinfection program across its portfolio around the world.
In 2020, Radisson Hotel Group worked closely with SGS to conduct a thorough review of all existing health and safety processes and worked with a team of experts to develop and validate the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol, a comprehensive series of 20-Step and 10-step protocols for hotels and for Meetings & Events. These enhanced protocols which include comprehensive health and safety procedures such as increased cleaning and disinfection especially in high touch point areas, sanitizing stations, team member personal protective equipment (PPE), physical distancing measures and hybrid solutions for meetings, improved air circulation, and strict food safety procedures, have all been validated by SGS, building on local requirements and recommendations to ensure guests’ safety and peace of mind from check-in to check-out. In addition, Radisson Hotel Group has adapted the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol specifically for Resorts, with attention to services like sports, spa facilities and kids’ clubs.
The Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol is an official cleanliness and disinfection label which can be used by hotels only after an in-depth centralized validation process has been conducted by SGS. In addition, selected hotels receive the additional SGS Disinfection monitored & Cleaning Checked label upon completion of a comprehensive local audit including on-site testing using the latest technology.
“At Radisson Hotel Group, the health and safety of our guests, team members and partners continue to be a top priority. The world has been fundamentally changed by COVID-19, so it is key that we continue innovating and striving to deliver a clean and safe environment to all who walk through our doors, stay in our hotels and conduct meetings in our properties. SGS has been a key partner to ensure our hotels are providing the best and latest health and safety measures, and we are proud to renew our partnership for a second year,” says Federico J. González, CEO, Radisson Hotel Group.
Frankie Ng, CEO of SGS, adds that: “Expert and documented validation by SGS of health, safety and prevention protocols related to COVID-19 has allowed the Tourism industry and Radisson Hotel Group to inspire trust and confidence to travelers around the world. The goal of our continued partnership is to ensure that the highest hygiene standards are met, and to protect guests as well as Radisson Hotel Group team members and partners.
As part of the Group’s ongoing commitment to the safe return of travel and to allow for a swift return to business, Radisson Hotel Group recently launched its new comprehensive testing program as the first hotel group to roll out a rapid testing service for meeting and event attendees at properties across their EMEA portfolio. In addition, hotels will be able to direct guests to an easily accessible and affordable PCR testing location. The comprehensive testing program for guests is groundbreaking in its coordinated approach across EMEA to reinstall confidence and peace of mind to travelers as the world returns to business by providing a safe environment and seamless testing facilitation.
Radisson Hotel Group continues play a key role in the development of the World Travel and Tourism (WTTC)’s “Safe Travels” and “Seamless Travel” health and safety protocols, a global framework and stamp for a safe return to business and to create consistency across the Travel and Tourism industry. The WTTC’s Safe Travels stamp is currently endorsed by over 200 destinations around the world.
MoneyHash Raises Six-Figure Pre-Seed to Build the Middle East and Africa’s First Payment and Fintech Super-API
MoneyHash Founders Nader Abdelrazik (CEO), Anisha Sekar (CPO), and Mustafa Eid (CTO)
MoneyHash, an Egyptian US-based fintech startup that uses a universal API and a unified checkout experience to help businesses consolidate and grow their payments and financial tech stack across Africa and the Middle East, closes a six-figure pre-seed round to launch its services across the region. The round was led by UAE’s venture capital firm COTU Ventures, with participation from the Ventures Platform, Kepple Africa Ventures, and angel investors.
MoneyHash was founded late 2020 by three co-founders: Nader Abdelrazik (Egyptian), Mustafa Eid (Egyptian), and Anisha Sekar (American). Combined, they have over 30 years of experience and worked for 11 startups, in addition to a portfolio of employers and education such as Microsoft, UpWork, NerdWallet, UC Berkeley, SigFig, and Brown University. The startup provides a unified checkout experience built on top of a secure Super-API that aggregates payment and fintech solutions through a single integration and a central dashboard consolidating technical infrastructure and centralizing data and operational reporting.
According to a company statement, MoneyHash is currently in a private beta with plans to go live soon in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. The startup aims to be fully operational across various countries in Africa and the Middle East by 2022.
“MEA is one of the fastest growing emerging markets with a rapidly evolving payment and fintech scene. As many companies in the region and abroad plans their expansion across the region, they are faced with a devastating technical and operational hassle: building a separate connection with each service provider while providing a unified experience for their customers. This results in a complicated tech stack wasting valuable resources with increased vulnerabilities to errors, fraud, and technical debt. MoneyHash’s technology abstracts the complexities of this fragmented market and allow businesses to scale and grow with a complete focus on their product, and without compromising security and efficiency,” said Nader Abdelrazik, co-founder and CEO of MoneyHash
“We are crafting a comprehensive revenue solution built for flexibility and scaling. With a unified checkout experience powered by a single API integration, businesses throughout MEA can instantly access the providers and products they need to grow. We increase speed to market and save weeks of effort upfront, and with a complete view of the revenue stack, we provide insights, automations, and smart routing to save time and money in the long term. Our mission is to build an efficient, secure, comprehensive solution that helps – rather than hinders – growing businesses.” said Anisha Sekar, co-founder and CPO of MoneyHash
“It’s rare to find such a well-rounded and complete team with deep domain experience and technical prowess so early in a company’s life. We’re very excited to back Nader, Anisha and Mustafa, as they look to tackle a problem that suits a fragmented region like the Middle East. The clarity with which they articulated their vision and strategy, and the chemistry we felt from the start, convinced us to support them in kick starting their plans to build a payments super API for the region and beyond. We are grateful they chose us as partners and are looking forward to what’s ahead.” said Amir Farha, Managing Partner of COTU Ventures
“We are excited to back the MoneyHash team. The team’s vision is compelling, and the product enables companies to scale their products and services across Africa and the Middle east with minimal friction. They are essentially powering the growth and expansion of startups and enterprise across the region.” said Kola Aina, Founding Partner of Ventures Platform