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Egypt to establish 12 investment zones

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The General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI)

CAIRO – 8 November 2019: Egypt plans to establish 12 investment zones, creating 500 thousand direct and indirect jobs and attracting investments worth LE78 billion, Minister of Investments and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said Friday.

Nasr added while witnessing the signing of a protocol between the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) and the National Bank of Egypt that The protocol aims at boosting cooperation between GAFI and the National Bank of Egypt in developing the Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).

The protocol will introduce a package of services including finance, and consultancy.

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The Investment Ministry also plans to establish seven free zones, which are expected to create around 120 thousand jobs in Minya, South Sinai, New Ismailia, Aswan, Kafr el Sheikh and other places, the minister added. 

Egypt Today

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Autochek data reveals African millennials apply for car loans than other age groups

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Autochek Financial Services CEO, Johan van der Merwe

New insights from a sample of 55,000 car-related transactions on the Autochek platform has revealed that millennials are more likely to apply for car loans than any other age group, with 75 percent of applications, compared to 13 percent for Generation X, 11 percent for Generation Z and 1 percent for Baby Boomers.

The data, which covered transactions from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Uganda, and represents a subset of Autochek’s overall transaction volume, also suggests that millennials were the top purchasers of cars across the continent. In multiple markets, millennials were responsible for the most sales, with more than half of vehicles sold in some markets. Gen X was typically in second place in most markets, with Baby boomers and Gen Z following behind.

With increasing access to education, technology, and employment opportunities, many millennials in Africa are earning higher income, becoming increasingly financially stable and are seeking ways to improve their standard of living, including buying cars as a symbol of status and mobility.

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When it came to the choice of cars, Toyota was the top choice and led sales across the markets surveyed, except for Côte d’Ivoire where Suzuki was the top choice.  Despite Toyota being the preferred car, with 56 percent sales in Nigeria, 37 percent in Ghana, 46 percent in Kenya, 49 percent in Uganda, the data also shows that millennials were also purchasing luxury brands, such as Lexus and Mercedes Benz among others.

According to Johan van der Merwe, Chief Executive Officer of Autochek Financial Services, ‘The trend of millennials driving car sales and finance across Africa is expected to continue as this generation becomes more financially independent and the continent’s economy continues to grow. Our main focus at AFS is to improve institutional credit access for automotive transactions from the current average of 2% to 50% across Africa, and catalyse the benefits that come with improved mobility’.

Despite being a $45bn industry, Africa’s automotive market only has a 2% financing penetration rate, compared with the average of around 60-75 percent in emerging markets. At the same time, vehicle penetration is low, with 44 vehicles per 1,000 people in Africa, compared to the global average of 180.

Autochek is building the financial infrastructure to drive the penetration of auto financing across Africa, powered by a data analytics engine that makes it easier for financial institutions to offer credit to consumers. It has a partner-led retail footprint of more than 2,000 dealers and workshop locations across Africa, which enables unparalleled access to insights into vehicle-related transactions. The company recently launched Autochek Financial Services, new arm of the business that provides best in class technology and advisory solutions to car dealers, financial institutions and other stakeholders in Africa’s automotive ecosystem, supporting them to improve credit decisioning, collections, pricing, portfolio management and product development, as well as deliver an enhanced customer experience.

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iCE3X becomes first cryptocurrency exchange in South Africa to launch native token with Artificial Intelligence Coin (AIC)

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Gareth Grobler, Founder iCE3X

iCE3X has become the first cryptocurrency exchange in South Africa to launch native token in the form of Artificial Intelligence Coin (AIC) – a token developed by iCE3X, one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Africa and Nigeria. The token aims at reducing the cost of transactions on the platform provided the AIC token is used. AIC is an ERC-20 token created on the Ethereum blockchain.

Following in the footsteps of exchanges such as Binance with its BNB token, the AIC token by iCE3 is a cryptocurrency that allows users to pay for trading fees at a discounted rate on the exchange. Other exchanges worldwide who have native tokens include Huobi with its HT token, KuCoin with its KCS token , Bibox with its BIX token and OkEX with its OKB token. Although discounted trading fees is the first use case for AIC, there’s nothing stopping the token from expanding its utility to use cases such as earning in-game rewards for example, considering iCE3X developer team’s experience in creating software for the gaming industry.

Exchange token utility varies between platforms. Binance for example gives crypto projects discounts for paying their listing fees in BNB. iCE3X on the other hand has a different approach in that it does not charge token listing fees but rather has other governance mechanisms for determining which tokens to list on the exchange for example taking the more customer-centric approach of analysing which tokens are being requested by most users and other due diligence processes.

Exchange tokens are not the same as security tokens or even some other forms of utility tokens. There are potential benefits of owning exchange tokens but it is important for people to not view exchange tokens as an investment since they typically do not represent equity in the company. For example, simply owning AIC does not represent equity ownership of the iCE3X exchange. However, token holders can be included in exchange governance processes through being afforded rights to vote e.g. voting for which tokens are listed next on the exchange. Holding exchange tokens may allow users to pay for services offered within and outside of the iCE3X ecosystem. 

Revenues made by exchanges come mostly from trading fees. The bigger the volume traded, the more fees generated and the bigger the profit. Some people see the growing interest in cryptocurrencies as a sign that trusted and secure exchange platforms such as iCE3X will grow as more people get involved in the digital asset ecosystem. There is potential upward growth trajectory when crypto goes mainstream for exchanges with a proven track record  such as iCE3X which has a history dating back to the advent of crypto exchange service platforms such and is still the only Kaspersky security audited exchange in the world. 

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Google trends shows Nigeria and South Africa as the top countries in the world with the highest searches for terms such as Bitcoin and these are markets iCE3X has already been operating in for years. It’s not unreasonable to expect the cryptocurrency ecosystem to continue to grow and attract more people and with that more traders and larger volumes of digital asset trades taking place on platforms such as iCE3X. If this turns out to be the case, early adopters of exchange tokens such as AIC could potentially see the demand for such tokens rise as more and more people seek to get reduced fees on their trades.

Hypothetically, from a speculator’s perspective one could surmise that would create some direct correlation to the token price valuation in the future should that happen.

More people are starting to realise the potential opportunity of possessing a cryptocurrency exchange platform’s internal assets. Most exchange tokens can be seen as essential to crypto-infrastructure projects and the potential price rise in such tokens could be linked to several factors such as platform feature development which most exchanges are able to fund through these types of mechanisms. This promotes and enables continued internal development of the ecosystems of the native platforms which ultimately benefits the users.

As exchange tokens are made available on other exchanges some of the common use cases we typically see include transfer of value from exchange to exchange at almost no cost compared to sending other cryptos between exchanges since native token values have historically been less volatile than other cryptos. Essentially, one could argue exchange tokens have characteristics akin to stable coins in some cases.

Technically advanced exchanges such as iCE3X should have the capabilities of even integrating tokens like AIC in future payment mechanisms. It all comes down to the vision and roadmap of any one exchange but with founder Gareth Grobler consulting with the South African financial regulator since 2012 and the team at iCE3X working on making iCE3X one of the first licensed crypto-asset service provider (CASP) in Africa, the potential for further use cases to be tied to a native token like AIC is not unimaginable.

The team at iCE3X also includes COO, Eugene Etsebeth who was the inaugural Chairperson for the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group back in 2016 during his tenure at the South African Reserve Bank. It’d be interesting to see which product and service offerings from the various exchanges will be rolled out as the local ecosystem continues to grow. At the moment iCE3X seems to be leading the pack in terms of advanced platform features and security.

As we all look forward to seeing how the market shapes up as momentum in the cryptocurrency space continues, it is not far-fetched to imagine that some exchanges may soon follow in the footsteps of global market dominators such as Binance in terms of rolling out things like  ‘Exchange-as-a-Service’ features for developing decentralised finance applications or decentralised exchange (DEX) protocols.

If interested in earning regular dividends as passive income and holding crypto coins with real utility you can purchase some AIC tokens on the AIC-BTC pair on iCE3X. iCE3X exchange will mint a hard cap of 210 million Artificial Intelligence Coins. Currently the pre-sale offer on AIC tokens is live with up to 20% discount off the public sale price. Be one of the first 100 people to stake 10,000 AIC tokens and get zero % trading discount on all trades for the lifetime of your stake.

About the author: Heath Muchena is the founder of Proudly Associated which advises international blockchain companies developing technologies that have use cases focused on emerging economy development, particularly in Africa. He is the author of Blockchain Applied. He is also the brains behind Block Patrol – a technology adoption and business development startup that pushes the value of 4IR innovations upstream including Blockchain, AI, IoT, and Machine Learning to leverage new opportunities and foster growth.

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African Union approves Adesina Akinwumi for second term

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The Executive Council of the African Union has supported Dr. Akinwumi Adesina’s candidacy for a second term as President of the African Development Bank. 

The decision was taken during the thirty-sixth Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council, held during the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 6-7 February 2020.

Adesina was elected to his first term as President by the Bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meetings in Abidjan on 28 May 2015. He is the eighth President of the African Development Bank Group and the first Nigerian in the post.

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During his first term, the Bank’s shareholders approved a landmark $115 billion capital increase in late October. The increase in the capital base, from $93 billion to $208 billion, signaled strong support from the Board of Governors in the continent’s foremost financial institution.

Adesina is a renowned development economist who has held a number of high-profile international positions, including with the Rockefeller Foundation, and as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2011 to 2015.

The African Union Executive Council comprises 55 ministers of foreign affairs representing the member states of the African Union.

In December 2019, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) also endorsed Adesina for a second term as Bank chief. The election will again take place at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in May in Abidjan.

African Development Bank

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