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Home » Daily Briefing » Daily briefing - 10 December 2018

Daily briefing - 10 December 2018

Gisele Mwepu v3
Gisele Mwepu, chief executive of Okapi

The head of the bank of banks warned last week that with the amount of data held by internet and tech giants, they would be able to better gauge the creditworthiness of their customers compared to traditional banks. "Internet and 'big data' giants like Amazon and China's Alipay pose an existential threat to traditional banks, the head of the Bank for International Settlements, Agustín Carstens, said on Tuesday." However, with the tech giants facing their own particular sets of problems, a point acknowledged by Mr Carstens, who was until one year ago governor of the Central Bank of Mexico. "Each model is different, but what is universal is the exploitation of information," Carstens said. "Amazon doesn't have much of an open financial intermediation model, they don't have a financial arm like Alipay but there is nothing that prevents them from generating it."

Those who prefer to look to Elon Musk for mad ideas will know from Lafferty News that Mr Musk believes it is likely that we are living in a virtual reality simluation matrix. Now Bank of America has released a report suggesting there is a 20 to 50 percent chance this is true. Lafferty News will update this story once we've decided whether to take the red pill or the blue pill. Meanwhile, check out the story here.

In Africa news, Airtel will apply for one of the new Nigerian payment services licenses — having already applied for one of the first Payment Banks Licences in India. Africa's MTN has already announced that it intends to apply for a licence also, so it seems that there's an absolute rush at the moment to deliver new financial services in Africa, with telcos and others (see below) eyeing the huge market of Africans looking to pay bills and do other services via mobile phone. "The Federal Government had initiated a financial inclusion strategy that aims to reach 80 per cent of the adult population and achieve formal financial inclusion rate of 70 per cent of the adult population by 2020," reports Mobile Money Africa. "With a subscriber base of over 40 million customers and its retail footprint across major nooks and crannies of the country, Airtel said it intended to leverage its distribution to drive financial inclusion among the unbanked and financially excluded." Airtel Nigeria chief executive Mr Segun Ogunsanya welcome the CBN commitment to financial inclusion. "In line with the guidelines shared by the CBN, we have commenced the process of applying for a licence as we believe that we are at a vantage position to empower and connect more Nigerians as well as deliver mobile banking services to the doorsteps of the financially excluded. Folks will no longer need to keep their money inside cooking pots or under their beds because we will securely connect them to the financial system."

Ecobank already offers money transfers across 33 countries through its Xpress wallet, and it will now start adding services on top of that network in partnership with mobile wallet Okapi. The Okapi service, which was launched in 2017, is based in Sweden, and was founded by DRCongo native Gisele Mwepu. Okapi — with an excellent logo of OK above API and topped with an Okapi, is described (in a profile on Nordea's website, which partly funded the business) as a cross between Sweden's Swish service, a mobile app and a bank. The service launced initially in Kenya. "Ecobank Kenya managing director and regional executive for Central, Eastern and Southern Africa Sam Adjei said the partnership now enables them to offer financial services to more people where banks do not exist," reports Mobile Money Africa. "With African countries opening their borders for trade, payment solutions come in handy as they will enhance faster conclusion of commercial deals leading to increased intra-Africa trade."

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Nordea and Ecobank both scored three stars in the 2018 Lafferty Banking 500 research. The maximum score is five.

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