Naicom backs CAC in fight against money laundering

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

 

n the fight against money laundering in the country, the National Insurance Commission, Naicom has throw it’s full weight behind the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in making sure that beneficial Ownership Registrar, BOP will be made accessible to the public.

The Commissioner for Insurance and CEO of NAICOM , Mr Olorundare , Sunday Thomas during his courtesy visit to he Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC,, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, in Abuja.

Thimas said access to the CAC’s database, particularly its Beneficial Ownership Register (BOR) was fundamental to enriching its operations.

He emphasised that accessibility of the commission’s BOR database would also help in reaching its targeted goal.

The NAICOM boss, however, applauded the commission’s reforms and prayed for a stronger working relationship with the CAC.

While welcoming the Naicom team,, Abubakar said that since 2021 that the commission began the implementation of CAMA Act, 2020, it had made available details of Persons with Significant Control (PSC) in all newly registered companies.

Abubakar said it was challenging for the CAC to capture PSCs for all the nearly five million registered entities, as some of them were legacy companies. He assured that in the near future, the BOR would be a standalone register in open data format to provide access for the download of informatio

 

Insurtech funding drops by 57% in Q4 2022: Gallagher Re

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

Global insurtech investment declined by 57.0 percent to $1.01 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, when compared with the previous quarter

According a einsurance broker, Gallagher Re Global InsurTech Report, shows that means that insurtech funding is at its lowest quarterly point since Q1 2020.

The situation is worst in the property and casualty sector, where Q4 funding slumped by 64.4 percent to $630.16 million, while total Q4 investments in life and health fell by 33.7 percent to $383.76 million.

The performance drove annual total funding for 2022 down by 49.5 percent from 2021, to $7.98 billion.

Gallagher Re also reports that average deal size across 106 rounds declined 42.3 percent to $11.79 million and that insurtechs attracted $6.51 billion less in mega-round funding – a 66.7 percent year-on-year drop. The most significant feature of 2022 is that the narrative around ‘disruption’ seems to be truly over.”

The report shows that the top seven recipient countries for insurtech investment in 2022 were the US, the UK, Germany, France, India, Israel, and Australia, all of which topped $200 million, but US companies, at $4 billion, received 35% more investment than the next six countries combined.

While conditions were broadly challenging, analysts note that a small number of individual businesses did perform remarkably well, with Combinator recording the highest number of individual deal, at 17 rounds completed, followed by Gaingels and Anthemis with 12 deals each

“2022 has prompted an exodus of third-party capital providers, causing the sector to refocus on the real prize: wider adoption of appropriate technology to make the entire process of insurance more efficient, cost effective, and less complex leading to an improved customer experience,” Johnston explained.

In terms of total investment value, Greycroft topped Gallagher Re’s list, having invested $699 million over nine transactions during the year. Next is OMERS Ventures with $592 million recorded, including a share of Q4’s only mega-round, for Clearcover. And third was Allianz X, with $565 million across three deals.

AGCS appoints Jarrod Schlesinger as North American Head of Financial Lines

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) has announced the appointment of Jarrod Schlesinger as Regional Head of Financial Lines in North America.

Based in New York, Schlesinger will start his new role on February 13, 2023. He will be reporting to Bill Scaldaferri, President and CEO of AGCS North America, with a matrix reporting line to Vanessa Maxwell, Global Head of Financial Lines.

Schlesinger replaces Joseph Caruso who has left the company.

Commenting on Schlesinger’s appointment, Scaldaferri said: “Jarrod has a stellar track record in the Financial Lines arena and is well-respected for his product strategy and market knowledge critical to growing our portfolio in North America.

“I have no doubt he will be a phenomenal team leader, ready to take our business to the next level, particularly in the Large Corporate category.”

Schlesinger joins AGCS from Chubb where he most recently held the title of Chief Operating Officer, North American Financial Lines. In this role, he developed the division’s operational strategies in addition to leading the management liability business.

Prior to COO, he served in a variety of senior roles, including Executive Vice President within Financial Lines for Chubb for nearly 14 years.

Before Chubb, Schlesinger held leadership roles with AIG in New York and The Lexington Insurance Company where he managed the Lloyd’s of London Operation for AIG in the United Kingdom.

Cellulant, Money Q partner for Africans abroad to support families back home

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

 

Africa’s Leading Payments Solutions Provider has partnered with Dubai-based fintech solutions company to enable expatriates to seamlessly pay for bills and recharge airtime for their beneficiaries across Africa.

These customers will be able to make these payments through KrosPayz, Money Q’s Africa-wide digital payments platform that enables online payment for transactions and value-added services at the point of sale.

Mobile remittances present a unique opportunity for millions of people to access the formal financial system, bringing financial services and prospects for revenue generation closer to their communities. According to estimates, Sub-Saharan African remittances increased by 16.4% in 2021 but only by 5.2% in 2022.

The average cost of sending $200 over international borders remained high in the second quarter of 2022, at 6%. Mobile operators offer the best rates (3.5%), but less than 1% of transactions are made through digital channels. Remittance services are now much quicker and less expensive thanks to digital technologies.

The KrosPayz digital wallet, which is set to go live first in Malawi this April, will enable customers to pay for national and international utility bill payments, airtime recharge, execute their domestic fund transfers to individuals and companies, and also pay in the local markets for their purchases via QR code.

Remittances are the single largest source of foreign exchange for many developing economies, and they are stable and resilient in the face of economic downturns. They have been described as developing countries’ most stable, abundant, and secure sources of foreign aid.

This partnership reaffirms our commitment to enabling businesses, banks, and consumers to make fast and efficient payments across Africa. By leveraging Cellulant’s presence and partnerships on the continent, Money Q will be able to provide its services throughout Africa” stated Richard Gesimba, Cellulant’s Vice President of Global & Regional Merchants

Money Q’s goal is to ensure that no African should be deprived of using the digital channels on the continent.

Commenting on the partnership, Mr Amit Shrimali, Money Q’s Founder and CEO stated “I am very excited with this partnership as it helps me to go a step closer to the vision of Money Q which is to make sure that none in the countries, we operate are deprived of using the digital medium to transact.

The partnership between MoneyQ & Cellulant will indeed complement one another in growing the market share of both the companies in the African continent.

Liquid Intelligent Technologies, pacts with Nokia to connect Kenya, South Africa

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

 

Liquid Intelligent Technologies a business of Cassava Technologies, a pan-African technology group, today announced that it has partnered with Nokia.

Through this partnership, Liquid deployed Nokia’s innovative transport network technology in the new terrestrial fibre route connecting Mombasa (Kenya) to Johannesburg (South Africa).

This announcement comes in light of the imminent launch of the new terrestrial data superhighway built by Liquid, connecting Kenya and South Africa. The technology used has allowed Liquid to build its first terrestrial route that will provide 12 terabits of capacity for carriers and service providers in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the DRC.

The route, which measures 16,576 km, has been designed to cater to the demand for more capacity from Liquid’s hyperscale customers.

The, Group President and CEO of Cassava Technologies, Hardy Pemhiwa, says “As a business of Cassava Technologies, Liquid is committed to enabling a digitally connected future for every business and individual in Africa. We are proud to partner with Nokia as we expand our high speed fibre backbone on the continent. This investment further demonstrates our commitment towards Africa’s inclusive digital transformation”.

In addition, the route will provide thousands of businesses and millions of households in many of Africa’s landlocked cities, towns and villages with more resilient connectivity and access to numerous data centres and cloud resources. At the same time, providing an alternative option in case of a subsea cable outage between the two countries.

Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of Central East and West Africa (CEWA) Market Unit at Nokia, said, “Nokia’s next-generation optical network will enable Liquid Intelligent Technologies to maintain its leadership position and emerge as a preferred partner of organizations requiring massive capacity. We are delighted that our technology and expertise will help Liquid Intelligent Technologies provide the best-in-class digital infrastructure to Africa’s enterprises and will play a role in strengthening the digital infrastructure of the continent”.

Shahzad Manzoor Khan, Group Chief Technology Officer, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, adds,

“Internet giants, established cloud service providers and other mega-organisations are demanding hyperscale data centres that can support high levels of performance, spikes in demand, and redundancy while enabling massive availability. Our new terrestrial fibre corridor is the first of its kind in Africa in terms of distance and capacity”.

The new route is a validation for existing and potential customers that Liquid continues to deliver intelligent networks that provide increased redundancy and resilience

AfDB raises $1m technical grant for GMFA to Nigeria, 6 other countries

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) of the African Development Bank Group will provide a $1 million technical assistance grant to the Green Mobility Facility for Africa (GMFA).to Nigeria, 6 other countries.

GMFA provides technical assistance and investment capital to accelerate and expand private sector investments in sustainable transport solutions in seven countries: Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and South Africa.

The SEFA grant will support the creation of an enabling environment for Electric vehicles (EVs), the design of EV business models and guidelines for the public and private sector, the development of a bankable pipeline of e-mobility projects, regional coordination, and knowledge sharing amongst other upstream activities to help catalyse follow-on private sector financing during the subsequent investment phase of the GMFA.

“Mobility is a fundamental lifeline that connects people to critical services, jobs, education, and opportunities,” said Nnenna Nwabufo the Director-General of the Bank’s East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office. “The African Development Bank is committed to building a sustainable and more climate-resilient future by catalysing private investment in low-carbon solutions.

We believe GMFA will have a tremendous impact on the African market by accelerating the shift to green mobility, reducing over 2,175,000 carbon dioxide equivalent tons of greenhouse gas emissions and facilitating the creation of 19,000 full-time jobs.”

Mobility is a fundamental lifeline that connects people to critical services, jobs, education, and opportunities,” said Nnenna Nwabufo the Director-General of the Bank’s East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office. “The African Development Bank is committed to building a sustainable and more climate-resilient future by catalysing private investment in low-carbon solutions. We believe GMFA will have a tremendous impact on the African market by accelerating the shift to green mobility, reducing over 2,175,000 carbon dioxide equivalent tons of greenhouse gas emissions and facilitating the creation of 19,000 full-time jobs.”

“Future demand for mobility solutions and vehicle ownership is expected to increase with rapid urbanisation, population growth, and economic development. We are delighted to receive this support from AfDB.

We see this as a vote of confidence in our efforts to shift to e-mobility solutions and advance Rwanda’s transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board. Rwanda is one of seven pilot countries for GMFA.

Ecobank wins Best Place to work in Africa 2022 Award

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

 

Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African bank, has won the highly coveted Best Place to Work in Africa 2022 Award from the Best Place to Work organisation.

The Award honours organisations that exhibit the highest standards of excellence in Human Resources (HR) practices and employees’ experience. Ecobank is the first Pan-African bank to have been awarded the certification.

The Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Group, Ade Ayeyemi said: “At Ecobank, we recognise that our people are our greatest asset. As a pan-African bank, we are intentional in deploying resources to attract, develop and retain the right talent. We actively provide the tools and processes to achieve a performance-driven culture and enabling environment.

Receiving international recognition as being one of the Best Places to Work in Africa is a great honour. It is noteworthy that this Award would not have been possible without the support of my colleague Ecobankers.”

The certification programme involves rigorous assessment and rankings based on the results of robust and objective assessments carried out at various hierarchical levels and across HR operations and procedures.

It includes HR Assessment and an Employee Assessment Survey. Areas covered include HR practices, compensation, benefits, leadership, teamwork, employee engagement and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The Group Executive, Human Resources at Ecobank, Yves Mayilamene commented: “We support and empower our talent to excel in an enabling and conducive working environment while investing in their growth and wellbeing. At Ecobank, we always seek to provide our staff with opportunities to advance and achieve their full potential through our learning and development initiatives.

This Best Place to Work Award is a tribute to our Ecobankers’ commitment to exhibiting and living our values, as well as creating the right corporate culture.”
The assessment process resulted in the Ecobank Group achieving a total certification score of 79% any percentage above 75% is considered high. The certification of the Best Place to Work accreditation is for one year (November 2022-November 2023).

Best Places to Work certified organisations tend to outperform the market average in terms of driving consistent long-term business performance through high employee engagement, engaging leadership and talent focus. Becoming a certified organisation means employees are inspired, engaged and motivated to do their best, everyday and everywhere.

During the celebration event, Peter Burke, President of Best Companies Group, extended his heartful congratulations to Ecobank by emphasising on the uniqueness of this Award that strengthens the Ecobank Employer Brand. He added:” You are being recognised for creating workplaces where your employees love to come to work. You are the envy of all other employers. Keep up the good work.”

The Best Places to Work certification is a globally recognised flagship employer of choice programme and is delivered in partnership with Best Companies Group. The Best Company Group is a well-established US company focused on identifying and recognising best employers in over 60 countries around the world.

In Africa, there were 29 Best Places to Work organisations recognised in 2022. These include Alsa, eHealth Africa, Hilti, IHS, Ooredoo and Pharma 5. Some global companies with operations in Africa – such as AstraZeneca, Dell, Nestlé and Roche – were also among the winners.

The Best Place to Work in Africa Award followed another significant recognition for Ecobank as the Best Employer Brand in Africa, from the Africa Best Employer Brand Awards 2022. It honours the top organisations in Africa who are exemplary in HR.

The judges for this Award considered business progress based on public available information and many aspects of People/HR strategies including Talent Management and Development; Diversity and Inclusion; Women Empowerment; Promoting and Managing Health in the workplace; and CSR Initiatives.

Natural catastrophe losses hit US$140bn 

By Favour Nnabugwu
 
The insurance industry sustained US$140bn in losses due to natural catastrophes in 2022, according to a report from reinsurance broker Gallagher Re.
A host of deadly weather events, many directly linked to climate change, took their toll on the globe last year, generating an estimated US$360bn in economic losses and a bill of US$125bn for private insurers. Public insurance entities covered losses of US$15bn.
Such substantial payouts, coupled with heavy losses arising from the war in Ukraine and supply chain disruption, have increased costs for both primary insurers and reinsurers, leading to reinsurance capacity shrinking at the January 1 renewals.
The report says that although insurers were largely able to secure the policy limits they wanted, “it came at a price”, as reinsurers sought to increase retentions and restructure programmes to make sure they remained profitable.
The availability of capacity has not only been problematic for property catastrophe cover: other lines, particularly those affected by Russia’s war with Ukraine such as political violence and political risk, have also seen reinsurance capacity dwindle and rates increase.
The effects of the war on the insurance sector were seen recently when protection and indemnity clubs withdrew fixed premium cover for war risk exposure in Russia and Ukraine, after failing to secure sufficient reinsurance capacity.
Inflation and supply chain disruption have also served to increase the costs overall, Gallagher Re notes. An increased cost of capital drove “one of the hardest contract renewal cycles” characterised by expensive and high-volume claims payouts – in years, with policyholders also facing revised prices.
In its annual January market report, broker Howden says that geopolitical and macroeconomic shocks combined with Hurricane Ian have injected “significant volatility into the market”.
Head of analytics at Howden, David Flandro says the reinsurance sector “is experiencing sustained, heightened loss activity and war risk just as the global economy exits the ‘great moderation’ of interest rates and asset price volatility”, leading to higher rates, decreased capacity and more stringent terms and conditions.
Despite this, Gallagher Re says there is “there is consensus that more capital will flow into the market in 2023 and beyond”.
“Even in the dying embers of 2022, companies were able to bring new capital to the property reinsurance market, and others were able to successfully complete equity raises,” the broker says.
The report also highlights the need to mitigate risks posed by climate change, as 2022 marks the fifth year since 2017 that natural catastrophe losses have exceeded US$100bn for insurers.
“The financial cost of natural hazards continues to increase, and we are further recognising that a consistently high global protection gap 61% in 2022  means that much more opportunity exists to help people prepare before and after a disaster occurs,” says Steve Bowen, Gallagher Re’s chief science officer.
Bowen adds that the “fingerprints of climate change were visible on virtually every major weather and climate event in 2022, once again highlighting the urgency to implement proper planning and investment strategies that will limit the risk to life and property”.
Hurricane Ian became the second-costliest US hurricane on record for insurers, resulting in insured losses of US$55bn and an overall economic loss of US$112bn. The US also experienced record drought, which cost insurers US$9bn.
Other extreme weather events in 2022 include flooding in Pakistan, which affected millions and generated physical damage losses of almost US$15bn, while Australia, Nigeria and South Africa were also hit with heavy insurance losses following severe flooding.
PFAs plan massive investment in infrastructure this uear

By Favour Nnabugwu
Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs have laid up plans to invest heavily in  infrastructure.
The Chief Executive Officer, Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), Oguche Agudah made this known in a webinar, said that PFAs have keyed in to invest in infrastructure.
Agudah said thst 42 per cent of the PFAs indicated that they were actively looking for investments in infrastructure while another 50 per cent said they would also consider investments along that line of business in the current year.
The event, which attracted frontline economists was with the theme: “The Nigerian Economic and an Investment Outlook: A focus on Pension Fund Investment Strategies” and organised by PenOp have mapped out plans to do that.
Oguche, however, said: “Although fund managers are cautious about private equity, they will consider on a deal by deal basis. Twenty five per cent of fund managers polled are actively looking to invest in private equity while 67 per cent say they will consider it.
“Fund managers are looking to invest in impact focused funds but transparency and structure are key.”
Speaking on various dealings in equities and securities, he said there was reduction in engagement with equities in the out gone year from 7.73 per cent in 2021 to 6.79 per cent in 2022.
Government securities as share of portfolio declined by 118 basis points to 65.44 per cent, while there was reduction in interaction with money market securities which declined by 1.92 per cent.
On her part, Chief Economist at Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Mrs. Rita Babihuga-Nsanze, outlined a number of steps the incoming government must take to put the economy on the right path, suggesting that oil subsidy policy must be halted.
Nsanze said the incoming government must address security in oil sector corridor, address subsidy regime and enthrone the expected reform in forex market.
She regretted that despite the high high international oil price, it failed to translate into foreign reserves accumulation for Nigeria, adding that the foreign exchange reserves fell by $3.5 billion or eight per cent between January and December 2022.
“The FGN earned no revenues from the sale of crude oil despite the windfall crude oil prices recorded in 2022 owing to the subsidy payments.
Government interest payments as a share of revenue have more than doubled from 19.7 per cent in 2018 to the current 48 per cent.
“Low amortisation requirements for 2023 and 2024 offer Nigeria some breathing space on the external front.
“But given that the majority of Nigeria’s external debt is multilateral based lending (47% of total stock) we do not foresee high levels of debt stress from its Eurobond repayments in the near
term.
“Eurobond markets, however, remain inaccessible to Nigeria for its financing needs given its current sovereign spreads and credit rating.”
She posited that improving current account position provided some relief with respect to near term external financing needs.
The economist, however, cautioned that without the necessary structural reforms, the current forex  liquidity pressure would persist in 2023 and potentially in 2024 on the back of increasing downward pressure on foreign reserves.
Customs generates N2.6trn in 2022

By Favour Nnabugwu 

 

 

 

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generated a whopping sum of N2.6 trillion revenue in 2022.

The Comptroller-General (C-G) of the NCS Col Hameed Ali (rtd) disclosed this at a press conference in -Abuja, yesterday.

“The figure fell below the N3.01 trillion target for the year by about N400 billion, due to several factors, including the insecurity at the borders, especially in parts of the North where terrorists were active.

Other factors that negatively affected the revenue were: fiscal policies that granted waivers and concessions to several businesses.

Col. Ali added that the NCS has not been able to start the collection of tax on carbonated drinks, which should have raised the total collection.

He said that parts of Borno and the entire stretch from Yobe to Mubi was largely without, in addition to parts of Kastina where NCS posts were often attached.

In the South, Col. Ali identified Idiroko in Ogun State as a major insecure area for the organization, as according to him, the border town has witnessed a lot of attacks on its personnel, especially, in their anti-smuggling operations.

According to the CG, “Insecurity and fragility at the borders affect our operations.  Without security, we cannot facilitate trade; there won’t be free movement of goods and that will affect government revenue.”

Speaking on the need for customs staff to be well equipped, Col Ali said, “We encounter smugglers who are armed and dangerous.  We cannot work without being equipped to protect ourselves and the equipment we are using for our operations.”

He revealed that the organization was working hard to incorporate technology in monitoring the nation’s borders in order to keep smugglers in check and facilitate the movement of goods across the borders.

The Secretary –General (S-G) of the World Customs Organisation, Dr Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization (WCO), said that member nations needed to secure their borders in order to guarantee customs officers’ security and a conducive environment for trade facilitation and revenue generation.

He advocated harmonized border procedures among African nations to be able to take maximum advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

The S-G commended Nigeria for hosting the Global Conference on Fragile Borders which took place from 31 January to 2 February 2023.

It brought together more than 100 representatives of Customs administrations from over 40 countries to discuss the role of their administrations in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS) and the way in which the WCO could support its Members in shaping their strategies and response to the complex environments.