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Flutterwave – Nigerian payments startup raises $170m, now valued at over $1bn

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FlutterwaveNigerian payments startup, has closed a whooping sum of One Hundred and Seventy Million Dollars ($170m) Series C funding round, the largest amount ever secured by an African tech startup and one that gives it a “unicorn” status with a value of over One Billion ($1bn) Dollars.

As reported also, by various online tech platforms, including Tech Crunch and Disrupt Africa, Flutterwave is one of several fintech groups aiming to facilitate and capitalise on a booming African payments market driven by increased mobile phone use and faster internet speeds.

Launched in 2016 and  headquartered in San Francisco, Flutterwave builds modern payments technology and infrastructure for Africa to enable people and businesses to connect with the global economy.

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Flutterwave has an active presence in 11 African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa, and at the time of its Series B just over one year ago had processed 100 million transactions valued at over $5.4bn for global leaders including Uber and Booking.com.

The funding is for expansion into new markets.

“Its solution enables banks and merchants to replace multiple payment integrations with one simple API, which enables processing of any form of payment anywhere in Africa,” Disrupt Africa reports.

The startup is one of Africa’s most-backed, raising $10m in Series A funding in August 2017, an extension round in 2018, and a $35m Series B in January of last year.

It has now added to that funding with a record-breaking Series C round worth $170m, which takes the value of the company to over $1bn.

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Speaking with news outlets, Flutterwave’s CEO and co-founder Olugbenga Agboola, said, “We may consider the possibility of listing in New York or a possible dual listing in New York and Nigeria.”

US-based investment firms Avenir Growth Capital and Tiger Global led the round, which also includes new and existing investors, including DST Global, Early Capital Berrywood, Green Visor Capital, Greycroft Capital, Insight Ventures, PayPal, Salesforce Ventures, Tiger Management, and WorldpayFIS and 9yards Capital.

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Buhari sends delegation to Ghana over Nigerian traders’ plight

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has directed that a ministerial delegation be sent to Ghana to resolve the prolonged conflict between Nigerian traders and Ghanaian authorities.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, disclosed this on Monday.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ifedayo Sayo, the minister spoke at a meeting.

The statement was titled, ‘FG delegation to visit Ghana over Nigerian traders’ conflict with Ghanaian counterparts.’

“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that a ministerial delegation be sent to Ghana to resolve the lingering conflict between Nigerian traders and Ghanaian authorities,” the minister was quoted as saying.

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Adebayo, who said he would be leading the delegation, added that members of the delegation “will also engage in further dialogue with Ghanaian authorities with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.”

He disclosed that the delegation is expected to embark on the visit between May 31 and June 1, 2021.

Other member of the delegation include the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo; the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Yewande Sadiku; Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and the President of National Association of Nigerian Traders, Dr Ken Ukaoha.

There has been lingering controversy over $1 million levy imposed on Nigerian traders and foreign investors by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.

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Board Dissolution: FBN Shares Drop By 6.75%

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Board Dissolution: FBN Shares Drop By 6.75%

The share price of FBN Holdings (FBNH) Plc on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) in two days dropped by 6.75 per cent following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) dissolution company’s board.

The share price of the holding company depreciated on Wednesday closed at N7.4 but dropped to N6.90 on Friday, according to the daily market report by NGX.

The share price drop of fall 6.76 per cent on Thursday is the highest drop since December 10, as the bank faced a stringent regulatory action by the apex bank.

Meanwhile, the domestic equities market closed transactions for the week on a positive note to extend the previous day’s positive sentiment, as NGX-All- Share Index (ASI) grew by 0.95 per cent and investors’ wealth rose by N195 billion.

The Central Bank of Nigeria Limited (CBN) reconstituted the Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited.

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On April 29, 2021, the Boards of FBN Holdings Plc and First Bank of Nigeria Limited were dissolved and reconstituted, pursuant to its power under Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020.

The Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited is now comprised as follows: Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale as Chairman; Tokunbo Martins; Uche Nwokedi; Adekunle Sonola; Ms. Isioma Ogodazi; Mr. Ebenezer Olufowose; Mr. Ishaya Elijah B. Dodo; Dr. Adesola Adeduntan as the managing director/ chief executive officer; Mr. Gbenga Shobo, deputy managing director; Dr. Remi Oni, executive director and Mr. Abdullahi Ibrahim, Executive Director.

The Bank said that Adeduntan has since resumed work as CEO in line with the directives of the CBN, saying “We can confirm that the Bank is co-operating with the Central Bank of Nigeria and other regulators while the operations of the Bank are not hampered or hindered in any way and are in fact running smoothly.

“We further wish to reassure the public, customers and stakeholders in the words of the Governor of the Central Bank in concluding his press conference, of its commitment to ensuring the stability of the financial system.

“There is therefore no cause for panic amongst the banking public, given that the actions being taken are meant to strengthen the Bank and position it as a banking industry giant.”

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Speaking on the issue, CEO of Greenville Capital Limited, Azeez Bello said that the timely intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria in the corporate governance issues within FBNH is quite commendable apparently because it is a systemically important bank.

According to Bello, investors appear to be satisfied with the apex banking regulators swift resolution hence the share price of FBNH was flat at N6.90 at the end of the today’s trading session, April 30, 2021.

“However , it is highly expedient that the CBN work closely with the Financial Reporting Council in the institutionalisation of sound corporate governance practices in our banking institutions.”

Also, the managing director, Highcap Securities Limited, Mr. David Adnori stated that the decline in share price of the Holdco is directly linked to the CBN action.

According to him, what happened with the FBN Holdco shares has to do with price sensitive development and it has taken a toll on devaluation of price because investor’s confidence has really shaken with the CBN revelation.

“In addition to what CBN has done with the removal of Mr. Oba Otudeko, the bank will then need to implement series of decision to restore investors and customers deposits confidence going forward.”

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 125 years.

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COVID-19 resurgence, threat to oil demand recovery – OPEC

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The resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in many countries is posing a threat to economic and oil demand recovery, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has said.

It disclosed this at the 16th OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting of the Declaration of Cooperation, which took place via teleconference on Tuesday.

In a document on some of the deliberations at the meeting, the organisation stated that participants highlighted the continuing recovery in the global economy, supported by unprecedented levels of monetary and fiscal support.

They noted that the recovery was expected to pick up in the second half of the year, but observed that the resurgence of COVID-19 across the globe could hamper economic and oil demand recovery.

OPEC said, “The ministerial meeting emphasised, however, that COVID-19 cases are rising in a number of countries, despite the ongoing vaccination campaigns, and that the resurgence could hamper the economic and oil demand recovery.”

The meeting also emphasised the ongoing positive contributions of the Declaration of Cooperation in supporting a rebalancing of the global oil market.

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This, according to the organisation, was in line with the historic decisions taken at the 10th (Extraordinary) OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting on April 12, 2020 to adjust downwards overall crude oil production, and subsequent decisions.

The meeting further reviewed the monthly report prepared by the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, including the crude oil production data for March 2021.

Participants welcomed the positive performance of the participating countries, as they noted that overall conformity to the production adjustments was 115 per cent in March 2021, reinforcing the trend of high conformity by the nations.

OPEC said the meeting expressed its appreciation to the participating countries that performed beyond expectation in March 2021, with total over-conformed volumes of 1.23 million barrels per day.

It, however, noted that some participating countries had yet to achieve the minimum expectation of 100 per cent conformity and to compensate for overproduced volumes.

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