Carbon, a Nigerian digital financial services company, has expanded its operation to Kenya, to drive purposeful and responsible lending.
The company boasted that Kenyans would now access instant loans, using their National ID number and a selfie, as well as the phone number associated to their mobile wallet. It added that its users would also have access to pay utility bills and buy airtime.
“This expansion presents an opportunity to bring some learnings from other African successful fintech markets to Kenya. It also enables us to explore what has made the Kenyan financial services industry so successful and how this success can be replicated in other markets.
“Our vision is to be a Pan-African digital bank for Africans and Africans in the diaspora. Taking our services to Kenya represents the first step in realising that vision and truly delivering financial services that Africans at home and abroad need to thrive and excel,” said Chijioke Dozie, CEO and co-founder of Carbon.
Meanwhile, according to the Kenyan Central Bank, the country’s mobile payment sector is currently valued at $36 billion with the sector expected to reach a $125 billion valuation by 2025.
More than 60% of Kenyans are estimated to own a smartphone with more than one in four (27%) having taken a digital loan, making the country a top destination for fintech companies.
Carbon said it has 1.8 million users and has been providing economic units with access to credit, simple payments solutions, high-yield investment opportunities and easy-to-use tools for personal financial management since 2016. The company has reportedly disbursed more than $35.6 million in loans.
Carbon secured a $5 million debt facility from Lendable, a New York and Nairobi-based technology-enabled funding provider, in March 2019. The company, which was formerly known as PayLater before rebranding to Carbon, recently launched a new platform in a bid to empower start-ups.
Trade remedies needed for African free trade implementation – Tola Onayemi
Onayemi said Trade remedies would protect the market from getting flooded by subsidized goods of foreign companies.
Trade remedies to protect Nigerian producers from unfair and injurious trade practices from foreign companies that harm domestic industries are key factors for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
This was disclosed by Tola Onayemi, Head, Trade Remedies Unit National office for Trade Negotiations on Thursday at the AfCFTA Sensitization Seminar organized by the National Action Committee of the implementation of the agreement.
Mr. Onayemi said Trade remedies would protect the market from getting flooded by subsidized goods of foreign companies which would be sold below competitive prices for Nigerian producers. “Trade remedies is not protectionism, it’s protection against unfair trade practices,” he said.
He added that the remedies are policy tools used by governments to take remedial action against unfair trade practices by companies and countries which cause injury to domestic industries, after a rules-based investigation.
Onayemi cited WTO and AfCFTA Trade laws which make provisions for trade remedies in trade agreements. He cited Article 17,18,19 and 20 AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Goods and Annex 9 of the AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Goods and the CFTA Guidelines implementation of Trade Remedies in accordance with the relevant WTO agreement. He said the AfCFTA and WTO laws protect against Anti-dumping, which are only applied after a careful analysis has been taken by the host nation.
Before an application of a trade remedy policy tool can be investigated, there must be an existing legislation/regulation and an Investigating authority recognized by international organizations as the body responsible to investigate and recommend appropriate remedies for each unfair practice. If the investigation has been carried out, and there is proof of government subsidies on the product entering the host market, the difference in price is added at the border, before the goods enter the market.
He added that the key features of any Trade Remedy Mechanism include:
- Technical and Investigation based
- Independent of any Policy-making Arm
- Full Notification and Disclosures ( to WTO/AfCFTA, all Importers, Exporters, Home Countries of investigated importer).
On Nigeria’s Trade Remedy implementation policies, Onayemi mentioned a 3-month On-The-Job-Training for Country Trade Remedy experts held from April-June 2018, the Set-up and meetings of EMT committee on Trade Remedies in 2018, also in 2018 Approval of Nigerian Trade Remedies Infrastructure by EMT and Basic technology frameworks for Trade Remedies Investigation in December 2019.
Outstanding tasks include the Signing and Publication of Legal Framework of Nigerian trade remedies and the Deployment and launch of Trade Remedies Electronic Platform with integration by the Nigerian Customs, NBS and Finance.
Dangote Cement to extend clinker export to other African countries
Dangote is on course to sell more clinker across West Africa and commence shipment to Central Africa in H2 2020.
The Management of Africa’s largest cement producer, Dangote Cement Plc (DCP), disclosed during a virtual event yesterday, that the cement producer is set to commence clinker export to other African countries within the next few weeks.
The Acting Group CFO, Guillaume Moyen, made this known in his presentation at the joint virtual event with NSE, tagged “Facts Behind the Figures and Sustainability report’’ on Wednesday, 24th September, 2020.
Backstory: In its half-year report, the Management of Dangote disclosed that on 12 June 2020, the maiden shipment of 27.8Kt of clinker from Nigeria to Senegal left the Apapa Export Terminal.
The Management reiterated that the company is on course to sell more clinker across West Africa, and commence shipment to Central Africa in H2 2020. As it is in line with the Group’s vision of making West and Central Africa, cement and clinker independent, with Nigeria the main export hub.
The absence of limestone in much of West Africa, especially those in the coastal states, forces those countries to import bulk cement and clinker from Asia and Europe, and this is quite expensive.
However, Dangote Cement plans an ‘export–to–import’ strategy, positioning Nigeria as the main export hub of the continent, in a bid to serve West and Central Africa countries from Nigerian factories, making the region cement and clinker independent.
This is consistent with the Group’s vision of cementing Africa’s economic independence, as this would lead to lower clinker cost for pan-African operations, due to the proximity of Nigeria to these countries, as clinker landing cost will be cheaper.
The Management emphasized that this is possible, as Nigeria can serve a potential market of 15 countries, with over 350 million people, given the county’s relative abundance of quality limestone, especially in key Southern regions.
It is important to note that DCP’s clinker volume, according to figures contained in its H1 2020 results, has increased to 60Kt from 12kt in H1 2019, which translates to 400% increase.
The benefits of DCP’s export strategy
It is noteworthy that the innovative strategy of Dangote Cement Plc is expected to;
- Cement Africa’s economic independence, and contribute to the improvement of continental, regional, and intra-regional trade, as the company seeks to make regional and continental free trade agreement a reality.
- Ensure that the increase in production due to exports, leads to increase in capacity utilization in the Nigerian operation, and in turn, reduces fixed cost per tonnes.
- Increase foreign revenue exchange for the Nigerian operation, and offset foreign exchange risks.
- Reduce clinker landing cost, by leveraging on the proximity of Nigeria to other African countries.
Some of the benefits of our export strategy are Higher capacity utilization of our facilities; Ecowas benefits; Foreign exchange; and Lower clinker cost for Pan-Africa operations – @guillaumemoyen
#NSEhostsDangote https://t.co/TGd2N6JGZw pic.twitter.com/TvPGHunsb0
— The Nigerian Stock Exchange (@nsenigeria) September 23, 2020
Trade facilitations, key to AfCFTA implementation – Customs
The Customs boss said Nigerian exports have suffered setbacks relating to Rule of Origin issues.
Nigerian customs says the facilitation of trade requirements ranging from Pre-Arrival processes to Electronic Payments of duties would be important for the AfCFTA implementation for Nigeria.
This was disclosed by Abdullahi Babani of the Nigerian Customs Service represented by HJ Swomen (Comptroller Import and Export) on Thursday at the AfCFTA Sensitization Seminar organized by the National Action Committee of the implementation of the agreement.
Mr Swomen said the Customs is working to integrate systems with West African neighbours to prevent dumping of goods through Rules of Origin measures.
“Liberalization of 90% of tariff lines will affect customs revenues. About 85% of import come from outside Africa, leaving about 15% from the continent, but the agreement is an opportunity for Nigeria to boost exports and production,” he said.
He added that Nigerian exports have suffered setbacks relating to Rule of Origin issues and urged for a mutual exchange of data between Customs administrations in the continent.
He said that the Nigerian Customs has already begun cooperating with its counterparts like the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) and the Joint Committee on Commerce Agreement signed with Benin Republic in 2004.
However, challenges still exist in the form of engagements with the Beninese Customs on Cross Border Trade Facilitations including joint border posts, mutual escort of transit goods and the interconnection of systems of both parties, which is on-going.
On requirements need for Trade facilitation he said the Customs Service has upgraded its Pre-Arrival processing, Electronic Payment, Expedited release of perishable goods, provisional release of relief materials and Dispute resolution mechanisms.