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Microfinance Development Company to launch Liquidity Management Platform

The event will focus on liquidity management, risk asset creation and other macroeconomic challenges faced by the microfinance industry.

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The Microfinance Industry in Nigeria is set to experience a major breakthrough in its operations, as the Microfinance Development Company Ltd (MDCL), plans to launch its Intermember Liquidity Placement Platform (ILPP) during a high-level business forum for key stakeholders in the microfinance industry. The event, which is being organised by MDCL, will hold on March 31, 2021 at Sheraton Hotel, Lagos, and will play host to Managing Directors of Microfinance Banks and key decision makers in the banking, technology, SME and financial services industries.

Rightly themed, “The 21st Century MFB: Leveraging Technology to Drive Financial Inclusion in the MFB Industry”, the event will focus on liquidity management, risk asset creation and other macroeconomic challenges faced by the microfinance industry, with a view to proffering viable solutions to them.

The Keynote Speaker at the event is Lawrence Amadi, a Technology Advisory Partner at KPMG. He will be joined by other seasoned captains of industry and thought leaders drawn from different business verticals. Some of them include the Chief Executive Officer of MDCL, Obinna Onunkwo; Managing Director of InfoWARE Ltd, Uwa Agbonile; the Chief Executive Officer of Appzone Ltd, Obi Emetarom; the Managing Partner of Bloomfield Law Practice, Doyin Afun; and the Managing Director/CEO of Law Union and Rock, Ademayowa Adeduro.

Speaking about the upcoming event, the Chairman of MDCL and Founder of Hasal Microfinance Bank, Rogers Nwoke stated, “the Microfinance Banks (MFBs) are critical to Nigeria’s financial inclusion goals, particularly because of their role in providing financial services to the underserved segments of the Nigerian economy. However, the industry witnessed a high failure rate in the past, owing largely to issues of poor corporate governance, weak liquidity position, high cost of funds and the harsh realities of the Nigerian business environment, among other factors. This event has been put together to address one of those critical factors, which is the challenge of liquidity.”

He further noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has deployed measures to strengthen corporate governance and enhance sustainability, going by the revision of minimum capital requirements for microfinance banks. MDCL is complementing the effort of CBN by providing credit facilities, liquidity management and also strengthening compliance with statutory requirements by the beneficiary MFBs.

MDCL CEO, Obinna Onunkwo

When asked about the Intermember Liquidity Placement Platform (ILPP) which the company is launching on the day of the event, the Chief Executive Officer of MDCL and Managing Director of PurpleMoney Microfinance Bank, Obinna Onunkwo said, “as a company, we have successfully developed an online trading platform for use by microfinance banks registered in Nigeria, to securely place liquidity among themselves. This is in line with our objective of facilitating funding for microfinance banks to provide affordable loans to MSMEs and the financially excluded population. We have also created a Digital Lending platform for Microloans under the Shared Services initiative for the industry, and it will be formally introduced to the public at the event. Our goal is to assist the MFBs address the challenges of short-term liquidity, thereby allowing them to grow in a sustainable manner.”

A very notable figure in the Microfinance Industry and Founder of LAPO Microfinance Bank, Dr Godwin Ehigiamusoe, made a strong argument in favour of the platform. According to him, “deposit mobilization is very critical to the success of MFBs. Sadly, the industry does not enjoy the same benefit of interbank liquidity trading which commercial banks have access to via the Scripless Securities Settlement System (S4) trading platform, under the auspices of CBN. That arrangement allows banks to access trade of overnight and other short-term instruments to meet daily cash obligations. The MFBs need a similar arrangement to meet their cash obligations, but that has been non-existent till this moment. I am happy that MDCL has decided to find a solution to this perennial challenge.”

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The event is being organised in partnership with technology giant, InfoWARE Limited, a company that is ultimately committed to empowering the financial ecosystem across Africa with real-time market data and powerful software solutions. Other partners include Appzone Limited, a renowned pan-African software solutions company; Law Union and Rock Insurance Ltd, the insurance company of choice in Nigeria; Bloomfield Law Practice, a foremost full-service law firm; and Stanbic IBTC Bank.

SSKOHN

Incorporated in 2019, Microfinance Development Company Limited (MDCL) is a private-sector led Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) conceived by the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB) to primarily address the problems of liquidity and capacity in the microfinance industry. The company sources, manages and disburses funds to MFBs in order to build sustainable institutions that would fulfil their collective social mandate of lending to the active poor and micro/small enterprises. In addition, it also provides capacity-building support to the beneficiary institutions.

You can learn more about MDCL here: https://mdcng.com/

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Spacefinish is redesigning the future of training academies for banks 

In designing the Purple Academy, Spacefinish infused copious inspiration touchpoints.

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Training academies are an important part of the corporate world. These academies provide access to a rich pool of talent and also equip professionals with the necessary resources to transition into various careers and build their professional networks.

In Nigeria, commercial banks have a considerably high number of training academies. In fact, out of the 22 registered commercial banks in the country, 17 have accredited academies. As the demands for better career experience increase, banks are beginning to focus on the learning experience of their people by investing in learning spaces that provide students and instructors with what they want and expect. A very good example of this is Wema Bank’s Purple Academy designed by Spacefinish.

For a long time, banks’ training institutes have typically functioned around rigidity. From their spatial architecture, learning modes, to furnishings, these spaces hardly allow for flexibility which is a core requirement for the learning space of the future. 

In designing the Purple Academy, Spacefinish set out to create a state-of-the-art corporate learning space that is future relevant and user-centred by focusing on the following shifts:

A Flexible Space That Supports Active Learning

Recent research has shown that learning spaces that are flexible enough to allow users learn how, where and when they want will deliver more impact to professionals. By introducing elements like dynamic modular furniture into the design of the Purple Academy, Spacefinish ensures that users can enjoy endless configuration that accommodate peer-to-peer collaboration or focus work as their various learning situations demands.

Multi-functionality and Blended Learning

Corporate institutions need to reimagine their learning space to allow for blended learning which allows for physical and online learning experiences to take place at the same time. This will produce improved outcomes in the experience of students. The Purple Academy boasts of audio visual features like screens on the wall and ceiling mounted microphones to optimize the experience for remote learners. Also, the lecture theatre spots a collapsible wall that not only inspires users but also enhances the multi-functionality of the space. 

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Engendering Innovation Through Inspiration

Students and instructors want to be a part of something creative and inspiring. However, traditional learning space comes with a lot of inhibition in this regard by being bland and uninspiring. In designing the Purple Academy, Spacefinish infused copious inspiration touchpoints. The library in the Purple Academy reflects the influence of technology on libraries. To portray this, Spacefinish installed tablet-like bookshelves to show how educational materials can now be accessed through digital devices. 

SSKOHN

Wema Bank’s Purple Academy has shown that at a time like this, it has become paramount for corporate institutions like banks to reimagine their learning spaces. Through the intentional design of learning spaces that are flexible enough to promote collaboration and innovation easily, corporate institutions can be assured that professionals can become the best version of themselves.

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Upcoming Flare Network launch and lawsuit win may propel XRP to ATH – PrimeXBT Lead Analyst, Kim Chua

The Flare Network is expected to go live in 2Q2021, which could be anytime between now and June.

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The price of XRP has tripled in value over 2 weeks and subsequently pulled back sharply. Can we expect more upside for XRP, or is the XRP run up over? 

With more positive news and developments in store over the next few months, this run may not be over yet. Other than the edge Ripple has over the SEC in the lawsuit, another reason may send the price of XRP soaring.  

This is related to the Flare Network. Recall that in December last year, before news of the SEC lawsuit broke, investors were getting excited over the Spark (FLR) token airdrop that will be the native token on the Flare Network. That airdrop incited a huge surge in the price of XRP before the SEC lawsuit news sent its price reeling. 

The Flare Network is expected to go live in 2Q2021, which could be anytime between now and June. The launch of Flare Network, with the airdropped FLR tokens to be finally distributed to qualified holders of XRP (those who owned XRP during the snapshot in December), couldn’t have come at a better time to hype up XRP again. 

Not only will FLR tokens be distributed into the accounts of XRP holders, another airdrop will occur around one month after the launch of Flare Network. 

Flare Finance, which is built on the Flare blockchain and designed to power swaps, stable currency, yield farming, asset-backed loans, insurance, and yield mining, plans to offer those same participants another airdrop. The company says it will airdrop DAOFlare token (DFLR) to users who receive Spark. DFLR holders can then swap those tokens for YieldFlare, Flare Finance’s official token. This means additional free money and tools for the same XRP community who have benefitted from the Spark airdrop – certainly reason for die-hard XRP community to be very excited and pleased about and re-hype XRP all over again.

Flare Network’s launch provides another utility for the XRP token since XRP holders are able to buy FLR using XRP, or use their airdropped FLR tokens to mint FXRP that is interoperable with the ETH blockchain. This gives holders of XRP opportunity to participate in ETH-based DeFi and NFT projects to do yield-farming, trade on DEX, and join the NFT mania, which it otherwise was not able to do. This is very exciting news indeed for one more use case for the XRP token.  

Other than the Flare Network launch, another important news that may impact the price of XRP greatly is definitely the result of the SEC lawsuit. Ripple has filed a motion to dismiss the SEC lawsuit, and the SEC will have up to 14 May to contest it. Should the SEC not contest, or should the judge rule in Ripple’s favour, the lawsuit will be dropped. Dropping of the lawsuit will definitely cause the price of XRP to spike again.

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Furthermore, with it becoming clear that people outside Ripple that sell XRP cannot be charged for selling illegal securities, exchanges are beginning to relist the XRP token. A swiss exchange has since announced that is has relisted XRP. Should more prominent exchanges begin to relist XRP again, it could bring the price of XRP up further. Chatters are already in overdrive after a Twitter user speculated that Coinbase was planning to relist XRP. Coinbase however, has not confirmed nor denied the rumour. Should a Coinbase relisting happen, the price of XRP is expected to spike again, regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit. 

SSKOHN

On the technical charts, after extending a solid run from $0.635 to a high of $1.99, XRP has retraced its first up thrust to its 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level at $1.14 and bounced. Its RSI is no longer in the overbought territory. After letting out much froth, XRP can now resume its uptrend in a more steady and sustainable manner towards its ATH of $3.30. The area around $1.00 provides a very solid support that is not likely to be broken. A break above $1.50 could mean that the retracement is over and price will resume on its uptrend again. 

The only risk now, other than a bad surprise in the SEC lawsuit result, is Jed McCaleb, the co-founder and former CTO of Ripple Labs. As one of Ripple’s main contributors, Jed acquired more than 9 billion XRP as part of the compensation plan for his role, and has been regularly selling his stash. However, he is left with only around 2 billion XRP and he is allowed to sell a percentage of XRP’s daily traded volume tabulated in the 2 weeks prior. With the higher trading volume in the last 2 weeks, Jed will be allowed to sell around 40 million XRP per day beginning 18 April. Whether or not he sells is unknown, but it is something traders need to take note of as a potential pressure on price should buyers not be able to absorb his selling. However, Jed’s selling has been well-absorbed all this while without any impact to price and his stash will finish by May if he were to keep selling. This will then remove a huge supply overhang and be good for the price of XRP moving forward. 

As we move closer to the month of May, both the fundamental and technical picture bodes well for XRP. Perhaps the month of May could be the period when XRP tests its ATH of $3.30. If the momentum remains strong, it is possible XRP may even test $3.30 before May arrives.

About Kim Chua, PrimeXBT Market Analyst:

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Kim Chua is an institutional trading specialist with a track record of success that extends across leading banks including Deutsche Bank, China Merchants Bank, and more. Chua later launched a hedge fund that consistently achieved triple-digit returns for seven years. Chua is also an educator at heart who developed her own proprietary trading curriculum to pass her knowledge down to a new generation of analysts. Kim Chua actively follows both traditional and currency markets closely and is eager to find future investment and trading opportunities as the two vastly different asset classes begin to converge.

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