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Akon To Build ‘Real-Life Wakanda’ Using A Currency Called AKoin

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Akon says he’s planning to release a new cryptocurrency named after himself – called Akoin.
Speaking at the Cannes Lions Festival on Monday, the Locked Up singer said he believed cryptocurrency could be “the saviour of Africa”.

AKoin’s official website says the singer wants the app “on every mobile phone” between now and December.

And Akon says he’s also planning to build a “crypto city” in Senegal which he calls “a real-life Wakanda”.

Just like the fictional land of Wakanda in Marvel’s Black Panther, Akon promises says his city will be a “futuristic environment”.

The website says Akon has been “gifted” 2,000 acres of land by the President of Senegal to build the city – which is also named after himself.

Akon Crypto City will apparently be “a short drive” from Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

He calls it “the first 100% crypto-based city with AKoin at the centre of transactional life”.

Under the “Akoin Ecosystem”, consumers will be able to buy, hold and spend cryptocurrency straight from their smartphones.

“It brings the power back to the people and brings the security back into the currency system,” Akon explained.

“It also allows the people to utilise it in ways where they can advance themselves and not allow government to do those things that are keeping them down.”

However, Akon admitted he didn’t know all the technical aspects of his new venture.

“I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out,” he said.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that operates independently from a central bank.

It uses cryptography (the conversion of information into an almost uncrackable code) to secure and verify transactions.

This makes it extremely difficult to counterfeit.

The AKoin website

The first and probably most famous cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which was created by an unknown person using the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009.

Several celebrities have endorsed or invested in cryptocurrency, including Katy Perry, 50 Cent and Ashton Kutcher.

Akon’s others ventures in Africa

AKoin is one of many projects Akon has announced in Africa.

While he was born in Missouri, Akon is of Senegalese descent and spent much of his childhood there.

In 2007 he co-founded the Konfidence Foundation, a health and education charity for underprivileged children in West Africa and the United States.

He also co-founded the Akon Lighting Africa project in 2014, which Akon’s site says has brought solar power to 18 African countries so far.

Source; BBC

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Beige Bank Sacks Over 500 Staff

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The role of the Bank of Ghana and for that matter all central banks in the world is not only to be increasing capital requirement from time to time, and this can be ascertained in majority of developing countries. It is to promote the growth of the local economy, apart from playing the role of banker to the government, banks’ bank, lender of the last resort, controller of credit; it is also to maintain stable exchange rates.

These aside, one of the aims of the central banks in a developing economy like ours is to improve the strength of our currency and credit system. More banks and financial institutions are required to be set up to provide larger credit facilities and to divert deposits and voluntary savings into productive ventures. The central bank also plays an important role in bringing about a proper adjustment between demand and supply of money.

It must be said that, the recent attempt to bring the interest rates down is quite commendable. However our monetary policy must be aimed more at reducing the wide disparity between long-term and short-term interest rates, avoid policies and announcements that will create public disaffection towards financial institutions, and reduce job losses as it happened in the Capital and UT swoop.

The shocking and almost violent take overs of just two banks, namely UT and Capital Banks in the fall of 2017 by the Ghana Commercial Bank caused about a 1000 job losses to finance and bank professionals. That action alone reduced the general public’s confidence in most indigenous banks in Ghana because of the fear of the unknown.

Currently a reliable piece of information suggests that, a promising indigenous financial institutions, BEIGE BANK, as of June 2018, has laid off over 500 of its staff as part of measures to restructure the company in anticipation of current changes within the industry. It is expected that a few more lay-offs will happen in the coming months as The BEIGE BANK aligns itself for a possible merger.

In a conversation with officials of the company, they confirmed that this is the first time the company has had to cut staff numbers of this magnitude since its inception 10years ago. Branch expansion plans in other remote parts of the country has also been suspended.

This is a danger and indeed a bad sign for all indigenous finance professionals and puts future job prospects in the sector at risk.

Also since saving or depositing money at the bank is voluntary and most Ghanaians are not sure of what the next move of the BoG would be, deposits have dropped considerably, particularly after BoG squabbles with UNIBANK officials and the eventual handing over of Sovereign Bank to administration.

At the moment there are 10 indigenous Ghanaian Banks hanging on life support, all things being equal having GHS 120M as minimum capital. This suggests that, only 2 banks shall survive, if the BoG forces through its uncompromising merger plans, because no two or three banks can possibly come together and be able to satisfy the new GHS 400m capital requirement.

In the event about 5000 professionals in finance and the banking sector will lose their jobs as a consequence. This means that, 8 indigenous banks are doomed to collapse under this incessant pressure from the BoG to recapitalize by December 2018, a situation seen by most discerning Ghanaian business personalities as unfair treatment to the owners of indigenous banks and their employees.

Petition and attempt at intervention

In a petition to the president of the republic, the owners have pleaded with him, to intervene and so far the president His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, has not disappointed in his last two comments on stability of the financial sector, but also stated that all meaningful reforms in the banking and financial sectors must ensure the growth and survival of the indigenous banks.

Most recently at the inauguration of a 14-member Committee to enable the full implementation of the “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda, the president reaffirmed his convictions that, it is not good for most of our economic sectors to be dominated by foreigners.

He mentioned the mining, oil and financial sector again. With the knowledge that, there are already 19 foreign owned banks operating in the country, mostly by their shareholding structures, and only 10 indigenous Ghanaian banks, one is likely to hold the view that, the BoG must not torment Indigenous banks by pushing through their reforms by December 2018, but rather heed to the wise counseling of the President which is in consonance with that of the indigenous banks to allow for more time at least between 4 and 5 years to raise the new capital of GHS 400M.

However, the body language of the regulator and public comments on the intended reforms do not appear to complement the efforts the president is making to achieve his developmental goals for the economic sector.

The rush on indigenous banks to measure up in raising new capital requirements or be bundled out of business, is also not the picture the IMF Executive Board’s Fifth and Sixth Reviews Under the Extended Credit Facility published in April, 2018 painted, as guidelines to addressing fragilities in the financial sector.

The report called for more actions to tackle the overhang in non-performing loans and more progress on regulatory reforms and in strengthening oversight and cleaning up the microfinance sector to help support credit to the private sector.

Even though the report declared support for the recent bank intervention and advised that it should be followed up with decisive action to restore solvency and financial viability in the financial sector, one wonders how that can only mean chasing indigenous banks out of business.

It is the view of most Ghanaian financial business owners, that, the establishment of relatively smaller sized and purely local universal banks has enabled credit to reach the informal sector, particularly indigenous micro and small enterprises, cottage industries, agri-businesses, small scale manufacturers, petty traders and crop and livestock farmers which the bigger banks had and continue to marginalize because of the perceived high risk of the sector.

It is important to state that this is the sector which requires consistent nurturing and support to grow to become the big businesses of tomorrow that can employ our growing unemployed youth and also create wealth for our nation.

National influence

There is no gain stressing the point, that strong indigenous financial institutions are fundamental to the development of every economy. It is believed that local banks have their existence linked closely to the growth of national economies, particularly with our private sector controlled by small-scale industries, and will be therefore pretentious to say they will not be affected if the local banks fail to meet the new minimum capital requirement.

This is very much unlike foreign owned ones that make profits and regularly repatriate them back to their owners and shareholders abroad. With the indigenous banks stretching for the difference of GHS 280M to meet the new capital requirement, the situation plays easily into the hands of the foreign banks, and reduces further the shrinking influence of indigenous banks and their market share which is already seen to be around 20%, compared to similar situations in South Africa, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

In those countries, indigenous banks have a larger control on the financial sector ranging between 63% in Senegal to 100% in Cote d’ Ivoire. Indigenous banks in Nigeria control 80% of the financial market and South Africa keeps 76%.

In Australia, a 7 year policy document titled The Indigenous Opportunities Policy (IOP) was fully implemented on 1 July 2011 and expected to travel to the end of 2018. Under the IOP, suppliers to the Australian Government who win contracts valued over $5 million ($6 million for construction) for activity in regions with a significant Indigenous population are required to develop and implement an Indigenous Training, Employment and Supplier plan.

The plans include strategies for using Indigenous businesses in the supply chain. A complementary Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (CPG) exemption was also introduced on 19 May 2011 to reduce obstacles for Commonwealth Government agencies to contract directly with Indigenous small-to-medium businesses. This will make it easier for Indigenous businesses to compete for government contracts, as the procurement process is simpler and administrative costs are reduced.

A cursory look at the regulatory frame work of the bank of Ghana on their website on 21st June, 2018, clearly states that, the Bank of Ghana is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the financial system is stable to ensure that it serves as facilitator for wealth creation, economic growth and development.

It also calls on the regulator, to supervise and direct the banking and credit system to ensure the smooth operation of a safe and sound banking system. Disappointingly, this does not appear to be the situation now due to the chaotic approach of the BoG, mounting pressure on indigenous banks to merge or lose their licenses by the end of 2018.

Unfairness to local banks

The question being asked is, why is the BoG being so unfair to the indigenous banks, by treating all banks the same, regardless, knowing well enough as the regulator, that, to the foreign banks or majority foreign owned, the new capital requirement is just a phone call away? And that any merger of two indigenous banks is more likely to strengthen foreign banks and weaken local banks. Again, why has the BoG taken an entrenched position against Indigenous banks, departing miles away from how it handled similar situations in the past?

The picture above speaks volumes and unmistakably depicts leaders of the world fighting for their national interests with German Chancellor Angela Merkel leading Europe against American leader Donald Trump who has taken a firm decision that America must be treated fairly in its trading relations with the west and east, or else no deal. Where is our national interest with some hitherto “respectable Economists” saying and quote “what is wrong if foreign banks control our financial sector” Really?

There could be more banks in the UK , but why is the UK closely guarding the Barclays and Lloyds Bank which recently invested almost 4 billion UK pounds in the manufacturing sector of the UK economy?

“Adze wo fie a oye”

The future of banks that are majority owned by domestic private interest in Ghana can be challenged in the not distant future due to the fact that, a recent analysis on local ownership of banks as against foreign ownership showed between 1992 and 2006, the local ownership of Banks in Ghana averaged 61% dropping to about 48% between 2007 and 2016. These figures have changed significantly to 44% local ownership giving the advantage 56% to foreign ownership by 2012.

In 2017, the figure diminished to 21% indigenous Ghanaian ownership as published by the reliable and credible Africa Report in its No. 93 edition. This is why all stake holders must see the petition sent to his excellency President Akufo Addo , by the indigenous banks as a matter of concern which has the potential of affecting the smooth functioning of the economy and also cede control of the banking industry in Ghana largely to foreign ownership.

Prior to this period, ownership of banks in Ghana was dominated by the State and foreign banks. The State banks at the time were Ghana Commercial Bank, Agricultural Development Bank, National Investment Bank, Social Security Bank (now Societe General Ghana Limited), National Savings and Credit Bank which was taken over by Social Security Bank, Bank for Housing & Construction, now defunct, and Cooperative Bank, also defunct.

The foreign banks included Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Bank for Credit & Commerce formerly Premier Bank also defunct.

it is being suggested that smaller banks should merge to form bigger entities in order to have capacity to finance big ticket transactions. In as much as big capital may be good and allows banks to engage in big ticket transactions, it does not necessarily remove the risk of failure of big banks. A bank failure occurs when a bank is unable to meet its obligations to its depositors or other creditors because it has become insolvent or too illiquid to meet its liabilities.

Below is a table of Banks with huge assets and capital base, yet they failed.

The BoG should give ample time to indigenous banks to raise the new minimum capital, avoid policies and actions that will cause disaffection towards indigenous banks and encourage policies that will promote the growth of indigenous banks.

Source: Ghana Web

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IBM Ghana And Boss Scoop Cloud Service Provider & Woman In Technology Awards At 2018 GITTA

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Recognized leader in private and hybrid cloud landscapes in Ghana and the West Africa region, IBM Ghana has been awarded Ghana’s best Cloud Service Provider at the recently held 8th Ghana Information Technology & Telecoms Awards (GITTA), the most prestigious awards program in the industry held at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra last Friday night.

The awards come after, IBM Ghana’s demonstrative achievements in becoming a leading supplier of private and hybrid cloud and other technology solutions and services to customers in the Financial, Government and Telecommunications sectors in Ghana and West Africa.

As a former recipient of the same award in 2016 from GITTA, IBM Ghana under the leadership of Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh continues to champion excellent delivery of high-value solutions and services to meet the growing needs of clients.

The ceremony which was held with the presence of Hon Ursula Owusu, Minister of Communications and leaders in the ICT Industry also had the CEO of IBM Ghana, Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh picking up the most coveted personality award dubbed the Woman in Technology of the Year Award for 2018.

Commenting on the awards, Ms Kyerematen-Jimoh noted “IBM is focused on three key areas: cognitive computing to accelerate insight, open technologies to deliver innovation rapidly and hybrid cloud for seamless data movement and secure integration between on-premises and off-premises systems. We are glad to be recognized in an area which is very key to your growth strategy.” She further commented on her personal award stating that it’s an honour to be recognised as the Woman in Technology especially so after taking a bold step from Banking into Technology.

The GITTA Awards which has become one of the industry’s most prized honours has an independent panel of industry experts as judges, which recognize organizational performances, products, services, innovations, executives and management teams, women in ICT, and CSR initiatives.

Source: Prince Akpah

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Tax Holidays Entice, Expand Companies – Dangote

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Business mogul and Chairman of Dangote Group of Companies Worldwide, Aliko Dangote, says tax holidays are great sources of revenue that entice companies to invest and have the freedom to expand.

He said with tax holidays, companies had the room to reinvest what they would have paid as taxes to government in order to grow, expand and later pay higher and more taxes to the government, offer greater opportunities and help grow the economy.

ATF

Mr Dangote said this at the 2018 African Transformation Forum organised by the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) in Accra last Thursday.

He added that after benefitting from tax reliefs, the total amount the companies paid after the period was huge.

Other speakers at the forum were Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and his Rwandan counterpart, Mr Paul Kagame, who is also the Chairman of the African Union; the Vice President of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr Daniel Kablan Duncan, and the Executive Vice President of Unilever Ghana-Nigeria, Mr Yaw Nsarko.

The forum was moderated by Femi Ekenya of BBC’s Focus on Africa.

Tax holidays

Mr Dangote cautioned that it was when tax rates were too high that people looked for avenues to evade tax, adding that “the less you charge, the more you can widen the net and collect a lot of taxes from a lot of people.”

Example

He gave an example of the taxes he had paid to the Nigeria government after the expiration of tax breaks for his companies, citing his sugar factory, whose tax holidays expired in 2006 and between 2007 and 2017 paid a quarter of a trillion naira (about $2694.44 million) in taxes.

Mr Dangote said last year alone, group Dangote paid 100 billion naira (about $277.78 million)?in taxes, adding that while his companies grew and expanded, it benefited the people.

He said tax holidays gave his companies a lot of room to accumulate cash to reinvest and added that three of his food processing companies would be paying two trillion naira or $5.54 billion as taxes in the next five years.

Leadership

Mr Dangote stated that one of the major pointers he looked for before investing in any country was the quality of leadership, especially if the leader was a man of his words.

He said if he considered establishing a business in Ghana, he would first pick the speech of the President and check if he had been able to execute quite a lot of the things he promised to do, especially his promise to turn around the economy and bring down interest rates.

Age

Touching on leadership and age, the business magnate, who is also Africa’s richest, said the ages of leaders were not necessary but what was important was whether the person was a visionary leader.

He mentioned some of the presidents of integrity that he trusted to include Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Mr Alhassan Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire and President Kagame.

“Some of the older ones have been doing much better than the younger ones; it is very true because I have seen them. If Africa has just 20 leaders of the kind of the Presidents of Ghana, Rwanda and Cote d’Ivoire, that will be good enough,” he added.

Source: Ghana Web

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Dentaa Amoateng MBE Named As Influential African & Afro-Caribbean Leader In The UK

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The CEO and founder of GUBA Enterprise, Mrs Dentaa Amoateng MBE, has been recognised as one of the ‘Top 50 African & Afro-Caribbean Leaders in the UK 2018’ by the influential African Leadership Magazine.

The accolade was given in recognition of Dentaa Amoateng’s “outstanding contributions to the socio-economic development and leadership influence in the African and Afro-Caribbean community in the United Kingdom.”

Specifically the African Leadership Magazine recognised the ground breaking work of GUBA Enterprise in unifying the African community in the UK, support of charitable ventures and providing a platform for African and British businesses to grow and diversify.

The magazine highlighted Dentaa Amoateng’s leadership of the GUBA Awards, GUBA Expo, GUBA Foundation, GUBA Careers and GUBA Health to help support and recognise African businesses, leaders and communities.

GUBA Expo recently concluded a successful African trade seminar and exhibition in London to help African businesses develop their UK customer base and introduce UK consumers to African sourced products.

The 2018 GUBA Awards will be held in London in July 2018 celebrating the very best in African talent and leadership. The awards will be attended by high profile British and African business and political leaders.

Commenting on the recognition Mrs Dentaa Amoateng MBE said:

“It is an honour when your work is noticed, especially by organisations such as The African Leadership Magazine who are also working to promote the work of minorities in the United Kingdom. It is always a reminder that the whole GUBA Enterprise team need to continue doing more in our efforts to unify, empower and elevate our community which is why I am so proud of our GUBA Enterprise initiatives.

This award, from such a prestigious publication, would not have been possible without the support of my team and all who constantly support the work of GUBA.”

The African Leadership magazine focuses on bringing the best of Africa to a global audience, telling the African story from an African perspective; while evolving solutions to peculiar challenges being faced by the continent today.

Other winners on the night included Sudanese-British television and radio Journalist, Zeinab Badawi. The award was presented at a ceremony held at the Hilton London, Mayfair on 14th June.

GUBA Awards will also be hosting its annual awards and conference on the 13th and 14th of July, 2018 at the Inter Continental Hotel, O2, London. Tickets and information for the event can be accessed via www.gubaawards.co.uk

By: Starbuzz Gh

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