The future is digital, and as a country that propels its economy forward by looking beyond the horizon, Malta has been among the first European countries to invest its talent and resources in creating the Nomad Residence Permit. The idea behind this permit, launched in June of last year, is to offer a temporary stay permit for digital nomads.
Euro Exim Bank has been at the forefront of the Trade Finance Industry for many years, and continues to show strong growth. Whilst not letting a global pandemic slow them down and continuing to provide a fast and effective service to global businesses. We sit down with Dr Graham Bright , Head of Compliance and Operations Euro Exim Bank Ltd to discuss where it all went right.
New European Economy : Can you tell us what the next 12 months potentially has in store for Euro Exim Bank global operations?
Dr Graham Bright: With every nation experiencing unprecedented challenges with rising domestic utilities, food, commodities and transport fees, the public in general has become much more cautious in spending as companies review their borrowings and expenditure. All at a time when the UK consumer is now informed of eye-watering 42% expected increases in energy bills coming in November 2022.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have emerged as the latest craze to engulf the crypto world over the past 12 months. The process of storing and owning a unique (non-fungible) digital asset via blockchain technology has seen the industry capture the interest and disposable income of many.
However, there are fears that this new and exciting world consisting of ‘bored apes’, GIFs and cartoon heads has already reached its peak. One of 2021’s most high-profile NFT sales, Twitter Co-Founder, Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet, sold for $2.9 million. However, as of May 2022, the infamous tweet is now valued at a fraction of its initial sale price – as little as $10,000, according to a recent report by CNBC.
Choosing the right banking partner is crucial for success for corporations engaged in international trade. It is essential to choose a provider based on the requirements of the business.
Here are 5 tips to help that would help a corporate to choose wisely.
1. Consider Your Special Requirements
For an SME in the import/export business, it is important to look for a financial institution that specializes in trade finance products, that provides services such as letters of credit, bank guarantees, supply chain finance and international trade settlement.
A digital revolution is taking place in Africa. 2021 has been a big year for technology – and specifically fintech – in the innovative continent. Start-ups are building out their solutions, expanding into new markets and raising millions of pounds in capital.
Fintech unicorns have been a long time in the making in Africa. In 2016, Jumia became the continent’s first billion-dollar technology company after it was founded in 2012. Thereafter, the amount of investment obtained by African start-ups quadrupled in 2018. While the pace of growth hasn’t continued to snowball at such a rate, there is a huge acceleration in the market and an increasing maturity of the fintech ecosystem throughout the continent.
Africa has seen a huge increase in mobile payments. Vodafone’s M-Pesa system, a mobile phone-based money transfer and microfinancing service, dominates the African fintech scene with over 50 million subscribers. As Africa’s second-largest mobile network provider after MTN, the company provides payments services. According to Global System for Mobile Communications, by the end of 2020, there were more than 160 million monthly active accounts for mobile payments in Africa, an increase of 18% over the previous year, marking a lucrative opportunity for fintechs in the region.
Despite the setbacks of the global health crisis, Africa’s VC ecosystem is brimming with potential, and there is a wave of optimism around the first four African start-ups to hit a $1 billion valuation. Many African countries have also accelerated their digital transformation and telecom giants are building new networks and streamlining existing facilities to speed up connectivity and improve internet and wireless services. Filling a gap in the market, the number of fintech start-ups active in Africa increased by 89.4% between 2017 and 2021.
“Despite a dip in investments in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the continent’s start-up scene reportedly ended the year between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion in investments.”
OPay, a Nigerian fintech startup, which attracted investment from Beijing Kunlun Technology, reported a steady monthly growth of 10% in mobile payments during the pandemic. The most recent example of start-up success in Africa is OPay’s Series C fundraise of $400m in a round led by Softbank at a valuation of $2bn. Following Nigeria-based Flutterwave’s $170m Series C funding round earlier in 2021, OPay now joins the exclusive cohort of African unicorns which includes Fawry, Interswitch and Jumia. Opay and Wave are just two among many companies behind sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile money push, underpinning an ecosystem that generates $13 billion a month in transaction value, the most of any region worldwide.
Technology for technology sake is not always for global benefit. However, in international trade, with complexity of supply chains technology is facilitating financial inclusion, connectivity of disparate markets, faster client engagement, transparency in dealings and building trust. Underpinned by free trade agreements, across Africa, India and Asia, companies and individuals can now take further advantage of rapid advances in technology.
From legacy 2G and 3G telephone networks to data enabling 5G, use of cost-effective mobile technology to power consumer banking and more efficient processes and supply channels, blockchain and Ai technology are available now, providing solid technological foundations to ensure the continent completes effectively on the world stage. Euro Exim Bank, through adoption of these technologies, with representation in over 100 countries across the globe are positioned to assist trade for SME’s and Corporates, the key contributors of economic growth.
In March, Flutterwave raised its $170m unicorn round. It’s been a busy year for Flutterwave, as it pursues an aggressive expansion strategy geared toward cementing its place as the leading pan-African payments technology company. The Silicon Valley-based start-up announced that it has acquired Disha, a Nigerian platform, that allows digital creators to curate and receive payments from their content and portfolios worldwide. Most recently, Chipper Cash raised $100m. The ‘Big Four’ of Africa – Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt – have retained their prominence as key investment destinations, accounting for 80% of all start-up funding. Nigeria and South Africa alone contribute to 56% of these nations’ funding.
Despite a dip in investments in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the continent’s start-up scene reportedly ended the year between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion in investments. Investments have picked up again in 2021. Reports show that in the first half of 2021, African start-ups have managed to raise between $956.2 million and $1.19 billion. Financing for African companies increased significantly from January to March before declining in April. Investments increased from $78 million in April to $208.5 million in May, indicating a resumption of growth.
And this growth is poised to continue. As worldwide lockdowns lift, things are perking up. As vaccination rates rise across Africa and economies stabilize, investments in African start-ups are seeing a rise as well. Africa’s fast-growing but under-banked population has financial services companies eyeing big opportunities on the continent, and with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) now in effect, the eyes of the world are on the continent. AfCFTA is unlocking significant growth opportunities and acting as an impetus for African governments to address their infrastructure needs as well as to overhaul regulations relating to tariffs, bilateral trade, cross-border initiatives and capital flows.
This impressive growth story is taking place continent-wide, and the variety of services being offered by these start-ups is on the rise. Fintech investors are flocking to the continent, putting their faith in the area’s best and brightest minds to tackle the region’s most challenging financial problems more effectively than traditional financial institutions.
See how Euro Exim Bank can support your growth
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CEO Insight spoke with Russell Curtis, CEO of Invest Durban, which exists to stimulate foreign direct investment across the eThekwini Municipality via its advisory, promotion, facilitation, and aftercare services.
Situated on a natural harbour on South Africa’s east coast, Durban is Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest and busiest shipping terminal, and the country’s third most populous city. It constitutes a key gateway to Africa and the fastest growing market on Earth, set to reach 1.7 billion people by 2030.
More than half of millennials and nearly three-quarters of Generation Z are considering including NFTs into their investment portfolios, reveals a new survey.
The findings from a global poll carried out by deVere Group, one of the world’s leading financial advisory, asset management and fintech organisations, show that 52% of those born between 1980 and 1996, and 74% of those born between 1997 and 2012, would welcome the inclusion of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) into their portfolio mix.
SEZs are business parks granted legal autonomy to improve their governance. Companies operating within SEZs enjoy unique tax breaks, streamlined government regulations, special VISA rights and different labor laws. This enables businesses to operate in emerging markets without the usual problems that businesses in the developed world face.