Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele
The Nigerian government is at war with itself, and that’s a statement that’s not exactly surprising to anyone.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Nigeria passed a judgement to temporarily halt the country’s pending ban on its old ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1,000 notes.
ICYMI: Last year, Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, announced redesigned currency notes for its old ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1,000 notes. Citizens originally had till January 31, 2023, to submit all old notes to commercial banks. After numerous requests, the deadline was extended to February 10 due to a scarcity of new and old notes.
The redesign programme has thrown the country in disarray.
Presently, Nigerians—many of whom are angry with the abrupt policy—are reporting scarcity of cash as most old notes have been deposited at banks while new notes are being rolled out at a slothful pace.
But it’s not only the Nigerian people who are against the policy’s short timeline. Earlier this week, three Nigerian state governments filed for a temporary injunction to block the deadline at the Supreme Court. A seven-man panel reviewed the injunction and granted it, pausing the February 10 extension.
There is, however, speculation on whether the CBN will adhere to the injunction as legal critics dispute the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to decide on currency issues.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also urged the CBN to extend the cutoff date with rep Ari Aisen stating, “In light of hardships caused by disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new banknotes available to the public, in spite of measures introduced by the CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline, should problems persist in the next few days leading up to the February 10, 2023 deadline.”
On February 15, the Supreme Court will hear the lawsuit brought forward by the Nigerian states who are against the deadline.
Zoom out: While the Supreme Court’s action may have extended the deadline, Nigerians are still likely to remain in the same predicament. Neither old nor new notes are plentiful in circulation and many have to choose between long ATM queues—where banks have placed limits on cash withdrawals—or buying new notes at exorbitant rates from POS operators.
FLUTTERWAVE FLUTTERS INTO EGYPT
Flutterwave, the Nigerian fintech unicorn, is making waves in the North African region with its recent acquisition of Payment Services Provider and Payment Facilitator licences in Egypt!
This makes Flutterwave an official payment service provider in the country; it can collect and settle payments on behalf of its customers, both locally and globally.
With the new licences also comes the deployment of Flutterwave’s suite of products, including stores, payment links, invoices, and checkout, making it a one-stop shop for businesses in Egypt.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Flutterwave has also made it possible for users to send money to Ethiopia via cash pickup, giving Ethiopians in the diaspora a home port for sending money back to their loved ones. The recipients can pick up the cash in Dashen Bank branches, Amole Agents and Ethiopian postal service offices.”
This expansion is happening at a time when the unicorn, which had a valuation of $3 billion after its last Series D funding round in January 2022, is pondering its next big move—a leap into the public arena with an IPO listing.
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According to the company, the new versions of Bing and Edge, which they described as “AI copilot for the web”, will deliver better search, more complete answers, a new chat experience and the ability to generate content.
The new Edge, for example, will allow users to ask for a summary of a lengthy financial report to get the key takeaways, and then use the chat function to ask for a comparison to a competing company’s financials and automatically put it in a table.
Users can also ask Edge to help compose content, such as a LinkedIn post, by giving it a few prompts. After that, they can ask it to help in updating the tone, format and length of the post.
“AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all: search,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft. “Today, we’re launching Bing and Edge, powered by AI copilot and chat, to help people get more from search and the web.”
The new versions of Bing and Edge are currently available for preview testing and will be rolled out in due time.
REPORT: THE STATE OF TECH IN AFRICA
The numbers are in for 2022:
Africa raised $4.8 billion in Q2 2022 alone, up by 5% from 2021’s total VC funding raised.
The fintech sector raised about 37% of funding in that period.
Acquisitions increased by 35% from 32 in 2021 to an all-time high of 48 in 2022.
Over 1,000 tech workers were laid off in Africa.
Technology in Africa is growing at an unprecedented rate and we want you to have a bird’s eye view of it. The State of Tech in Africa report has launched.