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IFC Promotes Mobile Financial Services in Cote d’Ivoire to Encourage Inclusive Development

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, May 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and The MasterCard Foundation today convened key financial industry players to build further momentum for mobile financial services in Cote d’Ivoire. The event recognized the market’s enormous potential, especially for increasing access to finance for low income households, small scale businesses and in hard-to-reach areas.


Mobile phone penetration in Cote d’Ivoire is more than 90 percent, while only 14 percent of Ivoirians have access to financial services. Mobile network operators have registered more than two million mobile financial services customers in the past three years. The Ivorian market for mobile financial services is the largest and the most dynamic in the West African Economic and Monetary Union region.


Cassandra Colbert, IFC Resident Representative in Cote d’Ivoire,

said,”Improving access to finance is important for supporting shared prosperity in Cote d’Ivoire. IFC and The MasterCard Foundation want to help local financial institutions realize the opportunity in Cote d’Ivoire for the development of agent banking and mobile financial services that will accelerate the reach of financial services to those currently without banking services.”


At the seminar in Abidjan, IFC highlighted the business case for engaging in mobile financial services in Cote d’Ivoire. The workshop marked the beginning of the implementation of a four year program by IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to contribute to the development and expansion of mobile financial services in the country.


IFC and The MasterCard Foundation consider access to financial services a key tool in poverty alleviation that can dramatically change the lives of the economically marginalized.


About The Partnership for Financial Inclusion In January 2012 IFC and The MasterCard Foundation launched the $37.4 million Partnership for Financial Inclusion to bring financial services to an estimated 5.3 million previously unbanked people in Sub-Saharan Africa in five years. The program aims to develop sustainable microfinance business models that can deliver large-scale low-cost banking services, and provides technical assistance to mobile network operators, banks and payments systems providers in order to accelerate the development of low-cost mobile financial services.


About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit



International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

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Mobile Technologies to Fast Track Financial Transactions for the Unbanked in Asia

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

4th Annual Summit on Mobile Payments & Banking Greater Mekong/ Emerging Markets will be taking place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 12-13 June 2013.

Singapore, Singapore –(– 1. Mobile technology is fast becoming the first choice for many consumers to access financial services especially among the economies of the unbanked population. At the 4th Annual Summit on Mobile Payments & Banking Greater Mekong/ Emerging Markets which will be taking place in Phnom Penh in Cambodia on 12 – 13 June 2013, key industry stakeholders from the financial institutions, mobile operators and solution providers will congregate to discuss the latest developments in mobile payments in the growing affluent economies of South East Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Central Asia, Eurasia, Middle East and Oceania.

2. This year summit’s will have a special focus on emerging economies of Fiji, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Key issues include an assessment of the growing opportunities in the region, success stories on how to design, establish and operationalize mobile payments solutions, evaluation of the various technology and challenges, discussion on IT strategies to drive revenue opportunities, cost efficiencies and the future transformation of the customer retail banking experience.

3. Companies expected to speak at the summit include: National Bank of Cambodia, Department of Finance, (Philippines), VeriFone, Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines, Quezon Capital Rural Bank, Hattha Kaksekar, ACLEDA Bank Plc, Viettel Telecom, Globe Telecom Inc / G-Xchange Inc, BICS Asia, Maybank, Chunghwa Telecom, Western Union, Standard Chartered Bank, Alpha Payments Cloud, Bank Mandiri, Etisalat, ControlCase, EPIC Lanka Group, Ayeryarwady Bank, Vodafone, FINTEL Fiji, Bank of the Lao PDR, Bank of Ayudhya and more.

4. EPIC Lanka Group, a world class software solutions provider in its core technology areas of Secure Electronic Payments and Information Systems Security is the summit’s Associate Sponsor.

5. Exhibitors at the summit include SecureMetric, the fastest growing digital security technology company and ControlCase, a United States based company with headquarters in McLean, Virginia and PCI center of excellence in Mumbai, India.

6. The CEO of the conference organizing company, Magenta Global Pte Ltd, Singapore, Ms Maggie Tan, said: “A new report from Juniper Research finds that over 1 billion phone users will have made use of their mobile devices for banking purposes by the end of 2017, compared to just over 590 million this year. The emerging economies in this region are likely to see a huge increase in mobile subscribers who are mostly unbanked. Banks must implement at least one mobile banking offering either via messaging, mobile browser or an- app based service. Some banks are already doing so with larger banks deploying two or more of these technologies. This Summit has been specially convened to take the industry forward.” She invites all telco operators, financial institutions and technology service providers to join this Summit and contribute to the greater development of the banking and financial services sector in this region.

7. The event will be held at the NagaWorld Hotel.

Notes for Editor

About Magenta Global – Organizer

Magenta Global Pte Ltd is a premier independent business media company that provides pragmatic and relevant information to government & business executives and professionals worldwide. The organization provides the opportunity to share thought-provoking insights, exchange ideas on the latest industry trends and technological developments with thought leaders and business peers. With a strong focus in emerging economies especially in Africa, Middle East & Central Asia, Magenta Global works in partnership with both the public and private sectors.

About EPIC Lanka Group – Associate Sponsor

Established in 1998, Epic is a trendsetter and renowned for innovative software solutions in the region. The company has successfully implemented pioneering mobile banking solutions in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and several other countries winning an unprecedented number of national and international accolades in the recent past including APICTA Gold Award for Asia pacific’s best banking solution. Time and again Epic has proved their technological dominance, product supremacy and entrepreneurial excellence at Asia Pacific level.

About SecureMetric – Exhibitor

SecureMetric is one of the fastest growing digital security technology company. Our products and solutions have been successfully shipped and implemented in more than 35 countries worldwide. As a multinational company, SecureMetric’s technical team consist of top security experts from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Middle East, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and United Kingdom. Cross region and cross culture exposure has made SecureMetric a company that is always ahead. With our innovative products and services, we are poised to help our customers to be the best in their industry.

About ControlCase – Exhibitor

ControlCase provide solutions that address all aspects of IT-GRCM (Governance, Risk Management and Compliance Management). ControlCase is pioneer and largest provider of Managed Compliance Services and Compliance as a Service and a leading provider of Payment Card Industry related compliance services globally.
Magenta Global
Merilynn Choo
65 6391 2549

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IMF Mission Concludes the 2013 Article IV Mission to the Republic of Congo

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo, May 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Mr. Mbuyamu Matungulu visited Brazzaville during April 29–May 13, 2013, to conduct discussions for the 2013 Article IV consultations. The mission met with the Honorable Obami Itou, President of the Senate; the Honorable Koumba, Speaker of Parliament; State and Finance Minister Ondongo, Special Presidential Advisor Gokana, National Director of the BEAC Ondaye Ebauh, and other senior officials. It held discussions with development partners and representatives of the private sector, including members of the banking profession.

At the end of the mission, Mr. Matungulu issued the following statement:

“In 2012, real GDP growth rebounded to about 4 percent despite a marked decline in oil production. Activity in the non-oil sectors was robust, driven by a surge in public spending in response to the ammunitions depot explosion of March 2012. The brisk increase in spending put pressures on prices, bringing end-year inflation to 7.5 percent as domestic supply response was limited. Reflecting the high import content of increased government outlays, the external current account turned negative in 2012. Credit growth remained robust. The basic non-oil primary budget deficit increased considerably, stemming from the expansion of government spending. However, the deficit was smaller than projected, with domestically-funded investment outlays somewhat lower than anticipated.

“Real GDP growth is expected to strengthen to 5.8 percent in 2013 despite a further decline of oil production, underpinned by continuing strong activity in construction and public works, telecommunications, as well as a timid start of iron ore production. Inflation eased to a monthly average of -0.1 percent in January-February 2013, and is projected to remain subdued during the remainder of the year as pressures from the 2012 ammunitions explosions fallout gradually recede. While the current account is expected to improve, the country remains vulnerable to adverse changes in external conditions, particularly on terms of trade. Compared to the initial budget, the mission’s current fiscal projections for 2013 reflect a shortfall in oil revenue equivalent to 4.8 percent of non-oil GDP, a reduction in government spending, as well as much higher-than-anticipated payments on arrears to social sectors. While the basic non-oil primary budget deficit should be contained below the projected level, the build-up of government deposits with the central bank would likely be much lower than targeted under the 2013 budget. The mission urged stronger treasury management and discussed quarterly fiscal targets for the remainder of the year to minimize slippages.

“The authorities’ medium-term development agenda seeks to foster private sector development, facilitate economic diversification, and secure growth inclusiveness. It appropriately emphasizes preservation of macroeconomic stability, improvements in governance and transparency and in business conditions, as well as a scaling up of investment to begin closing large infrastructure and skills gaps, while seeking further gains in budget consolidation. The mission encouraged the authorities to expedite reforms to improve the quality of spending; and welcomed World Bank involvement in the efforts to improve the management of the public investment program and enhance the productivity of the development budget. It underscored accelerated implementation of World Bank-supported reforms to improve the business environment, including in financial sector; and to roll out envisaged social protection systems. Regarding the management of oil resources, the mission reiterated calls for early adoption by Parliament of the draft law on budget transparency and accountability, following the achievement last February of compliant status under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). As Congo moves ahead with the establishment of Special Economic Zones, the staff team urged caution. In particular, the mission encouraged the authorities to refrain from extending special fiscal incentives, and to focus instead on revamping infrastructure, including the inadequate electricity network, and advancing administrative facilitation. The staff team favored implementation of economy-wide reforms that improve the business environment for all so as to prevent abuses. It confirmed Congo’s low risk of debt distress but noted the need for continuing prudent borrowing policies to maintain long-term debt sustainability in the post-HIPC era.

“The mission discussed a medium- and long-term fiscal framework aimed at protecting spending from oil revenue volatility and ensuring budget and debt sustainability while supporting growth and guarding against the risks in the face of declining oil reserves. The framework makes provisions for scaled up investment and a buildup of net wealth that would sustain expenditures when oil resources are depleted. Under the agreed framework, nearly 65 percent of projected total oil revenue for 2013–2019 would be spent (two thirds of which on capital goods), and 35 percent saved; and the basic non-oil primary budget deficit would be limited to 36.1 percent of non-oil GDP by 2015.

“The authorities concurred with the need to improve coordination of economic policy management through development of appropriate reform-monitoring mechanisms. In this context, staff welcomed the government’s support to the ongoing review of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC)’s reserves pooling framework. Finally, the mission reminded the authorities of Congo’s legal obligations under Article VIII, Section 5, including the obligation to provide data to Fund staff on official holdings of foreign exchange.

“The mission wishes to express gratitude to the authorities for their hospitality. Upon its return to Washington D.C., the team will prepare a staff report to be discussed by the IMF’s Executive Board.”



International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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MasterCard to Power Nigerian Identity Card Program

Posted on 08 May 2013 by Africa Business

13 Million Cards to be issued first, in largest card rollout of its kind in Africa

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA) ( is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews (!/MasterCardNews), join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog ( and subscribe ( for the latest news (

About NIMC

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) was established by the NIMC Act No.23, 2007 as the primary legal, regulatory and institutional mechanism for implementing a reliable and sustainable national identity management system that will enable Nigerian citizens and legal residents assert their identity. The Act mandates the NIMC to create, own, operate and manage a national identity database, issue national identification numbers to registered individuals, provide identity authentication and verification services, issue multipurpose smartcards, integrate identity databases across government agencies and foster the orderly development of the identity sector in Nigeria. The Act also empowered the NIMC to collaborate with any public and or private sector organization to realize its objectives.

About Unified Payments

Unified Payments is owned by a consortium of Nigerian Banks. Our core businesses comprise Processing, Merchant Acquiring, Switching, Payment Terminal Services and provision of Value Added Services & Solutions. Unified Payments pioneered the issuance and acceptance of EMV Chip + PIN cards in Nigeria, leading to reduction of ATM fraud in Nigeria by over 95%. The company enabled Nigerian banks and merchants for the first time ever to accept foreign cards at ATMs and Points of Sale Terminals, and also pioneered the issuance of Naira cards that are globally accepted.

About Access Bank

Access Bank Plc ( is a full service commercial Bank operating through a network of over 300 branches and service outlets located in major centres across Nigeria, Sub Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom. Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the Bank has over 800,000 shareholders and has enjoyed what is arguably Africa’s most successful banking growth trajectory in the last ten years ranking amongst Africa’s top 20 banks by total assets and capital in 2011. As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank has made sustainable business core to all its operations. The Bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible and socially relevant.

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, May 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) ( and MasterCard ( today announced at the World Economic Forum on Africa the roll-out of 13 million MasterCard-branded National Identity Smart Cards ( with electronic payment capability as a pilot program. The National Identity Smart Card is the Card Scheme under the recently deployed National Identity Management System (NIMS). This program is the largest roll-out of a formal electronic payment solution in the country and the broadest financial inclusion initiative of its kind on the African continent.

The Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) will be issuing MasterCard-branded National Identity Smart Cards with electronic payment capability. This program is the largest roll-out of a formal electronic payment solution in the country and the broadest financial inclusion initiative of its kind on the African continent.


Earlier this year Ajay Banga commended the Finance Minister of Nigeria Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido on the Cashless Nigeria initiative and discussed MasterCard’s commitment to supporting a widespread national identification program in the country.



Infographic – Navigating the Next Cashless Continent:

As part of the program, in its first phase, Nigerians 16 years and older, and all residents in the country for more than two years, will get the new multipurpose identity card which has 13 applications including MasterCard’s prepaid payment technology that will provide cardholders with the safety, convenience and reliability of electronic payments. This will have a significant and positive impact on the lives of these Nigerians who have not previously had access to financial services.

The Project will have Access Bank Plc as the pilot issuer bank for the cards and Unified Payment Services Limited (Unified Payments) as the payment processor. Other issuing banks will include United Bank for Africa, Union Bank, Zenith, Skye Bank, Unity Bank, Stanbic, and First Bank.

The announcement was witnessed by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy in Nigeria, who stressed the importance of the National Identity Smart Card Scheme in moving Nigeria to an electronic platform. This program is good practice for us to bring all the citizens on a common platform for interacting with the various government agencies and for transacting electronically. We will implement this initiative in a collaborative manner between the public and private sectors, to achieve its full potential of inclusive citizenship and more effective governance,” she said.

“Today’s announcement is the first phase of an unprecedented project in terms of scale and scope for Nigeria,” said Michael Miebach, President, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard. “MasterCard has been a firm supporter of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) ( Cashless Policy ( as we share a vision of a world beyond cash. From the program’s inception, we have provided the Federal Government of Nigeria with global insights and best practices on how electronic payments can enable economic growth and create a more financially inclusive economy”.

Chris ‘E Onyemenam, the Director General and Chief Executive of the National Identity Management Commission, said “We have chosen MasterCard to be the payment technology provider for the initial rollout of the National Identity Smart Card project because the Company has shown a commitment to furthering financial inclusion through the reduction of cash in the Nigerian economy.” He added “MasterCard has pioneered large scale card schemes that combine biometric functionality with electronic payments and we want to capitalize on their experience in this field to make our program rollout a sustainable success for the country and for the continent.”

“Access Bank’s involvement in this project is testament to our ongoing efforts to expand financial inclusion in Nigeria,” said Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, CEO of Access Bank. “The new identity card will revolutionize the Nigerian economic landscape, breaking down one of the most significant barriers to financial inclusion – proof of identity, while simultaneously providing Nigerians with a world class payment solution”.

“Unified Payments is the foremost transaction processor and pioneer of EMV processing and acquiring in Nigeria, owned by leading Nigerian banks. We will use our expertise and experience to guarantee the success of the project and ensure that the data of Nigerians are protected. We look forward to working with other partners in delivering value to all stakeholders”, said Agada Apochi, Managing Director and CEO, Unified Payments.

The new National Identity Smart Card will incorporate the unique National Identification Numbers (NIN) of duly registered persons in the country. The enrollment process involves the recording of an individual’s demographic data and biometric data (capture of 10 fingerprints, facial picture and digital signature) that are used to authenticate the cardholder and eliminate fraud and embezzlement. The resultant National Identity Database will provide the platform for several other value propositions of the NIMC including identity authentication and verification.

Thanks to the unique and unambiguous identification of individuals under the NIMS, other identification card schemes like the Driver’s License, Voters Registration, Health Insurance, Tax, SIM and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) will benefit and can all be integrated, using the NIN, into the multi-function Card Scheme of the NIMS. When fully utilizing the card as a prepaid payment tool, the cardholder can deposit funds on the card, receive social benefits, pay for goods and services at any of the 35 million MasterCard acceptance locations globally, withdraw cash from all ATMs that accept MasterCard, or engage in many other financial transactions that are facilitated by electronic payments. All in a secure and convenient environment enabled by the EMV Chip and Pin standard.

Upon completion of the National ID registration process, NIMC aims to introduce more than 100 million cards to Nigeria’s 167 million ( citizens.



MasterCard Worldwide

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Kenya’s Newest Payments Innovation: Equity and Google launch Electronic Payments

Posted on 30 April 2013 by Africa Business

Consumers can enjoy quick and easy cashless bus ticketing with BebaPay: convenient for

passengers and operators

About BebaCard

BebaPay is an Equity product regulated by CBK, powered using technology by Google, a global leader in technology who bring their expertise in mobile and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

About Equity Bank

Equity Bank commenced business in Kenya on registration in 1984.It has evolved from a small Building Society, a Microfinance Institution; to currently the all-inclusive financial services provider which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and Uganda Securities Exchange.

Equity Bank Group is one of the region’s leading banks whose purpose is to transform the lives and livelihoods of the people of Africa socially and economically by availing them modern, inclusive financial services that maximize their opportunities. While the Equity brand is associated with empowerment of un-banked & the poorly banked segment of population, the Bank has evolved to become an all-inclusive bank for all. With nearly 8 million accounts, Equity Bank is the largest bank in the region in terms of customer base. The Bank has operations in Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

About Google Inc.

Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin,Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more information, visit and our Google Africa Blog:  You can also follow Google’s Africa team on Twitter:



Nairobi, 30th May 2013: Equity and Google today announced BebaPay, Kenya’s newest cashless innovation to make payments easy and more convenient for consumers and merchants. With BebaPay, bus passengers can sign up for a card and top up for free at Equity agents. Customers can also top up their cards via mobile money. BebaPay helps to overcome the problem of using cash and receiving the correct change when paying for public transport on the bus or “matatu”.  BebaPay is the first payments system of its kind for Kenya.

BebaPay makes it easy to pay for your bus fare and helps you budget and track your spending.  All you do is swipe your card on the card reader in order to pay. You also get free SMS receipts and the BebaPay website makes it easy to budget and manage your expenses on your mobile or computer.  You can get a BebaPay card for yourself, family members or co-workers.  Bus conductors can use BebaPay on a Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled Android phone to accept payments from BebaPay smart cards.

Dr James Mwangi, CEO, Equity Bank, says that “The BebaPay card is a first for Kenya and will change the transport industry when it comes to payment. It is a convenient local payment solution that makes it easy to budget and manage one’s expenses on a mobile phone or computer”.

“Research showed that technology could help bus operators and passengers to ease the process of ticketing, so we’re pleased that Nairobi commuters can now enjoy the advantages of BebaPay”, says Joe Mucheru, Google Kenya Country Manager.  “Using NFC is part of Google’s efforts to improve transactions for both businesses and consumers. NFC makes it easier for people to pay for goods and services, and gives merchants extra ways to connect with their customers using technology and the Internet”.

Lucia Atieno, a daily commuter who has been using BebaPay card for over 6 months, said “I now spend less on bus fares, since I can plan in advance how much money I need for a particular period of time. The conductors never leave with my change, which used to happen a lot if I forgot to as ask for it.  Greatest of all, no more chunks of paper in my handbag in the name of receipts!

Equity Bank and Google will be using affordable NFC-enabled Android devices that are available in Kenya and can be used for BebaPay.  Currently BebaPay is only available at key bus stops such as Kencom House. Equity Bank is working on rolling out BebaPay to more locations over time.

Note: Android is a trademark of Google Inc.


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IMF Executive Board Concludes 2012 Article IV Consultation with Cape Verde

Posted on 24 April 2013 by Africa Business

PRAIA, Cape Verde, April 24, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ On March 8, 2013, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Cape Verde.1


After recovering in 2010, Cape Verde’s growth slowed in 2011 and 2012, reflecting the difficult external environment and weak domestic demand. Growth is estimated at 4.3 percent in 2012, with foreign direct investment (FDI) having fallen significantly and confidence indicators across several sectors waning. However, tourism has remained resilient and remittances have held up well. The overall balance of payments is expected to move into surplus in 2012, aided by a significant narrowing of the current account deficit owing to strong tourism receipts and weaker imports. Accordingly, reserves are estimated to have stabilized at an estimated 3.8 months of current year imports (staff estimate 3.3 months of prospective imports). This outturn was aided by an adjustment of fiscal policy in 2012, particularly capital spending, in support of the monetary policy tightening that began in late 2011. Average inflation was well contained in 2012 at 2½ percent. Fiscal deficits have increased over recent years as the authorities have ramped up public investment on infrastructure, partly as a countercyclical policy response to the global crisis. Debt service indicators remain sustainable, although public debt levels have continued to increase, reaching elevated levels.

Cape Verde is likely to face a more difficult external environment in 2013, especially with near zero growth forecast in the euro area. Growth is expected to slow to 4.1 percent. Competition in tourism is intensifying as North African markets recover. The growth of private remittances is slowing, driven by economic stagnation in euro area countries. The prospects for higher private capital flows, including FDI, are dimmed by weaknesses in Europe. Likewise, concessional assistance flows are also under stress with the fiscal adjustment underway in Europe.

On the structural front, government’s reforms focus on rebuilding the tax administration and reforming tax policy, improving oversight over the financial system, strengthening monetary operations, and enhancing the governance of state owned enterprises to reduce fiscal risks and improve their service delivery to help boost competitiveness of the economy.

Executive Board Assessment

Executive Directors commended the authorities’ strong track record of prudent macroeconomic management, which has increased the economy’s resilience to shocks, supported economic growth, and advanced progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. They stressed that the difficult external outlook and fiscal and external vulnerabilities call for continued efforts to strengthen macroeconomic buffers, and to foster inclusive growth while preserving external sustainability.

Directors commended the authorities’ efforts to upgrade the infrastructure, using concessional assistance, but noted that the rising public debt could pose risks to debt sustainability. They therefore welcomed the authorities’ intention to undertake medium-term fiscal consolidation beginning in 2013, and advised that it be implemented in a growth-friendly manner. Directors looked forward to the planned reform of tax policy and tax administration to reverse the recent decline in tax revenue relative to GDP. They encouraged restraint on capital spending and more focus on improving the quality of public investment. They also pressed for rationalization of current spending and reforms to improve the operational efficiency and financial position of loss-making state-owned enterprises.

Directors agreed that the current tight monetary stance is appropriate, given the need to further increase reserves to a more comfortable level. They encouraged measures to strengthen the monetary transmission mechanism, including more active liquidity management, better liquidity forecasting, and reforms to increase the efficiency of the interbank market and develop the government securities market.

Directors noted staff’s assessment that the real effective exchange rate is broadly aligned with economic fundamentals. While higher reserve coverage would support the peg, Directors also called for steadfast pursuit of structural reforms to improve the business environment and boost productivity and competiveness. They welcomed in this regard the Third Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, which provides a sound basis for higher and more inclusive growth.

Directors welcomed the recent measures taken to safeguard financial stability, including the drafting of new banking legislation, improvements to the regulatory and supervisory framework, and the establishment of a Financial Stability Committee. In light of rising non-performing loan ratios, they encouraged the authorities to continue to strengthen supervisory capacity and to accelerate implementation of the FSAP recommendations.


Cape Verde: Selected Economic and Financial Indicators, 2011–16


2011    2012    2013    2014    2015    2016


Est.    Projections


National accounts and prices

Real GDP

5.0    4.3    4.1    4.5    4.7    5.0

Real GDP per capita

3.6    2.9    2.7    3.1    3.3    3.6

GDP deflator

3.9    3.5    3.5    3.1    3.1    3.0

Consumer price index (annual average)

4.5    2.5    4.0    3.3    2.8    2.5

Consumer price index (end of period)

3.6    4.1    3.5    3.1    2.5    2.5

External sector

Exports of goods and services

17.3    10.7    9.0    7.6    7.9    7.3

Of which: tourism

26.5    10.6    6.5    9.2    9.1    9.0

Imports of goods and services

17.9    0.1    10.4    0.5    0.1    2.3

Money and credit 1

Net foreign assets

-4.2    0.9    1.4    0.3    2.1    1.1

Net domestic assets

6.5    3.8    5.1    5.5    5.3    6.1

Net claims on the central government

3.0    1.2    0.8    0.5    0.2    0.2

Credit to the economy

6.3    1.7    4.3    5.8    5.8    6.9

Broad money (M2)

2.2    4.6    6.5    5.8    7.5    7.1

Reserve money (M0)

-1.3    4.3    1.6    1.4    1.8    1.7

Savings and investment

Domestic savings

20.5    21.8    21.9    23.2    24.6    25.9


2.8    0.1    2.3    -3.1    -2.2    1.4


17.7    21.7    19.6    26.3    26.8    24.5

National investment

36.5    32.9    35.2    34.5    33.0    32.0


9.9    7.6    9.9    8.4    5.8    4.0


26.6    25.3    25.3    26.1    27.2    28.0

Savings-investment balance

-16.0    -11.1    -13.2    -11.4    -8.3    -6.1


-7.1    -7.5    -7.5    -11.5    -8.0    -2.5


-8.9    -3.6    -5.7    0.2    -0.3    -3.5

External sector

External current account (excluding official transfers)

-19.6    -13.5    -15.2    -11.4    -8.3    -6.1

External current account (including official transfers)

-16.0    -11.1    -13.2    -11.4    -8.3    -6.1

Overall balance of payments

-2.3    1.5    1.1    0.3    1.9    1.3

Gross international reserves (months of prospective imports of goods and services)

3.2    3.3    3.3    3.4    3.6    3.8

Gross international reserves (months of current year imports of goods and services)

3.2    3.8    3.3    3.4    3.7    3.9

Government finance


25.0    21.8    24.9    25.6    25.5    24.3

Tax and nontax revenue

22.2    19.4    22.1    21.9    22.4    22.4


2.8    2.4    2.8    3.6    3.1    1.9


32.3    29.3    32.5    31.5    27.6    24.1

Overall balance (excl. grants)

-10.1    -9.9    -10.4    -9.6    -5.2    -1.7

Overall balance (incl. grants)

-7.3    -7.5    -7.6    -5.8    -2.2    0.2

External financing

9.4    9.1    11.8    8.2    5.3    1.0

Domestic financing (incl. onlending)

-0.7    -1.6    -4.2    -2.4    -3.1    -1.2

Errors and omissions

-1.4    0.0    0.0    0.0    0.0    0.0

Public debt stock and service

Total nominal government debt

77.3    81.0    88.6    92.2    92.1    85.6

External government debt

56.1    59.8    67.4    71.4    72.0    68.2

Domestic government debt

21.2    21.2    21.2    20.8    20.0    17.4

External debt service (percent of exports of goods and services)

4.2    4.6    4.6    4.8    4.6    4.3

Memorandum items:

Nominal GDP (billions of Cape Verde escudos)

150.8    162.8    175.4    189.1    204.2    220.8

Gross international reserves (€ millions, end of period)

263.3    300.0    302.7    308.3    342.6    369.5


Sources: Cape Verdean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

1 Adjusted for data inconsistency in December 2011.

1 Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here:



International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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South Africa’s mobile money industry remains innovative and diverse

Posted on 22 April 2013 by Africa Business

Mobile Money Africa returns to Johannesburg in May

South Africa remains one of the most diverse regions in Africa for its proliferation of successful mobile money business models being championed by banks, MNOs (mobile network operators), third party providers and retailers.  This is according to Emma Pearce, director of the upcoming, annual Mobile Money Africa conference and exhibition, which will again gather the continent’s leading industry experts in Johannesburg from 28-29 May.

Says Emma:  “We have seen some of the most compelling mobile payments case studies come from South Africa and the market continues to reinvent itself and innovate its offerings.  Johannesburg is the perfect backdrop for Mobile Money Africa, as it is one of the foremost economic hubs of Southern Africa: a melting pot of business models and market leaders.  The event will challenge preconceptions regarding mobile money in Africa and introduce innovators driving the marketplace forward.”

South Africa is a tough market
Brian Richardson, WIZZIT CEO, and a mobile money industry pioneer from South Africa tells us that a recent development which has been “incredibly exciting” is the level of interest from banks in emerging markets.  He explains:  “up until now, the stance of many banks has been to wait and see and as we are all aware, they have had many other pressing priorities to address.  There is an enormous amount of ‘noise’ in the mobile banking space and a lot of unsubstantiated hype which causes confusion for everyone.”

He continues:  “South Africa is a tough market – dominated by four very large and very powerful entities.  It is also an interesting market in that not only has the market grown up with a card paradigm, but South Africa has a very well developed card acquiring infrastructure.  This is not typically the case in other emerging markets where the opportunity of leap frogging the card paradigm is very much more real.  A mobile acquiring infrastructure for a start can be deployed at a fraction of the cost.”

Mobile always supported by card
Brian believes that in South Africa mobile will always be supported by card (or vice versa) “but as one entity will vouch for, it will be very difficult to ignore card totally.  We have believed that the two channels can work together.  According to Finscope, the number of people using mobile banking has almost doubled in the past year which is very encouraging indeed.  By contrast, the number of people using internet banking increased by 1%.  The challenge in South Africa remains at the unbanked level and much work remains to be done.  Mobile can certainly play a role in this.”

Brian is a speaker at the Mobile Money Africa event which will bring together some 400 industry leaders from the entire spectrum of the industry, including retailers, regulators, banks, MNOs, microfinance institutions, donor agencies and NGOs to discuss collaboration, moving the market forward and the different business models for the industry.

Says the WIZZIT CEO:  “at the end of the day, the product or service offering has to meet the needs and demands of the market; it has to be affordable; and it has to meet the financial and strategic objectives of the service provider.  There are still today question marks as to the business case around mobile money but there is no doubt about the potential in the industry.  Mobile banking has proved over the last few years that it has a place and that it is here to stay.”

More programme highlights at Mobile Money Africa this year:

· Betty Mwangi-Thuo, Chief Officer – New Products, Safaricom

· Habil Olaka, CEO, Kenya Bankers Association

· Albert Matongela, Leader – Southern Africa Development Community Bankers Association Payment Project (SADC BA Payment Project), FNB Namibia

· Francis Matseketsa, EcoCash Executive, Econet Services

· Ngoni Simelane, Head: Technology & Innovation; Beyond Payments, Standard Bank

· Eli Hini, Mobile Money Commercial Senior Manager, MTN Ghana

· Vanesha Palani, Head: Channel Management; Nedbank Digital, Nedbank

· Lowell Campbell, Branchless/Agent Banking, Standard Bank Africa

· Yolande van Wyk, CEO – eWallet Solutions, FNB Retail

· Charles Inwani, Regional Cash And Voucher Programme Officer, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

Event dates:

Mobile Money Academy pre-conference workshop:  27 May
Conference days:  28-29 May
Post conference site visit:  30 May

Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa


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IMF Concludes Article IV Consultation Mission to Ghana

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Africa Business

ACCRA, Ghana, April 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Christina Daseking, visited Accra during April 2-12, 2013, to conduct discussions for the 2013 Article IV consultations. The mission met with President Mahama, Vice-President Amissah-Arthur, Finance Minister Terkper, Bank of Ghana Governor Wampah, other senior officials, members of parliament, and representatives of the private sector, think tanks, trade unions, and civil society.

At the end of the mission, Ms. Daseking issued the following statement:

“Economic growth continued at a robust pace of 8 percent in 2012 amid rising fiscal and external imbalances. A growing public sector wage bill, costly energy subsidies, and higher interest cost, pushed the fiscal deficit to about 12 percent of GDP. The external current account deficit also widened to 12 percent of GDP, while unadjusted fuel and energy prices and a tightening of monetary policy helped keep inflation in single digits.

“The growth momentum has continued into 2013, with rising inflation pressures. While activity in the non-oil sector is dampened by energy disruptions and high interest rates, increased oil production should keep overall economic growth close to 8 percent. A weaker outlook for cocoa and gold exports will leave the current account deficit around 12 percent of GDP. The mission projects a reduction in the fiscal deficit to 10 percent of GDP this year, about 1 percent higher than the budget projections, assuming a delayed adjustment in utility tariffs.

“Despite Ghana’s strong economic potential, short-term stability risks have risen. Ghana’s strong democratic institutions and favorable prospects for oil and gas continue to attract significant foreign direct investment (FDI). Yet, low external buffers and a rising domestic debt ratio expose the economy to risks, such as weaker terms of trade, reduced capital inflows, or unanticipated spending needs. Energy sector problems could curtail growth, while excessive government domestic borrowing is raising the cost of credit to the private sector. Both factors have been identified as key growth constraints in Ghana. The mission’s still positive assessment of the economy is contingent on the authorities’ resolve to confront these challenges decisively.

“The mission strongly supports the government’s ambitious transformation agenda, centered on economic diversification, shared growth and job creation, and macroeconomic stability. Rebuilding buffers to safeguard stability is now the immediate priority. This requires lower budget deficits to contain external pressures and keep debt sustainable. In due course, this will also allow for a reduction in interest rates. Going forward, successful economic transformation will require a realignment of spending, away from wages and subsidies toward infrastructure investment.

“A ballooning wage bill, if untamed, will bring debt to levels that could endanger the government’s transformation agenda. The wage bill in 2012 rose by 47 percent, with much of the factors explaining the increase not yet quantified. In addition, deferred wage payments from the single spine salary reform were twice the level included in the supplementary budget. The mission urged the government to gain control over the wage bill. It recommended a thorough audit of the 2012 payroll and welcomes that the government has already started this process.

“The government’s deficit target of 6 percent of GDP by 2015 will keep public debt high and buffers low. The mission recommended an additional fiscal adjustment of 3 percent of GDP by 2015, using a combination of revenue and expenditure measures. This would lessen the public debt burden and raise official reserves toward the authorities’ target of more than 4 months of imports—up from 2.8 months currently. This target is consistent with the mission’s own analysis of optimal reserves, which suggests that a cover of 4.2 months of imports would provide a reasonable cushion against plausible shocks.

“The mission shared the Bank of Ghana’s views on keeping a tight monetary policy stance, for the time being. Both actual inflation and inflation expectations have risen recently, with upside risks from the sharp increase in government borrowing. To strengthen the signaling role of the policy rate within the inflation-targeting framework, the mission recommended narrowing the gap with current market rates. Successful fiscal consolidation will allow an easing of interest rates in due course, provided inflation expectations decline to levels consistent with the achievement of the target.

“On its return to Washington D.C., the team will prepare a staff report that is tentatively scheduled to be discussed by the IMF’s Executive Board in mid-June.”



International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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“Mobile money is not just money transfer. To bring real and impactful financial services to the unbanked, one needs a platform that supports the whole ecosystem of mobile money services.”

Posted on 13 April 2013 by Africa Business

Exclusive interview with Yves Eonnet, CEO of Tagattitude,
exhibitor at the upcoming Mobile Money Africa
from 27-39 May in Johannesburg.

1) Which mobile money projects/products that Tagattitude is currently involved with are you most excited about?

We have today more than 35 projects we are working on. It is very hard to tell which one is the most exciting, they all are in their own way. Each one of our partners is using the TagPay platform in a unique way—our platform is modular and includes a powerful back end and very user friendly front end with so many different ways to offer mobile financial services. It is always exciting when the TagPay platform is used to offer a service that will have an important and impact on access to financial services through an innovative approach. One such project that I am currently very excited about is a project in West Africa where our TagPay platform will redesign and dramatically improve all the processes involved in microfinance operations. Another exciting, but very different project is with the leading telecom operator in a Central African country. It hasn’t been announced yet so I cannot say who it is but it is very exciting to work with a telecom operator with a very ambitious vision for their market.

2) What are your current business interests in Africa?

Mobile money market is emerging everywhere. In Africa the cell phones will be increasingly relied upon to deliver financial services to the unbanked. Financial inclusion is the driving force of all our customers. The business interest is huge because a completely new kind of banking business is being built. We are working with many existing and new financial actors who have purchased the TagPay platform to be able to offer a portfolio of financial services to their customers which are accessed using their mobile devices.

3)      Which regions are you most focused on?

East and West Africa are the most dynamic in our experience, but the south of the continent is becoming very active too and we are beginning to see activity in the north of Africa as well. The whole continent seems to be moving towards mobile money although each approach and strategy is unique. We also have some activities in Latin America. We are beginning to see a need for our platform and technology in Europe as well, especially since NFC continues to stagnate. However, the types of services that use TagPay in Europe are going to be very different from what we have been working on in Africa.

4)      What do you think are the most challenging aspects of being in the mobile money industry?

I believe that there are two major challenges facing the mobile money industry at this stage. The first has to do with interoperability. As markets and services mature, it is obvious that users of one service will need to be able to transact with users of another service. We have built a platform that will facilitate interoperability for our partners but the technology is only one part of what needs to be in place to solve this challenge.

The second challenge has to do with mobile payment. P2P transfers are a good start but people need to be able to use their mobile money to pay in stores and on websites. This requires a technology and user experience that is secure, fast, anonymous, and guarantees the physical presence of the cell phone to ensure nonrepudiation. Technologies like NSDT make this possible but very few platforms use this technology.

5)      What is your vision for this technology?
A successful mobile money service has to be built on a solid platform that includes the right technologies. Different technologies and approaches are suited to different types of transactions, cultures, and other factors. or amobile money deployment to succeed in Africa the technology must be extremely user friendly, cost effective and available on any existing phone. This is what our NSDT technology is all about. It secures transactions in stores and on websites using sound to guarantee the physical presence of the cell phone that is paying. It is as simple as answering a phone call and doesn’t impose any telecom costs on the users. Our vision is that NSDT technology will become the norm for point of sale and ecommerce mobile payments and that existing mobile money services will purchase the payment gateway layer of the TagPay platform to be able to add mobile payments in stores to their service offering.

6)      What surprises you about this industry?
The technologies we are using are making bankarization viral in a way that it was never able to be with cards. People now can be enrolled in a banking system just because they own a cell phone. This is a revolution.

7)      What will be your message at Mobile Money Africa?

Mobile money is not just money transfer. To bring real and impactful financial services to the unbanked one needs a platform that supports the whole ecosystem of mobile money services.  A service has to offer at least 10 financial services:  P2P transfer is important but not enough. Mobile money needs to allow people to pay in stores, pay on websites, pay bills, buy airtime, access savings, receive salaries, pay taxes, receive pensions, pay for TV and other subscriptions, receive and pay back loans, access insurance services … everything that can increase the fluidity of financial exchanges for the people and allow them to use their mobile money everywhere for everything. This is what our TagPay platform allows you to bring to your market.

8)      Why did you decide to exhibit at the event, what are you hoping to achieve?
The south of the African continent is starting to deploy mobile money services and we are right in the middle of it. The first step (P2P money transfer) is on its way. It is the right timing to bring all the additional services that Tagpay provides. We believe South Africa is a very important location to meet with all the new players that are working on these programs.

9)      Anything you would like to add?

Cell phones have dramatically improved the fluidity of information sharing between people – this was the very first step of the cell phone revolution. Our goal with TagPay is to allow people, employers, bankers, MFIs, governments, insurers,  suppliers… to be able to share money securely with people  just like  we share information today. This is key for social and economic development. TagPay is a tool to generate growth by accelerating the speed and the security of financial exchanges. Our goal with TagPay is to spread mobile money all over the continent.

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“What is incredibly exciting is the level of interest from banks in emerging markets.”

Posted on 13 April 2013 by Africa Business

Exclusive interview with Brian Richardson, founding director and CEO, WIZZIT, South Africa, industry pioneer and regular speaker at Mobile Money Africa.

1) What projects that you are involved with currently are you most excited about?

As pioneers in financial inclusion and leaders in mobile banking, there is not much rest for us. What is incredibly exciting is the level of interest from banks in emerging markets. Up until now, the stance of many banks has been to wait and see and as we are all aware, they have had many other pressing priorities to address. There is an enormous amount of “noise” in the mobile banking space and a lot of unsubstantiated hype which causes confusion for everyone.

At the end of the day, the product or service offering has to meet the needs and demands of the market; it has to be affordable; and it has to meet the financial and strategic objectives of the service provider. There are still today question marks as to the business case around mobile money but there is no doubt about the potential in the industry. Mobile banking has proved over the last few years that it has a place and that it is here to stay.

Banks seem to understand that they have to be participants in this space or they will lose ground, particularly in the payments space, to “outsiders” which would include Network Operators and other third parties. Once this is lost, could or would the banks ever be able to recover? The biggest cost therefore for the banks is to do nothing. Having made the decision ”not to do nothing” the question is then – what do they do?

There are several options: they can partner with an MNO (Mobile Network Operator). This has its challenges as has been proven. A “partnership” between the two has not been proven to be successful as culturally they are very different and the margins are so small that there really is not enough in it to excite either.

A further problem for the bank is that if it partner with MNO “A” in the provision of mobile money services, this is all very well and good for the banks customers who happen to be subscribers to “A”.  Simple question – what happens to subscribers of network “B” and ‘C” and even “D”. Does the bank have to go and strike up partnerships/relationships with each of the other network operators each with their unique issues and integration challenges?

More importantly, our findings and experience with 7 years practical experience and many millions of customers, is that the consumer wants more than a payments channel and a convenient way to buy airtime. They want to be financially included (not payments included) and have access to savings, loans, micro-insurance, etc. Only banks are in a position to offer this.

Much of our work apart from technical development is in strategically working with our partner banks – and potential partners, to work through this complex ecosystem. This in itself is incredibly dynamic and challenging. As you well know, the challenge of financial inclusion is not solved through technology. This is purely the enabler and I think it fair to say that the failures we have seen have been probably as a result of a focus on technology.

The ongoing debate around NFC is interesting and I feel that perhaps it is too early for emerging markets. Let’s see what happens in the developed markets first is my view.

A further topic is the interoperability issue. I think that there is a growing acceptance that for Mobile Banking to really gain traction there has to be interoperability – this is for the benefit of all despite fierce opposition from certain parties.

Finally the critically important “regulation”. Increasingly we are seeing the adoption of a “risk based” approach but there is ever increasing pressure from government to meet United Nations Millennium Development goals around financial inclusion. By all accounts, most countries in emerging markets are way behind where they should be.

2) You are considered one of the pioneers in the sector, what is South Africa’s legacy in Mobile Money?

South Africa is a tough market – dominated by four very large and very powerful entities. It is also an interesting market in that not only has the market grown up with a “card” paradigm, but South Africa has a very well developed card acquiring infrastructure. This is not typically the case in other emerging markets where the opportunity of “leap frogging” the card paradigm is very much more real. A mobile acquiring infrastructure for a start can be deployed at a fraction of the cost.

In South Africa, I feel that Mobile will always be supported by card (or vice versa) but as one entity will vouch for, it will be very difficult to ignore card totally. We have believed that the two channels can work together.  According to Finscope, the number of people using Mobile Banking has almost doubled in the past year which is very encouraging indeed. By contrast, the number of people using internet banking increased by 1 %.  The challenge in South Africa remains at the unbanked level and much work remains to be done. Mobile can certainly play a role in this.

3) What is your vision for this industry?

My vision since launch has been to utilize mobile to bank the unbanked of the world. I believe that Mobile is here to stay and will be the driving force and enabler behind branchless banking.

4) What surprises you about this industry?

What surprises me most is how many people think that it is easy. Expectations have been built to unrealistic levels from the ‘hype” that has been generated and of course people are going to be disappointed and let down. I think the lack of passion and enthusiasm around financial inclusion is a surprise given the enormous potential in the segment of the market.

I think that the lack of visible support from government and regulators is surprising given the high priority that this has as a key goal for the Millennium Development Goals. Many are all saying the right things but not much real tangible measurable actions and perhaps the strategy of “forcing the banks” to be all things to all people is not the right way to go. No business on earth, including banks, can successfully be all things to all people and effectively service the needs of all segments of the market. It cannot be done. Paying lip service to financial inclusion does not solve the problem either. My biggest surprise after all these years is the huge amount of time and effort we all have to spend on educating the market about the costs, dangers and inconvenience of cash.

5) Can you give us a sneak preview of your presentation/message at the upcoming Mobile Money Africa in Johannesburg in May?

No doubt that I will be throwing out my fair bit of controversy, which I do not expect everyone to agree with but hopefully will be the stimulus for lively discussion and debate. One thing I will continue to try and do is to put some balance and reality behind the hype. Financial inclusion is not a quick fix business. It is about long term patient capital with passionate, enthusiastic and committed people.

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