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FG, AfDB to create $500m innovation fund for tech, creative sector

…As CBN gets set to licence payment service banks

By Peter Egwuatu & Nkiruka Nnorom

THE Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, disclosed that the Federal Government is in talks with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to create $500 million innovation fund for technology and creative sector.

Osinbajo
VP Osinbajo

Meanwhile, the outgoing President of African Securities Exchanges Association, ASEA, Mr. Oscar Onyema, said that strategic relationships of African exchanges have resulted in grants worth approximately USD 1.2 million from the Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa and the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) fund through the Africa Development Bank (AfDB).

He said the grants received are targeted at the African Exchanges Linkage Project (AELP), ASEA secondment programme and information portal and annual conferences.

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In her key note address, Ms. Arunma Oteh, Vice President and Treasurer, World Bank, charged African Exchanges to increase their support for Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, with a view to attracting more of them for listing.

Specifically, she charged them to target 45,000 small companies, which represent 0.10 percent of 44 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, in Africa.

She said: “The many Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises that we have, about 44 million MSMEs. So, if you have pipeline of 41 percent of that you plan for listing that will be 44,000 African companies that could make theirs to African exchanges. Smes are sure drivers of economic development, innovation and employment, but one of their greatest challenges is access to finance. There is important attention that securities exchanges around the world, including Africa can support SMEs. I am looking to see how African exchanges can extend more support to Smes so that we can more pipeline of companies that can listed on the exchanges in Africa.”

Speaking at the 22nd  African Securities Exchanges Association, ASEA Annual Conference in Lagos, with the theme: Champions on the   Rise: Africa’s Ascension to a More Sustainable Future , Osinbajo said :”The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN will soon issue license for Payments Service Bank, PSBs  to further deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria and achieve the 2020 target.

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He further charged ASEA   to assist technology start ups to find resources they need to promote and roll out their businesses as funding has been their great challenge.

Commenting, Osinbajo said: “We are accordingly working with the AfDB to establish a $500 million innovation fund for technology and creative sector as    this will support activity in these sectors. Given the size of our economy and the potential of technology and creative segment I am hopeful that capital market operators will work towards innovative financing solutions to lend further support to these two sectors.”

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