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FINTECH IN SOUTH AFRICA: ACCELERATING THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF BANKING & FINANCIAL SERVICES

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FINTECH IN SOUTH AFRICA: ACCELERATING THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF BANKING & FINANCIAL SERVICES

The impact of Blockchain, AI, Mobile Money, Digital Wallets and Payment innovations are radically transforming the financial services landscape as FinTech disruptors intensify the challenge to Incumbent Banks in Africa and kickstart new growth opportunities

Africa’s financial services landscape continues its dynamic evolution as the rapid growth of FinTech on the continent drives both the disruption and leapfrogging of legacy systems and further accelerates the digital transformation of financial services. In South Africa, the major banks are rapidly ramping-up their own innovation strategies and collaborating with new game-changing start-ups to drive efficiencies, make digital profitable and capture new markets.

South Africa’s FinTech adoption rate is expected to experience a major leap over the next few years. EY’s annual FinTech Adoption Index Report 2017 forecasted 71% growth, with the country ranking third in future growth behind only China and India. There is a greater number of technology hubs in South Africa than any other country on the continent and the country enjoys a more significant amount of national and international investment in the sector. South Africa’s Reserve Bank has created a team dedicated to monitor the latest FinTech developments in the key areas of payments, lending, deposit-taking, investments and insurance, which will report directly to the Deputy Governor. South Africa is clearly in the midst of one of the most exciting phases of innovation and disruption in the financial sector.

The hugely successful events in our Finnovation Africa Series in Uganda and Ethiopia in 2017 saw more than 500 thought leaders, FinTech pioneers, bankers, investors and government policymakers representing the foremost financial institutions from across the continent gather to address how FinTech can contribute to the positive and profitable transformation of financial services in Africa.Against this dynamic backdrop, Ethico Live! is now excited to announce the expansion of the series with the launch of Finnovation Africa: South Africa 2018, which will be held on the 6thof June 2018 at the Radisson Blu Gautrain, Johannesburg. The event will seek to harness the FinTech revolution to boost strategic economic priorities such as financial inclusion and deepening – and how FinTech can make a positive and profitable difference in Africa.

With a focus on the most significant technologies driving the financial services paradigm shift, including Blockchain, Banking & AI, Payments innovation,and Mobile Money& Digital Wallets, Finnovation Africa: South Africa 2018also features a number of innovative sessions such as The Wolves’ DenFounder’s pain points, Collaborate2Accelerate, Inside the Investor’s Mind, and live-on-stage interviews with international Finnovators and African FinTech pioneers.

Speaking at the announcement of the launch of Finnovation Africa: South Africa 2018, David McLean, President of Ethico Live, said that: “FinTech holds a particularly powerful promise for Africa especially as an enabler of key strategic priorities and the impact of new disruptive financial technologies is well placed to be genuinely socially useful, meaningfully improving how ordinary people engage with financial services and therefore deliver broader-based positive economic outcomes across the continent. FinTech also sets the bar higher for incumbent banks in terms of their own innovation agendas as the leading banks internationally and in Africa seek to make digital pay and explore collaboration opportunities with FinTech trail-blazers. We are very excited to be bringing Finnovation to the high-growth South African market and look forward to progressing discussions on the digital transformation of financial services in Africa.”

Chris Principe, international FinTech thought leader, shared some persuasive insights while speaking on the sidelines of the Finnovation Africa Series: “A very positive story, if one that is not yet well understood, is unfolding in Africa. New technology, new ideas and new business models are producing new opportunities. The distinctions between telecom services providers, payments services providers and financial institutions are breaking down. In virtually all African countries, there are sufficient numbers of mobile phones ‐ which are not necessarily smartphones ‐ for previously unbanked people to have access to high quality financial services at low cost. Innovative companies are using Blockchain technology and crypto‐currencies to resolve fundamental problems such as lack of access to electricity and lack of access to global financial markets. Finnovation Africa highlights how FinTech is transforming Africa for the better, facilitating payments, boosting financial inclusion and developing new enterprises. However, the Finnovation conference does much more than that, as it engages key stakeholders to reveal how the entire world is changing. In many ways, Africa is a FinTech leader, rather than a follower.”

Combining a highly innovative and interactive event format with world‐class speakers and more than 300 carefully selected participants, Finnovation Africa: South Africa 2018 will take place at the Radisson Blu Gautrain, Johannesburg on the 6thof June 2018andwill tackle the most pressing questions for the progress of FinTech in Africa, providing a platform for all stakeholders to engage in creating the future of financial services on the continent – from established banking powerhouses to FinTech start‐ups.

Ethico Live Limited is a UK registered company with its corporate headquarters at 110 Queen Street, Glasgow G1 3BX, UK. Focused on the digital transformation of financial services and the role that FinTech is playing in driving positive and profitable change in areas such as Payments Innovation, Blockchain, Mobile Money, Finclusion and Ethical Finance/Islamic Banking, we serve our clients in the global financial markets with high-profile international conferences – with a special focus on the exciting high-growth markets of Africa.

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Oil set for steady gains as economies shake off pandemic blues – Reuters poll

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Oil set for steady gains as economies shake off pandemic blues - Reuters poll 1

By Sumita Layek and Bharat Gautam

(Reuters) – Oil prices will stage a steady recovery this year as vaccines reach more people and speed an economic revival, with further impetus coming from stimulus and output discipline by top crude producers, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

The survey of 55 participants forecast Brent crude would average $59.07 per barrel in 2021, up from last month’s $54.47 forecast.

Brent has averaged around $58.80 so far this year.

“Travel and leisure activity look set to catch up to buoyant manufacturing activity due to the mix of stimulus, confidence, vaccines, and more targeted pandemic measures,” said Norbert Ruecker of Julius Baer.

“Against these demand dynamics, the supply side is unlikely to catch up on time, leaving the oil market in tightening mode for months to come.”

Of the 41 respondents who participated in both the February and January polls, 32 raised their forecasts.

Most analysts said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) may ease current output curbs when they meet on March 4, but would still agree to maintain supply discipline.

“With OPEC+ endeavouring to keep global oil production below demand, inventories should continue falling this year and allow prices to rise further,” said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Oil demand was seen growing by 5-7 million barrels per day in 2021, as per the poll.

However, experts said any deterioration in the COVID-19 situation and the possible lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran could hold back oil’s recovery.

The poll forecast U.S. crude to average $55.93 per barrel in 2021 versus January’s $51.42 consensus.

Analysts expect U.S. production to rise moderately this year, although new measures from U.S. President Joe Biden to tame the oil sector could curb output in the long run.

“A structural shift away from fossil fuels” may prevent oil from returning to the highs of previous decades, said Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Cailin Birch.

(Reporting by Sumita Layek and Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by Arpan Varghese, Noah Browning and Barbara Lewis)

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Japan’s jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures – Reuters poll

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Japan's jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures - Reuters poll 2

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s jobless rate is expected to have edged up in January as service industry businesses suffered renewed restrictions on movement to fight spread of the coronavirus in some areas, including Tokyo, a Reuters poll of economists showed on Friday.

While industrial production activity picked up in Japan, emergency curbs rolled out last month such as asking restaurants to close early and suspending the national travel campaign hurt the jobs market, analysts said.

The nation’s unemployment rate likely rose 3.0% in January, up from 2.9% in December, the poll of 15 economists found.

The jobs-to-applicants ratio, a gauge of the availability of jobs, was seen at 1.06 in January, unchanged from December, but stayed near September’s seven-year low of 1.03, the poll showed.

“As the impact from the coronavirus pandemic prolongs, it is hard for firms, especially the service sector, to expect their business profits to improve,” said Yusuke Shimoda, senior economist at Japan Research Institute.

“So, their willingness to hire employees appear to be subdued and it is difficult to see the jobs market recovering soon.”

Some analysts also said the government’s steps to support employment and existing labour shortages will likely prevent the jobless rate from worsening sharply.

The government will announce the labour market data at 8:30 a.m. Japan time on Tuesday (2330 GMT Monday).

Analysts expect the economy to contract in the current quarter due to the emergency measures to counter the spread of the disease.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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China’s economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 – central bank adviser

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China's economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 - central bank adviser 3

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s gross domestic product (GDP) could expand 8-9% in 2021 as it continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu Shijin, a policy adviser to the People’s Bank of China, said on Friday.

This speed of recovery would not mean China has returned to a “high-growth” period, said Liu, as it would be from a low base in 2020, when China’s economy grew 2.3%.

Analysts from HSBC this week forecast that China would grow 8.5% this year, leading the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

If 2020 and 2021’s average GDP growth is around 5%, this would be a “not bad” outcome, said Liu, speaking at an online conference.

China is set to release a government work report on March 5 which typically includes a GDP growth target for the year.

Last year’s report did not include one due to uncertainties caused by the coronavirus. Reuters previously reported that 2021’s report will also not set a target.

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Muyu Xu; Editing by Sam Holmes and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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