Five things to know to start your Friday

GTCO, HabariPay Ltd get CBN’s approval

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved HabariPay Limited, a wholly-owned payment subsidiary of the Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO)’s application to operate as a payment company.

According to information made available on the GTCO Plc website, HabariPay is the first mobile platform in Nigeria created by a financial institution that focuses on enabling people’s needs and lifestyles rather than providing a limited bouquet of regular banking products.

In a letter sent to the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Segun Agbaje, Group Executive Officer of GTCO Plc, believes that with the introduction of HabariPay, the payment services experience will be enhanced, creating more exciting options for customers and stakeholders.

“Payments are central to the development of financial services globally and represent a key growth area for the group. GTCO Plc has been at the forefront of delivering cutting-edge innovative solutions with its banking franchise and would leverage this capacity to transform the evolving payment space. With HabariPay, we have successfully created another pathway towards enhancing the service experience for our customers and creating more value for our stakeholders.” he said.

Agbaje believes that HabariPay will help to translate the dream of making financial payments across the African continent more digital.

Outside making financial payments more digital, the company hopes to leverage the technological edge of HabariPay to capture “underserved markets in support of the CBN financial inclusion drive”.


Crude oil prices edge higher

London Brent and WTI crude futures consolidated their gains above the $117.20 threshold following a consensus agreement among OPEC+ members to supply more crude oil to the market.

During the early hours of yesterday, analysts and investors had anticipated a drop in crude oil prices following fears that the body (OPEC+) may not arrive at a consensus about how to replace the more than one million barrels per day coming from Russia.

Added to earlier fears about production direction, the market also reacted to pressure that Saudi Arabia (the unchallenged leader of OPEC) wanted to increase output and that US President Joe Biden’s anticipated visit to the Kingdom was aimed at putting pressure on the government to help actualize this supply surplus.

It was eventually agreed that OPEC+ would raise output by a larger-than-expected 648,000bps in July and August even though it was not enough to match Russia’s output.


Read also: Diesel, aviation fuel users feel the pinch

Africa’s COVID deaths to fall by 94% in 2022, WHO analysis shows

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that it expects the number of COVID-19-related deaths in Africa to fall by nearly 94 percent this year.

In its latest report made available on Thursday, the organization said that the 94 percent drop in COVID-19-related death in the continent is a remarkable improvement from the 2021 record where COVID-19 was adjudged the seventh major cause of death behind malaria.

While speaking at a virtual news conference, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Africa director, said, “Our latest analysis suggests that estimated deaths in the African region will shrink to around 60 a day in 2022. Last year, we lost an average of 970 people every day.”

WHO linked the reduction in COVID-19 deaths to an “increase in vaccination, improved pandemic response, and natural immunity from prior infections,”

Analysis from the organisation showed that richer countries in the West and southern African countries had more COVID-19 related deaths than those of most African countries, “partly due to co-morbidities that increase the risk of death,”

Accordingly, WHO said that we should expect around 23,000 deaths by the end of this year, “provided current variants and transmission patterns remain the same.”

New vaccine plant in Senegal gets 75 million euros from EIB

The European Investment Bank (EIB) on Thursday agreed to invest the sum of 75 million euros, which is approximately $80 million, to finance the construction of a new COVID-19 manufacturing vaccine facility in Senegal. The facility, which is the first of its kind, will produce vaccines for use across the African continent.

According to Reuters, the facility will be directed to reduce the continent’s dependence on imported vaccines and will be managed by the Dakar-based Institut Pasteur. The facility will also produce vaccines against yellow fever and other endemic diseases.

Sometime last year, the EIB and the European Union donated the sum of five million euros for feasibility studies and project preparation, based on which the choice of Senegal was adjudged the best option for this project.

The Macky Sall government and the Institut Pasteur are hopeful that the facility will begin vaccine production before the end of this year.

The EIB said that the facility is designed to produce up to 300 million vaccines per year when at full capacity.

Wall Street bounces back from two-day loss

The apex equities, bonds, and other regulated financial instruments trading in the United States of America regained strength after closing down its two-day loss.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained exactly 435 basis points, or 1.33 percent, to close at 33,248.28 basis points on Thursday, while the S&P 500 gained 75.59 basis points, or 1.84 percent, to close at 4,176.82 basis points.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq, which is worth more than $25 billion according to, gained 2.54bps, or 1.67 percent, to close at 154 basis points.

Investors’ attention to the earnings reports of some of the blue chip companies and watching how these companies would respond to global supply changes could have been responsible for the increased buy trade on the floor of the respective exchanges.

According to tradingeconomics, “growth stocks were among the top performers despite a sour outlook from market bellwether Microsoft and fears of rising borrowing costs.” “Tesla and Meta surged by roughly 5 percent, and other tech giants such as Amazon and Alphabet gained over 3 percent.”

Meanwhile, Microsoft shares came under a sell-pressure attack after the company’s management told investors that they should brace up for a likely miss of earnings and revenue targets this second quarter.

Finally, the entire financial market awaits today’s non-farm payroll as, according to analysts at tradingeconomics, a slow labour demand could ease some inflation worries.

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