Standard Chartered Bank to exit Gambia, Cameroon, others
Taking into perspective the non-performance of some markets within the bank’s operational presence, Standard Chartered Bank Plc has announced plans to fully vacate some African and Middle East markets.
The bank made this decision as part of its restructuring move to reposition it for excellent service delivery and better profit opportunities.
According to a press statement released on the bank’s website, “today the Group announces a set of actions to redirect resources within its Africa and Middle East (“AME”) region to those areas where it can have the greatest scale and growth potential, in order to better support its clients.”
Some of the markets the bank is going to vacate are Sierra Leone, Gambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Cameroon, Lebanon, and Jordan.
Despite its decision to vacate some of these markets, the bank has been making an effort to have a significant presence in some of the largest and fastest-growing economies in the world, having recently opened its first branch in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and obtained preliminary approval for a banking license in the Arab Republic of Egypt.
The global banking giant, which has operations in 59 markets worldwide and has a market cap of over $15.275 billion, said the planned exits will enable it to focus resources on markets with huge potential for growth.
The bank announced that it will cease all private and business banking operations in Tanzania and the Ivory Coast, focusing solely on its corporate, commercial, and institutional banking (CCIB) operations.
The bank said that its exit from these markets is subject to regulatory approval.
Bill Winters, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Plc, has explained that the move to exit some markets while restructuring operations in others is a way to position the bank to take full advantage of growth opportunities.
As we set out earlier in the year, we are sharpening our focus on the most significant opportunities for growth while also simplifying our business. We remain excited by a number of opportunities we see in the AME region, as illustrated by our new markets, but remain disciplined in our assessment of where we can deliver significantly improved shareholder returns. ” He said
Collectively, our actions will position the AME franchise for the next phase of growth after a very strong 2021 performance. We are grateful to our colleagues and partners in each of these impacted markets for their hard work and dedication and are committed to supporting them through this transition. ”
NCC, Google collaborate to drive Nigeria’s digital transformation
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Google Global Services Nigeria have shown concrete interest in partnering together so as to increase Nigerians’ access to high-speed internet. an objective that is an integral part of the digital transformation policy of the federal government.
This strategic partnership between the two organisations will create the enablement for all relevant stakeholders to assist in achieving the federal government’s digital transformation for all Nigerians.
According to a press release from the Nigerian Communications Commission, the two organizations agreed to work together to help the country and Africa become more digital. A delegation from Google Global Services Nigeria recently visited the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja to talk about how they could help.
Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, who received the Google delegates, said that Google’s objective is in line with the NCC’s regulatory interventions. objectives, which include but are not limited to increasing broadband penetration, quality of service, and the advancement of the digital economy, amongst others.
Danbatta, who was ably represented by the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services (ECTS), NCC, Engr. Ubale Maska, said that the commission was excited with the level of synergy and cooperation between them and believed much more could be achieved following their strategic partnership.
The CEO, who expressed optimism in the organizations’ attempt to increase broadband penetration to 70 percent, believed that Google’s investment in the subsea cable, Equiano, scheduled to arrive in the country by the end of April, will help achieve this possibility.
He said, “I am hopeful that Equiano will have additional landing points in the hinterlands through collaborative efforts with the licensed infrastructure companies (InfraCos) to reduce retail data prices significantly, thereby complementing the Commission’s efforts to ensure affordable Internet services are available to boost the Commission’s ongoing broadband policy drive.”
Juliet Ehimuan, Director, Google West Africa, who led the delegation to the NCC, applauded the NCC for reaching out to stakeholders to get their perspective as a way to assist in formulating policies that can drive the digital economy objective of the federal government.
Ehimuan was particular about the commission’s successful auction of the 3.5 Gigahertz spectrum for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) in Nigeria, stating that both organisations share a common objective.
The Director of Google West Africa, while speaking, believed that the increased demand for internet services within the private and public sectors requires all stakeholders to work together to handle both the challenges and opportunities that abound.
She believed that Google’s commitment of $1 billion over five years in various interventions would help the country and the continent achieve their digital transformation goals.
Ehimuan believes that the country’s internet user population is expected to grow even further. Some research shows that Nigeria’s internet subscriber base has grown to as high as 141 million users.
Dozens still missing as South Africa floods death toll rises to 443
A flood that began five days ago is said to have killed more than 440 people.
As rescuers continue their search for people still missing following the flood that washed most of the KwaZulu-Natal province of the country, there are fears in the country that mudslides that followed might have taken the lives of more than 440 people.
A natural disaster which has gathered both domestic and international media attention has left thousands homeless and without clean water and power. The floods have also paralysed activities in the nation’s busiest port, Durban, causing untold hardship to both residents and the nation at large.
According to Reuters, a provincial economic official said that the flood caused infrastructural damage worth more than 10 billion Rand, roughly $684.6 million.
Also speaking was Sihle Zikalala, the province’s premier, who reported a death toll of more than 443 people, with a further 63 people unaccounted for as the search continues for any survivors.
Reuters reported that the forecast of more rain is causing panic amongst residents as they still battle to come to terms with the damage from the ensuing flood.
Mjoka, 47, who spoke to Reuters, said, “We are traumatised by the sight of rain,” adding that her home had been badly damaged.
Another family, the Sibiya family, narrated their experience when the walls of the house where they lived were pushed down, killing three members of their family.
Pakistan’s IMF $3bn loan at risk after fuel prices stayed unchanged
In a move that seems more political than economic, the new Pakistani government has decided to keep fuel prices at the current abnormally low price.
Some economic analysts who spoke to Bloomberg agree that the government’s decision puts the nation’s critical $6 billion loan programme at risk.
The finance ministry said in a statement that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who took over from Imran Khan, saw the need to provide economic relief to the suffering masses and decided to leave petroleum prices at 149.86 rupees a litre and diesel at 144.15 rupees a litre, the finance ministry said in a statement.
This move by the new prime minister is seen in some quarters as putting the country’s loan agreement with the IMF in trouble as artificially reducing the prices of petroleum and diesel till June goes against the IMF agreement with the previous administration.
According to Bloomberg, the country’s decision to delay the loan programme is seen as the “most immediate challenge for the incoming government.”
Some economic analysts in Pakistan believe that this petroleum price intervention is responsible for the country’s external reserves dropping to a two-month low, so much so that the rupee fell to a record low before recovering during the week.
The new government is expecting about half of the $3 billion IMF loan sometime this year and is optimistic that conditions can favour the country so much that stabilising the economy would be a possibility.
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Tesla stockholders ask judge to silence Musk in fraud case
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk is being sued by a group of the company’s shareholders over some controversial 2018 tweets about taking the company private.
The group of aggrieved shareholders is asking the federal judge to restrain Musk from speaking in the case.
The Associated Press (AP), which reported the story, said that lawyers for the aggrieved Musk misled shareholders when he assured them of having “funding secured” to take the electric car company private.
They also accused him of violating the U.S. securities regulator’s ruling, which resulted in a fine payment of $20 million back then in 2018.
According to the Associated Press, SPACEX founder said in a recent TED 2022 conference interview that he has funding to “take Tesla private in 2018.”He said he only paid the SEC fine because the banks threatened to back out and leave Tesla bankrupt if he didn’t.
This court action comes days after he made an offer to take Twitter private, only to be rebuffed by the “poison pill” approach of the company.
Lawyers for the Tesla shareholders accused Musk of trying to sway potential jurors to his side by saying that in 2018 he had the money to take Tesla private.