Africa’s largest economy is rebranding its currency

On Wednesday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that it had started taking steps to redesign, produce, and circulate a new series of N100, N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes. 

The new notes are launching on December 15, and the old notes will cease to be legal tender starting January 31. That means Nigerians have only six weeks to get along with the program.

Why is this happening? According to the CBN, this exercise is long overdue as Nigeria hasn’t redesigned its currency in the last 20 years. But that’s not its sole reason. It also expects this rebrand to help with other key policy objectives, such as driving its cashless policy, fighting corruption and reducing inflationary pressures. Can the CBN solve its problems by printing new notes? That’s still up for debate.

Twitter has a new boss

After a six-month-long tug-of-war, Elon Musk has finally completed the acquisition of the social media platform. The deal closed on Thursday, and the Tesla billionaire is paying $44 billion. That means Twitter now ceases to be a publicly listed company.

But the show is not over, far from it. First of all, Musk immediately fired several top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust, and safety. And we’d likely see more, given that he once openly stated that he would cut nearly 75 per cent of Twitter’s 7,500-person workforce. Secondly, he now has the difficult task of defining “free speech” for Twitter users since that’s why he claims he bought the platform.

In the middle of all this, we can’t forget that Twitter just launched its African headquarters in Ghana last year. When Twitter touched base in Ghana, it called the nation a “supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate.” Will the layoffs or policy changes affect Ghana’s Twitter? We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed.

Is Zimbabwe missing out on a (literal) golden opportunity? 

You probably didn’t know that Zimbabwe now mints gold coins as legal tender. It’s been doing so since July as part of several policy measures to ease demand for the US dollar and control inflation.

Zimbabwe’s gold output has surged 41% in the first eight months of this year to 22,290kg. The country aims to produce 35 tons of bullion in 2022. 

However, the IMF thinks the nation is missing out on a chance to build its gold reserves. “The sale of gold coins has contributed to withdrawing Zimbabwe dollar liquidity from the market, though it represents an opportunity cost in terms of foregone reserves for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” an IMF spokesperson said in September.

Nonetheless, Zimbabwe is progressing with its methods. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has announced that in November, it will introduce lower denomination gold coins to enable the participation of ordinary citizens.

ICYMI: Market roundup

  • The NGX All-Share Index declined by 1.09% last week to close at 43,912.64 points. The top gainers were RT Briscoe (17.86%), BUA Cement (12.96%), FTN Cocoa (11.11%), Japaul Gold and Ventures (10.71%) and Sunu Assurances (9.37%). The top decliners were NEM Insurance (-15.16%), Honeywell Flour (-11.25%), Unilever Nigeria (-10.42%), Dangote Cement (-10%) and Pharma-Deko (-9.76%).
  • The naira declined against the dollar from N441.67/$ to N444.75/$ on Friday at the Investors’ and Exporters’ window.
  • Brent crude closed the week at $94.50, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude closed at $88.41.
  • The cryptocurrency market gained 7% to cross the $1 trillion mark. Bitcoin gained 4.9% to close at $20,570, Ethereum gained 16% to close at $158, and Binance Coin gained 12.9% to close at $311.9.
  • Spotter, a Moroccan API platform helping businesses prevent check fraud, raised an undisclosed amount from UM6P Ventures.
  • GIGX Technologies, a Nigerian wallet for spending, saving, and investing in crypto & other financial assets, was selected for the Techstars Toronto Winter ‘22 batch.

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