Category archives for: Banking

Africa: Brics Bank to Unlock Africa’s Economic Potential

By Nyarai Kampilipili

Pretoria — The launch of a regional development bank by the BRICS countries to service the African continent is a positive development that is expected to unlock the continent’s socio-economic potential.

South African President Jacob Zuma said this on 17 August at the launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The NDB, formerly known as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS countries, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

With its headquarters in the Chinese city of Shanghai, the bank was established in February 2016 to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS member states and other emerging economies, as well as in developing countries.

The Africa Regional Centre of the NDB will exclusively cater for the developmental needs of the continent.

“The launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank is a historic occasion as it marks the strengthening of the BRICS formation and also underlines the BRICS commitment to the development of the African continent and emerging markets,” Zuma said

Zuma, who is the incoming chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said this development is not only a “critical milestone” for South Africa, but “for the entire African continent,” and should, therefore, be celebrated as a shared achievement.

“The launch of the centre is testament to our commitment that BRICS and the New Development Bank should benefit not only BRICS countries, but should also benefit the whole of Africa and the developing world as a whole,” Zuma said.

He added: “This is, therefore, truly a proud moment, which points to a brighter future for the people of our continent and the developing world in general.”

Zuma said Africa has “great expectations” for the new bank to unlock the socio-economic potential of the continent.

“We expect that the bank, through the Africa Regional Centre, will contribute to accelerating infrastructure investment in energy, transport, water and other productive sectors,” he said.

Plans to establish the NDB were strengthened in July 2014 when the BRICS countries signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank at their 6th Summit held in Brazil.

The BRICS leaders stressed that the NDB would strengthen cooperation among BRICS and would supplement the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global development.

According to the Fortaleza Declaration signed at the 6th BRICS Summit, “the bank shall have an initial authorized capital of US$100 billion.”

The initial subscribed capital was US$50 billion, equally shared among founding members.

Since establishment of the bank in 2016, notable achievements have been realized, including the issuance of the first set of loans amounting to US$1.5 billion in total to fund renewable energy projects in member countries.

The bank issued its first green bonds in the Chinese capital market in 2016, mobilising about US$450 million in the process.

The BRICS is growing as an emerging global economy. According to recent studies, the combined economies of the BRICS could eclipse the combined economies of the current richest countries of the world by the year 2050, hence the need for Africa to take advantage of its close ties with BRICS to strengthen socio-economic development on the continent.

The BRICS mechanism aims to achieve peace, security, development and cooperation. It seeks to contribute significantly to the development of humanity and establish a more equitable and fair world. sardc.net

South Africa: Premier Magashule Welcomes Launch of Brics Regional Centre

Free State Premier Ace Magashule has welcomed the launch of the BRICS New Development Bank’s Africa Regional Centre (ARC).

In a statement on Friday, Premier Magashule said the centre’s launch by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday is historic for the African continent.

“The centre, based in Sandton, Gauteng, shall serve as an opportunity for Africa and other countries of the South to break away from the chains… imposed by global institutions… whose conditions on loans advanced often impede developmental objectives of many developing nations,” said the Premier.

The NDB said the centre will be the face of the bank in Africa.

“The BRICS Bank shall provide needed access to funding for African and BRICS countries to enhance infrastructure investment for growth and development,” said the Premier.

At the launch, President Zuma said he was pleased with the progress the bank has made in the two years of its existence. This includes the signing of the founding agreement of the New Development Bank, which paved the way for the opening of the bank’s head office in Shanghai, China. The issuance of the first set of loans – amounting to US $1. 5 billion dollars (approximately R20 billion) in total – to fund renewable energy projects in member countries is also a significant achievement.

President Zuma said government is confident that the NDB will build on these achievements and grow from strength to strength.

The NDB is a multilateral development bank to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects. The bank will start the process of considering new members and finalise the project pipeline for the second batch of loans to be offered in the 2017/18 financial year.

South Africa

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Namibia: Local Bank Invests in Students Education

As part of its commitment to develop the academic potential of young Namibians, Standard Bank is investing a total of close to N$1 million for this academic year through its Corporate Social Investment Bursary Scheme to 7 students.

The Bank’s Head of Capital, Isdor Angula and the Acting Head of Marketing Sigrid Tjijorokisa recently caught up with six of the seven bursary beneficiaries, who are also conducting their holiday experience work at the bank.

The students are; Petrus Nathinge a 2nd year Actuarial Science student at the University of Cape Town, Ndahafa Alex, 1st year Earth Science Bachelors Degree student at the University of Stellenbosch, Elrich Tsauseb who’ studying a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering at the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST), Bianca Mungunda a 2nd year Actuarial Science student at the University of Cape Town, Anza Lombard a 4th year Honours Degree in Property Science at NUST, Andreas Shiimi who is studying his first year Bachelors Degree in Economics and Finance at the University of Cape Town and Felicia Mwenyo who is undertaking her Honours Degree at the University of Stellenbosch.

Through its bursary scheme the bank believes that a university education should not just be a privilege limited to those who can afford but also who come disadvantaged backgrounds with potential to excel academically. The bank further encouraged the students to work hard and continue performing well in their academic studies. The latest Standard Bank bursaries are funded under the bank’s CSI Programme.

Namibia

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Kenya: Co-Op Bank Profit Drops 10% as Interest Rate Cap Cuts Income

By Victor Juma

Co-op Bank recorded a 10.4 per cent net profit drop in the half year ended June as interest rate caps shaved off its income from loans.

The lender’s net earnings in the period stood at Sh6.6 billion compared to Sh7.4 billion the year before, with interest income falling by a similar margin to Sh19.2 billion.

The lower interest income came despite the loan book expanding 14.1 per cent to Sh252.6 billion, underlining the impact of the narrowed spreads brought by interest rate controls.

A report prepared by Standard Investment Bank (SIB) in the wake of the rate cap projected Co-op Bank’s weighted average lending rate to drop from 15.46 per cent in 2015 to 13.4 per cent this year.

Its average deposit rate was forecast to rise marginally to 5.37 per cent from 5.1 per cent over the same period, cutting its interest margin to 8.03 per cent from 10.36 per cent.

SIB also reckoned that the bank would need to increase lending by more than 50 per cent to match the interest income it would have earned if interest rates were not regulated.

Chief executive Gideon Muriuki said the lender is diversifying its revenues including through a joint venture it has formed with South Africa’s Super Group to offer leasing in the local and regional market.

Kenya

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Nigeria: First-Time Senators, Reps Groan Under Biting Bank Loans

By Ahuraka Isah, Solomon Ayado and Adebiyi Adedapo,

There are indications that most of the Senators serving for the first time in the 8th Senate are grappling to settle very high loan repayment figures posted to their salary accounts by banks.

In the House of Representatives where more than 70 per cent of the 360 members are first time lawmakers, it is the same predicament as a reasonable number of them also took loans.

LEADERSHIP Friday gathered that the lawmakers had approached commercial banks in drove and obtained jumbo loans in expectation of high earnings at the National Assembly.

But their hopes were dashed following lean national revenue earnings and the policy of fiscal discipline, as well as the anti-corruption stance of the present federal government.

Reliable sources within the National Assembly and the banks who spoke to LEADERSHIP Friday yesterday said the Senators and members of the House took loans far in excess of the current stream of their earnings.

The sources who spoke to our correspondents on condition of anonymity noted, however, that there is nothing unusual for the lawmakers to obtain such high amount of monies as loans which they even repay from ‘allowances’ or ‘largesse’ which were not prescribed by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

It was learnt that in the 8th Senate, 72 of the Senators are first timers, with most them badly affected by the bad loans.

While securing the loans hoping to repay within a year, they had to approach the banks again to re-apply for a spread of their loan repayments for two to three years.

It was also gathered that the banks usually grant these to the lawmakers, with a tenor of two years knowing full well that, while they are to serve for tenure of four years, giving them grace of three years, with just one year left to the expiration of their term in office might be too risky in terms of repayment.

“It is not unusual for the Senators, especially the new ones (first timers), to approach the banks to obtain loans to offset monies they borrowed to campaign, purchase new houses, settle four to five years rents, buy exotic cars to match their new status and meet other relevant or irrelevant demands”, one of the sources at the National Assembly said.

Corroborating this, a source at the bank said, “We approached them and sold information on what their predecessors used to borrow from us and they bought into it. Unfortunately for them, the usual ‘accidental discharges’ as we used to call them are no longer forthcoming since this ‘change’ government came on board. It is only their regular earnings which used to be about N45million per quarter for each Senator, N35 million per individual for members of the House which has since reduced to monthly payment that they are earning now. I can’t tell you the specific amount, but that jumbo amount is no longer paid to them”.

Another source in one of the banks said, “To let you know the rot pervading the system or earnings at the National Assembly before, the Auditor-General of the Federation disclosed last year that N10 billion was paid out in 2013 or so without vouchers.

“You see, certain National Assembly staff are always mandated to handle Senators’ vouchers and payment with strong warning to never under any circumstances disclose the content or let it out to anybody. The Senate constituted a committee to investigate the N10 billion paid to themselves without vouchers shortly after the Auditor-General of the Federation revealed that findings and the report of that committee has since been shrouded in secrecy.

“All this talk that the National Assembly has opened their books for public scrutiny is sheer hoax and untrue, but there is serious reduction in opaque transactions and earnings by the federal lawmakers”.

In the House of Representatives, some of the new lawmakers could not access the facility due to pending election petition cases at the tribunal and were not able to meet up with the time lag for the loans when the cases were dispensed with.

A principal officer who spoke with LEADERSHIP Friday confirmed that many lawmakers accessed different loan facilities, even as other members who returned to the House also benefited from loan facilities.

According to him, it is not totally correct that first time lawmakers rush into taking a loan with expectations of jumbo pay.

“It is true that many of us took loans, but it is not correct that majority of first time lawmakers took loans. This is because many of them had court cases and you know, nobody will grant you a loans request when you have a case in court. The case can eventually be decided against such a person”, he said.

But Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon Abdulrasaq Namdas denied that members are distressed and are under pressure to repay loans. “I am not aware of this, I am not aware that some lawmakers took loans and are now fidgeting to pay back”, he said.

Although Namdas did not establish whether his colleagues took loans from banks or not, he said whoever obtained a loan had done that as an individual.

“It is not only in the National Assembly that people take loans. People take loans everywhere, and it is a personal arrangement between the subscribers and their banks”, he added.

He further stated that banks would have perfected effective means of recovery before granting loan request. “Banks will give loan and put all measures in place for recovery, my colleagues are doing very fine and they are working hard to deliver their mandate”, Namdas stated.

While giving a sordid picture of financial recklessness during the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration on March 15, 2016, the AGF, Ukura, had said the management of the National Assembly allegedly disbursed N9,514,568,222.62 without raising payment vouchers.

The AGF released the shocking details in the nation’s 2014 audit report, which was submitted to the then Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, for consideration by both chambers of the National Assembly.

The presentation, he said, was in line with section 85(2) (4) of the 1999 constitution which states: “The public accounts of the Federation and of all offices and courts of the Federation shall be audited and reported on by the Auditor-General who shall submit his reports to the National Assembly; and for that purpose, the Auditor-General or any person authorized by him in that behalf shall have access to all books, records, returns and other documents relating to those accounts”.

Ukura stated that about N3.2trillion revenue was not remitted to the Federation Account, just as $235.6 million earned from gas was diverted to undisclosed escrow accounts.

In fulfillment of his mandate, the AGF returned a damning verdict of sleaze and mismanagement of funds in 2014 under the Jonathan administration.

Also, on October 9, 2015 the Legislative Studies (NILS), an outfit of the National Assembly released a set of documents, showing what constituted the earnings of the 109 Senators and 360 members of the Nigerian House of Representatives.

The figure showed that while a Nigerian Senator gets an annual basic salary of N2,026,400,00, a member of the House of Representatives goes home with N1,985,212, 50 annually.

Beyond that, a Senator also takes home a bouquet of allowances which hike their salary to N12, 902, 360.00 while their House of Representatives counterpart goes home with N9,525,985.50 annually. Thus, for the four-year tenure which the lawmaker stays in NASS, the Nigerian government spends a total of N1, 406,357,240.00 as basic salary on the 109 Senators and N3,428,994,780.00 on the 360 members of the House of Representatives.

The breakdown of the allowances show that they are meant for “Vehicle fuelling/maintenance, Constituency, Domestic Staff, Personal Assistant, Entertainment, Recess, Utilities, Newspaper/Periodicals, Houses Maintenance, Wardrobe, Estacode, Duty Tour, which attract more money available to the lawmakers than their basic salaries.

But beyond that, the lawmakers earn special amount in every four-year period on accommodation, vehicle loan, furniture, and severance allowance, making every Senator to pocket N24,090,000.00 and a House of Representatives member N23,822,00.00 within the same period.

Thus, for every four years that a lawmaker stays in the NASS, the federal government spends N2,625, 810,000.00 on accommodation, vehicle loans, furniture and severance gratuity on the 109 Senators and N8,575,920,000.00 on the 360 House of Representatives members.

South Africa: President Jacob Zuma Launches Brics New Development Bank, 17 Aug

press release

President Jacob Zuma will tomorrow, 17 August 2017, preside over the official launch of the African Regional Centre of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) in Sandton, Johannesburg.

The BRICS bloc of countries signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank at the Sixth BRICS Summit in July 2014 in Brazil, and the Seventh BRICS Summit marked the entry into force of the Agreement on the New Development Bank. The NDB headquarters were officially opened in Shanghai, China in February 2016.

Another key resolution taken at the Summit was to establish regional offices that would perform the important function of identifying and preparing proposals for viable projects that the New Development Bank could fund in the respective regions.

President Zuma will be joined at the launch by the President of the NDB, Mr Kundapur Vaman Kamath, Ministers and other dignitaries.

Members of the Media are invited to the launch as follows:

Date: Thursday, 17 August 2017

Venue: 135 Daisy Street, Sandton

Time: 08h30

Members of the Media must please send their details to Jabulani Mulambo at Jabulani.Mulambo@treasury.gov.za / Patience Mtshali at Mtshalip@dirco.gov.za / Vukile Mathabela at vukile@presidency.gov.za.

Issued by: The Presidency

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Africa: President Jacob Zuma – New Development Bank Africa Regional Centre Launch

press release

Remarks by President Zuma on the occasion of the launch of the New Development Bank (NDB) Africa Regional Centre, Sandton, Johannesburg

Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,

Mr Kamath, the President of the New Development Bank,

Captains of industry and finance sectors,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good day to you all.

We are truly delighted to share this extremely important occasion with you.

The launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank is a historic occasion as it marks the strengthening of the BRICS formation and also underlines the BRICS commitment to the development of the African continent and emerging markets.

This is a critical milestone not only for South Africa, but for the African continent as a whole. We are thus celebrating it as a shared achievement.

The idea of establishing a new Bank with a new mission and orientation was first discussed in Durban in 2013, when we had the honour of hosting the BRICS forum.

We later agreed to establish a centre in Africa to take care of the important developmental needs of this continent.

The launch of the Africa Regional Centre is testament to our commitment that BRICS and the New Development Bank should benefit not only BRICS countries, but should also benefit the whole of Africa and the developing world as a whole.

This is therefore truly a proud moment which points to a brighter future for the people of our continent and the developing world in general.

Programme Director,

In the two years of the Bank’s existence, I have been most pleased at the progress made.

Notable achievement in this regard includes the signing the founding agreement of the New Development Bank, which paved the way for the opening of the Bank’s head office in Shanghai, China. The issuance of the first set of loans – amounting to 1,5 billion dollars (approximately 20 billion rands) in total – to fund renewable energy projects in member countries is a significant step forward.

The Bank’s very first green bond issuance in the Chinese capital market, mobilising about 450 million dollars in the process is also noteworthy.

And most recently, the approval of a general strategy that will guide the Bank’s operations in the next five years demonstrates that we are on the right path.

Today we gather to celebrate yet another milestone, the launch of the Africa Regional Centre. I wish to thank The New Development Bank President, Mr Kamath and his team for the excellent work over the years, which has brought us to this momentous occasion.

We are confident that the Bank will build on these achievements and grow from strength to strength.

Next, the Bank will start the process to consider new members and finalise the project pipeline for the second batch of loans to be offered in the 2017/2018 financial year. We wish the Bank well in these endeavors.

The biggest challenge is that Africa remains largely un-industrialized with the result that our economies are over exposed to the whims of commodities’ markets.

African countries generally do not have adequate infrastructure interconnections. As a result, we cannot maximize the benefits of regional trade. Worse still, the continent does not have adequate social infrastructure for the provision of basic services such as health and education, and we therefore are not able to significantly improve the living standards of our people.

Indeed, due to this infrastructure gap, Africa has been unable to unlock its growth potential, and bring prosperity to her people.

Given these challenges, the African continent has great expectations for the New Development Bank.

We expect that the Bank, through the Africa Regional Centre, will contribute to accelerating infrastructure investment in energy, transport, water and other productive sectors.

South Africa, since its joining of BRICS in 2011, has advocated for inclusivity of the Global South, especially the African continent.

We are therefore happy to know that the Bank is working on expanding its membership to other countries beyond BRICS. We certainly trust that African countries will be among the first to take up membership at the New Development Bank.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Seventy years after the end of the Second World War, the world continues to be plagued by the endemic problems of poverty and human suffering, more so in the African continent. The recent bout of violence and military confrontation in some countries in the Middle East and Africa has notably exacerbated this problem.

These tragic realities highlight the need for new and sustainable solutions. We therefore call on the New Development Bank and like-minded institutions to test new boundaries, explore new possibilities and deliver sustainable solutions that will better serve humanity.

I am encouraged by the recent announcement made at the Second Annual Meeting of the New Development Bank Board of Governors in New Delhi to increase the Bank’s lending to 2,5 billion dollars in the 2017/2018 financial year. This announcement has come at an opportune time for South Africa as we need more projects.

We have great expectations for this regional office.

We would like to see an office that is geared towards fulfilling the New Development Bank’s founding objectives. These are to foster the development of member countries, support economic growth, promote and facilitate job creation and to build a knowledge sharing platform among developing countries.

The regional office will have to extend its core focus beyond project identification and preparation if it wants to truly realise these objectives. The office should in time be given the autonomy to extend loans to qualifying countries in the continent, whilst also serving as a node for capacity building and knowledge sharing.

However, the Bank is still in its infancy stage and understandably, such an expansion would be carried out in phases.

Distinguished guests,

It is fitting that we celebrate this launch in the same year that we celebrate the centenary of one of our founding fathers, Isithalandwe Oliver Reginald Tambo.

This giant of our liberation struggle envisioned an Africa that was at peace with itself and the world. He also envisaged one in which all its citizens enjoyed unlimited economic prosperity through cooperation and shared ideas.

The launch of the New Development Bank’s first regional office is a major step towards the realisation of OR Tambo’s vision for our country and indeed our continent.

Indeed, this is a turning point for Africa and its development.

This new Bank will enable continued fruitful cooperation with our global partners which will help us promote sustainable development through integration, industrialisation and infrastructure development on the continent.

The launch takes place during the week in which we are hosting the 37th Southern African Development Community Heads of State and Government Summit in our country.

The Summit takes place under the theme: “Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”.

SADC celebrates 25 years of existence this year and membership has grown to 15 countries. The combined population is about 300 million people.

South Africa will assume the chair of SADC this week and projects such as the New Development Bank will be supported and promoted in earnest as part of advancing Africa’s development agenda.

Mr Kamath, Ministers, distinguished guests,

It is my pleasure and honour to declare the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank officially open for business!

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency

Angola: Nóqui Administrator Calls for Openning of Commercial Banks

Mbanza Kongo — The lack of commercial banks in Noqui municipality, 165 kilometers off Mbanza Kongo city, is a concern of municipal administration of that region.

The lack of financial institutions has created serious constraints on the normal functioning of the state’s administrative organs in the district, Angop learned from the local administrator, Luís Cuimba Mavambo.

The official said that dozens of local civil servants are obliged at the end of each month to move to Mbanza Kongo, to get their salaries, creating problems in the functioning of some public sectors.

In addition to civil servants, many commercial agents operating in the municipality of Nóqui are also obliged to carry large amount of money to deposit in commercial banks in Mbanza Kongo.

Angola

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Nigeria: Farmers Get New Insurance Package

See original article: Nigeria: Farmers Get New Insurance Package

Malawi: Banks Are Failing Customers – Central Bank Should Step in

opinionBy Lowani Mtonga

Generally, the quality of service offered by banks has deteriorated over the past few years. Some of the contributing factors are lack of service expansion in light of growing clientele and the narrow products offered. The services are so appalling that one has to wait for long hours to be served. Sometimes queues are so long that customers just give up and return the following day.

Banks have become like public hospitals and clinics where long queues and slow service are the order of the day.

All this poor service is happening at the back of billions of kwacha that banks make. One wonders why banks do not plough back the obscene profits they make to improve services and introduce innovative products such as deposit ATMs.

National Bank is one example where services are poor. It has only one branch in Mzuzu.

One has just to be prepared for physical and mental capacity to be in the queue for a long time. It is even worse when it is month end, Monday, Saturday or for those who want to open bank accounts or fixed deposits.

Customers can wait for two hours or more before they are served. As if this is not enough torture, the bank does not have adequate chairs for people to sit on. Those who cannot manage to stand for too long and unable to secure a seat, sit on the floor.

This sad state of affairs points to lack of strategic leadership in the bank. The population of Mzuzu City is growing and you cannot have one branch that serves the whole city and surrounding areas of Mzimba such as Ekwendeni, Mpherembe, Kafukule and Euthini. Even parts of Nkhata Bay are served by this branch. Why not open more branches?

There is pressure to access services as customers from Mzuzu and other areas flock to this one branch. This pressure has made the bank to be inefficient. This has been going on for years and the situation is getting worse as more people are accessing bank services such as opening a bank account, applying for a loan or ATM card etc.

The Reserve Bank of Malawi is equally failing Malawians. They should be discussing with commercial banks how they can improve their services. Banks are in business and they exist to service customers and make profits.

However, they are regulated. Reserve Bank, as the regulator of the financial sector, have leeway to make regulations that are in the interest of the public. For example, the

Reserve Bank as supervisor of banks can make regulations that are designed to improve service delivery. They can make regulations that require banks with a certain level of capital to have two or more branches in cities to serve customers efficiently. They can also discuss with banks to install ATMs that accept cash deposits to reduce congestion in banking halls.

Such a facility is very convenient as customers can deposit money anytime because it operates 7/24. Ways should also be found to operate mobile banks in rural areas.

The Reserve Bank should not turn a blind eye to the poor services banks offer customers. Banks should adopt new banking technology, provide better facilities for customers and serve them efficiently.

Malawian banks are too conservative and greedy and will not change unless they are pushed. Reserve Bank should spearhead that change and innovation. If the laisser-faire stance of just watching when things are going wrong, Reserve Bank will be reduced to a regulator that has no real relevance to Malawians and banks will continue to shortchange their customers.

Already the central bank is failing to stop commercial banks from exploiting Malawians to reduce interest rate spreads. Commercial banks continue to give customers very low return on their investment. Yet they charge very high lending rates.

It is high time the Reserve Bank stepped in so that the colossal profits that banks make are used to improve service delivery. Why is Malawi so backward in everything? It is a shame!

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