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Issue 130
Apr 25 - May 08, 2022

Hi there,

Glad to be back at work, I hope you enjoyed the long holiday. It’s only mid-week but I’m looking forward to the weekend already. Everything Everywhere All At Once is being released in Nigerian cinemas this week, and I can’t keep calm. It’ll be refreshing to see a truly imaginative sci-fi blockbuster that is NOT a sequel, spinoff or connected to a cinematic universe. 

Also, this Friday, Kendrick Lamar is releasing a new album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. It’s a truly great time to be alive.

Some personal news: I transitioned to a new role focused on Market Intelligence in May! As part of my new role, I’ll be paying more attention to the newsletter. I’m excited about the plans we have in store, and I look forward to connecting more with you in the coming months.

Finally, are you a developer in South Africa looking for a way to accept payments on your app or website? Next Tuesday, the Paystack Developer Relations team will be hosting a webinar to show you how to start accepting payments using Paystack. Book your free seat here

Tochukwu Ironsi
Market Intelligence Specialist, Paystack
South AfricaSnapScan acquires Radar. South African mobile payments company, SnapScan, has acquired Radar, an HR and Payroll startup for an undisclosed sum. Kobus Ehlers and Gerrit Greeff had spent years building payment products for banks before launching SnapScan in 2013. SnapScan was later acquired by Standard Bank, and six years later in 2019, the two founders launched Radar. With this acquisition, the founders will exit Radar to rejoin SnapScan, and both companies will leverage combined distribution and a suite of services to reach new and existing businesses. Disrupt Africa
South AfricaZapper launches Tap-on-Phone Payments. Zapper, a South African mobile payments fintech, has launched a new feature to allow merchants accept card payments from customers through a mobile phone without a point-of-sale terminal. The payments will rely on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology available on android phones. PYMNTS

Payment providers across the world have increased focus on tap-to-phone payments, and for good reason: point-of-sale hardware like card readers need extra cost from merchants to accept payments, a price that can significantly impact margins, especially in emerging markets like Africa. While NFC payments are not new, adoption is being driven by a combination of factors: the issuance of contactless cards for consumers, and investments by fintechs and operating systems. Card networks like Visa and Mastercard are exploring new cloud-based card acceptance solutions and partnerships with payment providers like Network International in Nigeria and Nedbank in SA. Apple is also working on extending its POS technology to select third-party payment providers with partnerships with Stripe, and is being pressured by the EU to open up its NFC technology to third parties.

By adoption, innovation or regulation, tap-to-phone seems to be nearing an inflection point towards widespread adoption. If successful, it’ll have a significant impact on how consumers pay for goods, especially in Africa with fast-growing smartphone penetration.
NigeriaOn Foreign Exchange in Nigeria. In this episode of the Open Africa Podcast, the hosts, Laolu, Furo, and Nosa, explain how banks and financial institutions process foreign exchange obligations from individuals and businesses. The Open Africa Podcast
EthiopiaEthiopia drafts new bill to allow foreign operators offer mobile money services. The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has drafted a new bill that will allow foreign operators to operate mobile money services in Ethiopia. IT News Africa

Having successfully led a consortium to obtain a mobile operator license in Ethiopia, this new bill is good news for Safaricom who will be able to offer mobile money services through M-PESA to Africa’s second-most populous country.
ZimbabweZimbabwe places restrictions on mobile money foreign exchange activities. The Zimbabwean government has placed restrictions on mobile money operators offering USD money movements to reduce local USD circulation in the wake of record-low trust in local currency. The new policies will prevent mobile money agents from offering USD cash-in and cash-out services.  Quartz Africa
EgyptKhazna receives final approval to launch Khazna card Khazna, a digital financial services provider has obtained final approval from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to launch the Khazna Card in partnership with ADIB Egypt. The Khazna card is a prepaid card loaded from a user's Khazna wallet for the purpose of making payments. Disrupt Africa
Central African RepublicThe Central African Republic adopts Bitcoin as its official currency. The Central African Republic has officially adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender. The law was passed by the country's parliament, citing currency and foreign exchange problems as reasons for the decision. Quartz Africa

This law makes the Central African Republic the second country after El-Salvador to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. It’s unclear if there’ll be local adoption given only 10% of the country’s population is connected to the internet. It’s possible that Bitcoin can be used as an alternative currency for international commodity trading but this also introduces opportunity for money laundering and other illicit activities.

We’ll have to wait and see how adoption and application of Bitcoin pans out. But if El-Salvador’s current situation is anything to go by, a sovereign bitcoin future doesn’t seem so bright. 
EgyptPaymob raises $50m in Series B funding. Paymob, an online and offline payments company based in the Middle East and Northern Africa, has raised $50m in Series B funding. The round was led by PayPal Ventures, Kora Capital, and Clay Point. The funds will be used to drive expansion, merchant acquisition, and new product development. TechCrunch
NigeriaNorebase raises $1m in pre-seed funding. Norebase, a Nigerian trade tech startup that provides compliance and incorporation services to fintechs and other startups, has raised $1M in pre-seed funding. The funding was led by Samurai Incubate and Consonant Investments with added participation from other local and foreign investors. Afrikan Heroes

Fintech-adjacent services like identity, compliance and incorporation are critical to accelerating the development and adoption of financial services on the continent. There are several barriers to starting and doing business in Africa. A handful of B2B fintechs are required by regulation to only work with formally registered businesses, excluding millions of participants in the informal economy. By reducing or eliminating the barriers to incorporation, Norebase can bring more businesses into the formal economy and open up opportunities for a wider range of services to be added on.
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