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Issue 14
July 15 - 21, 2019

Hi there,

The photo album from our trip to Cairo for AFCON 2019 is out! Check out the pictures here.

One of my favourite things about my job is that my team and I get to work extremely closely with some of the most ambitious companies on the continent. One of those companies is BuyPower, which helps Nigerians make instant utility payments. We just published a short video case study on the team - learn more about BuyPower and their phenomenal 40% month-on-month growth.

Finally - heads-up: the newsletter will now hit your inbox on Wednesdays (instead of Tuesdays)! My responsibilities are changing a bit and I need to tweak a few things to make sure I can keep consistent with the newsletter. Let me know what you think about the new delivery day!

Bolaji Akande
Product Specialist, Paystack
Payments
South SudanSouth Sudan has officially launched its first mobile money service. The mobile money service, M-Gurush, is a joint partnership between Trinity Technologies and Zain Company. Some of the services that will be available on M-Gurush include; cash in, cash out, bills payment, airtime purchases, cross-border remittances, and electircity payment options. Radio Tamazuj
ZambiaMobile money transfers in Zambia reach record $652.1 million in Q1 2019. This volume is the highest ever reached for a first quarter since 2012, and is more than twice the amount for Q1 2018 (~ $294 million). The statistics reflect the success of the Zambian government's financial inclusion strategy, specifically for the mobile money segment. The sector has become the second largest contributor for access to financial services after banks, with nearly 15% of adults using it. Ecofin Agency
KenyaSingaporean Fomo Pay partners with Kenya's Wapi Pay to provide payment solutions between Asia & Africa. The two companies look to allow easier, cheaper and faster payments and remittances between the two continents. Payments and remittances contribute to the import and export receipts for the country and are a major source of African countries' revenue. Kenya alone traded $3.5 Billion last year with Asia while the rest of Africa did about $204.2 Billion. Business Insider
NigeriaNigeria's Hollaport Technologies has launched a mobile app to provide financial inclusion alongside messaging services. Users of the app can send and receive money to contacts on their phone. Other features include airtime top-up, payments for utilities, and a paycode system that enables recipients to withdraw cash from an ATM without a card or bank account. Telcompaper
GhanaBank of Ghana urges mobile money operators to reduce their charges. Speaking at a stakeholders conference, Dr Maxwell Opoku-Afari, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) stressed that reducing mobile money charges would increase adoption of the product. Ghanaian Times
ZimbabweZimbabwean government wants to sell majority shares in telcom companies NetOne and TelOne for a minimum of $300 million. The Zimbabwean government says it expects to complete the sale by the end of the year. Companies that have previously shown interest in entering Zimbabwe's telecom market include South African mobile network operator MTN and telecommunications services provider Telkom. IT Web Africa
GlobalVisa acquires Payworks, makers of point of sale (POS) payment gateway software. Visa plans to integrate Payworks' processing software into its CyberSource digital payment platform, creating a fully white-labeled omnichannel payment management platform that spans in-store, in-app, or online purchases. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. ZDNet
Conversations
TwitterA new tax law in Cameroon requires telcos to pay 200F ($0.35) for each app a customer downloads on their network. Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) shares the new development in this thread.
TwitterHow can mobile wallet/digital banking apps targeted at Africans differentiate themselves beyond the usual "buy airtime, pay bills, save, borrow" value proposition? Follow this thread to see answers to Ope Adeoye's (@opeadeoye) question.
Lending
TanzaniaSafaricom’s sister firm Vodacom launches Fuliza overdraft service in Tanzania. The service, called Songesha, will allow Vodacom customers to complete their M-Pesa transactions when they have insufficient funds in their mobile money accounts. The service was originally launched in January 2019 by Safaricom in Kenya, and went on to rack up 4.2 million users within a month. Safaricom says the creation of Fuliza was informed by data which indicated that millions of transactions were cancelled every day due to insufficient funds. Business Daily
KenyaKenya's Standard Chartered Bank plans to venture into the mobile loans segment. The top-tier lender, which until recently targeted corporates and high net-worth individuals, intends to enter the micro-lending space where a number of its peers already play in. The popularity of mobile loans in Kenya has been partly helped by suspension of unsecured personal loans by most commercial banks in 2016. Daily Nation
KenyaCentral Bank of Kenya (CBK) pushes for lower mobile loan fees. The Central Bank of Kenya has stepped up talks with banks to lower the cost of mobile phone-based loans. The discussion is complicated because the pricing of some of the mobile phone-based loans includes a huge component of fees, which is outside regulatory control. Business Daily
KenyaCentral Bank of Kenya (CBK) to brand lending apps with approval mark. Central Bank of Kenya is set to disassociate itself from digital lenders that are not affiliated to local commercial banks. Some of the products that will be getting the approval mark include M-shwari, Fuliza, KCB-Mpesa, Stawi for SMEs and any other online financial products offered by local commercial banks. The Star
Banking & Finance
GhanaGhana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) completes system upgrade to solve interoperability issues. In the past, some customers have complained of their inability to transfer money from MTN to other networks using the interoperability system. GhIPSS admitted to the challenges and has been working to rectify the issues. Ghana Web
NigeriaOnly 59% of 122 million bank accounts in Nigeria are active. The latest data on the bank accounts in Nigeria released by the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) has revealed that only 59% of the bank accounts in the country as at June 2019 are active. The decreasing percentage of active bank accounts in the Nigerian banking system has been consistent since December 2018 when the active percentage of total bank accounts dropped sharply from 66% in November to 60% in December. Nigerian Banker
NigeriaNigeria's Access Bank launches new payments platform. The platform called AccessAfrica is a money transfer product which allows users engage in cross-border transfers. Part of Access Bank’s 5 year strategy is creating a universal payments gateway to dominate international trade and inter-African payments. The Guardian
NigeriaFirst Bank of Nigeria launches a Visa multi-currency card. The card can be linked to First Bank accounts denominated in Naira, USD, Euro, and GBP. The multi-currency card is designed to ensure that users have a seamless transaction experience during vacation or business-related trips around the world. Proshare
Fundraising
NigeriaInterswitch plans to raise $1Bn from IPO. Interswitch has reignited its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) via a dual listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange expected later this year. According to reports, Interswitch, owned by private equity firm Helios Investment Partners, has engaged with banks in recent weeks after a thwarted IPO attempt two years ago. Nigerian Communications Week
AfricaVertoFX raises $2M for its African and Emerging Markets currency trading platform. The London-based company, with a subsidiary in Lagos, Nigeria, has created a platform that allows businesses and banks to exchange and make payments in foreign currencies that don’t often convert or trade conveniently across businesses or banks. VertoFX was founded in 2017 by Oyetayo and Anthony Oduwole, both ex-bankers born in Nigeria. The company was part of Y Combinator’s 2019 winter cohort and processed around $7 million in transaction volume last month. Techcrunch
GlobalVisa among investors in PayMate’s Series D growth funding. India’s PayMate announced it has raised a new round of growth capital to accelerate expansion within India and internationally to Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA). Investors in this Series D round include Visa, Recruit Strategic Partners, Brand Capital, and others. PYMNTS
Remittance
GhanaGuaranty Trust Bank partners with Ria and Zeepay to launch Ria Money Transfer in Ghana. Ria Money Transfer allows customers worldwide to send money directly into a beneficiaries’ mobile money wallet in Ghana. The platform aims to increase remittances to Ghana for this year from an estimated $3 billion for 2018. Ghanaian Times
KenyaKenya Post Office Savings Bank (Postbank) partners with Xpress money to provide instant global transfers to its physical branches. Anne Karanja, Managing Director of Postbank, says the partnership will allow Kenyans send money across borders conveniently and reliably, with low transfer fees and very competitive exchange rates. Postbank said it will provide the services at its 98 branches across 43 counties in Kenya. Kenya’s diaspora remittances in 2018 stood at Sh280 billion ($2.7 billion). Business Daily
Regulation
KenyaKenya mulls regulations on digital lenders to curb risks. Kenya is considering putting in place a new set of regulations on digital lenders in order to reduce potential risks they pose to the economy. Patrick Njoroge, Governor of Central Bank of Kenya, says that there are currently two sets of digital lenders in the Kenyan financial markets. One group is regulated because they are operated by commercial banks, and the others are not. Xinhua
Crypotocurrency
AfricaHuobi and CASHU partner to expand cryptocurrency reach across North Africa. As a result of this partnership, nearly 2.3 million CASHU users can now buy and sell several cryptocurrencies directly from CASHU’s mobile app. Users don’t need access to a bank account and can pay in local currencies. IT News Africa
GlobalG7 finance leaders say Libra must resolve regulatory issues to be viable. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the G7 cannot accept having any exchange currencies with the same kind of power and the same kind of role as sovereign currencies. Also German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said he doesn’t think Facebook’s actions with Libra seem to be fully thought through, and that data privacy concerns were going to be an issue. PYMNTS
GlobalFacebook says Libra won’t launch until regulators are satisfied. Libra Head, David Marcus, said the creation of Facebook’s cryptocurrency is not intended to compete with principal currencies and won’t interfere with monetary policy. He also said that Libra will not launch until regulatory concerns are discussed. PYMNTS
Jobs
Cowrywise
Backend Developer New
Lagos, Nigeria
Android Developer New
Lagos, Nigeria
iOS Developer New
Lagos, Nigeria
Flutterwave
Cellulant
Business Development Manager New
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Yoco
Store Sales Advisor
Johannesburg, South Africa
Senior Paid Media Manager
Cape Town, South Africa
Peach Payments
Operations Lead - Customer Success
Cape Town, South Africa
Frontend Web Developer
Cape Town, South Africa
Product Designer
Cape Town, South Africa
Interswitch Group
Jumo
Integrations Analyst
Cape Town, South Africa
Data Engineer
Nairobi, Kenya
Senior Product Owner
Cape Town, South Africa
Visa
Transit & Contactless Manager
Johannesburg, South Africa
Solutions Delivery Manager
Johannesburg, South Africa
Carbon (formerly Paylater)
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