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Issue 169
Apr 24 - May 07, 2023

Hi there,

We have some exciting news! We recently launched Paystack Catalyst - a collection of high-growth tools and resources that helps tech startups in Africa scale. If you’re a tech startup, Paystack Catalyst provides you with reduced tooling costs, priority technical consulting, intros to investors, industry experts, and other founders, and so much more.

If you’d like to learn how Paystack Catalyst can help you scale, join us at our live Q&A session next week. You’ll meet the Startup Programs team, and they’ll answer all your questions about Paystack Catalyst.

Date: Tuesday, May 16

Time: 3 pm WAT

Book your free seat 🎟️

Introducing Paystack Catalyst.png

Tochukwu Ironsi
Market Intelligence Specialist
2022 in African fintech: Exploring the biggest African fintech stories that shaped the year

Article Feature Image

We’re delighted to share our first long-form piece of the year — a review of 2022 in African fintech.

In this article, we explore the most important stories, trends, and themes in 2022 and what they might mean for the ecosystem in 2023.

Sierra LeoneSierra Leone launches National Payment Switch. The Bank of Sierra Leone has launched its National Payment Switch, a network that connects payment channels across financial institutions in the country. At launch, the switch will connect ATMs and POS’, with future plans to connect mobile money accounts and cross-border channels. Developing Telecoms
AfricaOn virtual card disruption in African Fintech. Fintechs offering virtual cards have recently had to introduce new fees and issue new cards. Gwera Kiwana (@notgwera), Founder-in-residence at MFS Africa, gives a detailed breakdown of the disruption of dollar virtual card services by African fintechs. Twitter

Abiola Usman (@abiola_usman) also sparked a very helpful conversation on possible solutions to the issues facing card-issuing services in this Twitter thread
KenyaM-Pesa launches overdraft solution for businesses. M-Pesa, Kenya's leading mobile money provider, has launched Fuliza ya Biashara, an overdraft solution for businesses. In partnership with KCB Bank, M-Pesa business customers can now access up to a Ksh 400K (~$2,900) advance to address short-term business expenses. The Star

Just like in Nigeria, agent-based fintechs are expanding their focus to businesses through a growing set of business solutions. SMEs in Africa usually suffer liquidity issues and are underserved in terms of credit. With M-Pesa's wide base of merchants and access to valuable underwriting data, it’s a no-brainer for them to address this problem.
KenyaThe Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) launches a new QR standard. The CBK has released new standards for a Kenya Quick Response (KE-QR) Code. With KE-QR, customers of different financial institutions will be to able to pay for goods and services by scanning a single, interoperable QR code. TechCabal
NigeriaNigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launches sandbox for fintechs. Nigeria's SEC has launched a Regulatory Incubation (RI) program for fintechs looking to operate in Nigeria's capital markets. Both regulated and non-regulated investment fintechs can apply via the SEC portal. Business Day

This comes after reports that the SEC is considering regulating asset-backed tokens. In the last few years, the SEC has actively pursued the adoption of digital channels for investments. With the incubation program, the SEC is hoping to drive innovation in digital investments but also keep a keen eye on the associated risks.
KenyaKenya set to introduce taxes on crypto exchanges. The Kenyan government is considering imposing a tax of 1.5% on commissions received from trading crypto and digital assets on exchanges. Business Daily
ZimbabweZimbabwe to introduce gold-backed digital currency. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) plans to launch a digital currency that is backed by gold in the near future. This initiative is part of a larger effort to use the country's gold reserve as a reference point for the national currency.  Business Daily
NigeriaNomba raises $30 million in Pre-Series B funding. Nomba, a Nigerian payments and banking startup, has raised $30 million in Pre-Series B funding. The round was led by Base10 Partners and will be used to develop new payment products.  Nairametrics
AfricaSmile Identity acquires Appruve for $20 million. African identity verification solutions provider, Smile Identity, has acquired Appruve, another startup in the same field, for $20 million. This acquisition will facilitate Smile's expansion into new African countries, while also broadening its range of APIs, particularly in mobile money. Smile Identity

As we’ve written in previous issues, digital identity verification tools are foundational to the adoption of fintech. Most primary identity data sources reside within legacy providers like banks and telcos. Providers like Smile and Appruve do the work of extracting the data and offering customer-friendly solutions that sit with fintech apps.

Differentiation in the industry boils down to good pricing, reliable partners, and rich data sources. We expect to see more mergers in this space as players move to expand into new markets while offering more comprehensive solutions to their customers.
Kenya42Markets group receives $10 million in funding. The fintech investment group, 42Markets Group, has successfully secured $10 million in funding from Convergence Partners. This fresh capital will go towards the growth and expansion of three companies in the 42Markets portfolio - Mesh, Andile, and FXFlow. Tech Trends
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Do you have an announcement, event, or job posting you'd like to share, or have you come across an interesting bit of African fintech news recently? Hit reply and let me know! I might be able to include it in next week's newsletter.
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