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Issue 17
Aug 5 - Aug 11, 2019

Hi there,

Happy Eid to all those who are celebrating!

Bolaji Akande
Product Specialist, Paystack
Payments
South AfricaMTN is bringing back its mobile money service to South Africa 3 years after it shut down the platform. MTN first launched the platform locally in 2012 before pulling the plug in 2016 because of the lack of commercial viability in a country where about three-quarters of the population had bank accounts. MTN has been on a strong push in recent years to diversify its business. Group CEO Rob Shuter says in the future MTN will be more of a service business than a voice business. Analysts, however, are still not convinced the mobile money service will take off in South Africa. Business Day Live
South SudanNilePay PLC partners with Zain to launch the first licensed mobile money service in South Sudan. The partnership eliminates the significant barriers that have prevented South Sudans from participating in global eCommerce. Historically, most people in South Sudan have relied on unlicensed mobile operators to transfer money through platforms created by MTN Uganda and Kenya’s M-PESA. Citizen TV
NigeriaOpera's OPay continues to expand with launch of OTrike, a tricycle hailing service in Nigeria. Opera launched OPay in 2018 and has since diversified its product offerings into motorcycle ride-hailing, ORide and food delivery service, OFood. The company is also debuting a new tricycle-hailing feature in Aba, a commercial city in southeast Nigeria. OPay recently raised $50m to expand new and existing verticals while strengthening OPay’s core business, which is mobile payments, and ultimately become a multi-service commercial platform. Techpoint
NigeriaAirtel plans mobile money business roll out in Nigeria. CEO Raghunath Mandava said the company is working towards securing approval of a brand name and obtaining a license for a mobile payment service. The company’s performance in the latest report showed revenue grew by about 6.9%, from $744.5 million to $795.9 million. The company’s customer base also rose by 9.3% to about 99.7 million. On plans to officially list Airtel’s ordinary shares on the London Stock Exchange, Mandava said arrangements had reached an advanced stage. Premium Times
NigeriaNigerian fintech startup Carbon starts charging mobile wallet users. The consumer lending platform Carbon, which rebranded in April 2019 as parent company OneFi continues to transition into being a full digital banking platform, launched its wallet feature in December 2018. Funding the wallet was free, but Carbon says this is now unsustainable. All wallet top-ups from debit cards will now incur a 1% transaction fee. Disrupt Africa
KenyaMobile Money interoperability yet to pick up in Kenya. The cost of transferring money across different mobile networks in Kenya is still not uniform despite an agreement among the main players and backing from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). In April 2018, mobile money operators (Safaricom, Airtel, and Telkom Kenya) established cross-network money transfer platforms. The CBK subsequently issued guidelines in which it directed the 3 telcos to level their charges across all networks. However, more than a year since interoperability was introduced, Kenyans still have to pay more for cross-network mobile cash transfers. Mobile Money Africa
NigeriaNigeria’s Innovate 1 Pay launches in UAE. Innovate 1 Pay sees the UAE office as an opportunity to provide African expatriates in the region with payment services, international money transfers, and wholesale foreign exchange management. With growing trade between Africa and Asia, UAE has become the meeting point of top traders from both worlds. Innovate 1 Pay is positioning its payment gateway and financial services platform to link between Dubai and several African nations. Techmoran
GlobalMastercard announces its largest acquisition yet in further attempt to move beyond cards. Mastercard is set to acquire the account-to-account business of Danish payment-technology company Nets for €2.85 billion (~ $3.19 billion). Mastercard will be gaining infrastructure, bill-payment technology, and open-banking capabilities through the acquisition. The card network has increasingly been trying to capture payment volume that occurs between bank accounts, as business-to-business payments and other transaction types have historically avoided the card rails. This deal represents a continuation of Mastercard’s strategy, which began with its purchase of real-time payment operator Vocalink three years back. Market Watch
GlobalVisa moves towards discontinuing its checkout service as Google Pay removes support for Visa Checkout. The checkout service, which was introduced in 2013 and competed with services like PayPal, will be phased out in favour of a new EMV SRC-based service. The new service will start appearing to Visa Checkout customers in a few months in a small number of select markets. Visa says only the direct Google Pay/Visa Checkout integration will be shut down, Google will continue to work with bank, and credit union issued Visa cards. PYMNTS
Conversations
TwitterVerve Cards can now be used globally The Nigerian card issuing company is now global, meaning cards can now be used all over the world. See the official video of the first transaction carried out in a Swarovski store in New York's Times Square. Verve is owned by Nigerian fintech giant Interswitch.
TwitterHow do Kenyans really use M-Pesa? Marcello Schermer (@Marcelloscherme), expansion lead at Yoco, shares a study that shows the average net balance and average monthly balance of 400 M-Pesa users here.
TwitterActivating the new Apple credit card. Zach Honig (@ZackHonig) shares a short clip of how the new apple credit card is activated. See video here
Lending
NigeriaNigeria's President signs into law an Act that empowers AMCON access financial details of debtors. President Muhammadu Buhari has signed a new law which empowers the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to put the bank accounts of its debtors under supervision. Muiz Banire, AMCON’s chairman, says 20 individuals and companies owe the corporation 67% of the N5 trillion (~$ 13.7b) debt. Proshare
NigeriaCentral Bank of Nigeria (CBN) orders banks to obtain customers’ credit history before giving loans. The apex bank disclosed this order in its consumer protection guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct. The CBN says the purpose of the order is to ensure that debt recovery processes were courteous and fair, devoid of undue pressure, intimidation, harassment, humiliation, or threat. The guidelines also states that lenders must inform customers of the debt recovery procedures in loan contracts and proactively engage and give customers early notice of outstanding obligations prior to the beginning of debt collection process. Punch
Banking & Finance
NigeriaThe Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) extends financial inclusion target year to 2024. CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has extended the financial inclusion target year from 2020 to 2024 and has also mandated stakeholders to achieve 95% inclusion by 2024. In 2012, the apex bank in collaboration with major stakeholders launched the National Financial Inclusion Strategy with the aim of reducing financial exclusion rate from 43.3% in 2010 to 20% by 2020. However, while reviewing the progress earlier in the year, about 36.8% of eligible Nigerian adults currently did not have access to financial services. Nigerian Banker
KenyaKenyan banks have slashed interest for customer savings to 4.71%, the lowest rate since September 2016. The savings interest is down from the average of 6.52% in August last year when Parliament voted to tweak the Banking (Amendment) Act, 2016 and removed a clause compelling banks to pay depositors at least 70% of base lending rate. With the Central Bank of Kenya's base lending rate currently at 9%, banks would have paid at least 6.3% before the law was changed. During this period banks have kept their lending rates relatively stable, closing May at 12.47% compared with August last year’s 12.78%. Business Daily
GlobalDubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) signs MoU with the Central Bank of Egypt. The institutions signed the MoU to enhance their relationship and cooperation and to also facilitate the performance of their respective supervisory tasks. The MoU was signed by Mr Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, in Dubai on 28 July 2019 and by HE Tarek Amer, Governor of the CBE, in Egypt. This agreement is the seventh MoU signed by the DFSA with a regional central bank. Proshare
EthopiaEthopia's Oromia International Bank (OIB) goes live with ICSFS’ IFB software to provide interest free banking services. ICS Financial Systems Limited (ICSFS) is a global software and services provider for banks and financial institutions. The implementation allows OIB to provide customers with conventional and interest free banking services at its 264 physical branches. Abie Sano, President of OIB, says the Ethiopian banking industry is flourishing, especially in the interest-free banking sector. Nigeria Communications Week
NamibiaNedbank Namibia launches money app. The new app is the first banking app in Namibia that allows clients to freeze and unfreeze their bank cards straight from the app. The Money App does not require the use of mobile data, meaning customers can use the banking app even when they have no internet connection. The new app will replace the current version, which existing clients can continue using until September of this year. New Era
NigeriaThe market capitalisation of banks listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange dropped by NGN 657b (~$1.8b) in the first 7 months of the year. The market capitalisation of banks opened the year at NGN 3.63tn but closed at NGN 2.97tn on July 31. The Group CEO, United Capital Plc, Peter Ashade, said the bearish position of the market was because foreign investors had continued to snub equities due to deeper concerns about the policy framework of the government. Punch
ZimbabweZimbabwean banks plan to fight $100m Paynet lawsuit. Zimbabwean banks intend to fight a $100 million lawsuit brought by Cambria Africa’s units in the country following a dispute over payments. The battle between London-based Cambria and the association reached boiling point in June 2019 when Paynet, one of the country’s largest providers of bulk payments, suspended services to banks, citing unpaid bills. It forced the lenders to switch to smaller providers or resort to manually managing payments, hindering the flow of money in the cash-starved $31 billion economy. Moneyweb
Regulatory
NigeriaNigeria's Communications Commission (NCC) slashes telcos USSD charge to NGN4.89k (~$0.01) per session. The NCC issued this order via a recently released regulatory document titled "Determination of USSD Pricing." The document stated that a USSD session is 20 seconds and would not be charged above N4.89k. The change will be effective from 1st September 2019. The NCC says the reason for the order is because other financial services provided by the network providers were often high and arbitrary. Meanwhile, the country's major telcos, MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile kicked against the NCC’s decision, noting that the recommended cost might not be a true reflection of the total costs for the provision of USSD services. Nigeria Communications Week
EDITOR'S NOTE

Here's a direct link to the Determination of USSD Pricing document as released by the NCC
KenyaA report by Brookings says the newly introduced mobile transaction taxes will potentially erode e-payment gains in Kenya. The Brookings Institution is a non-profit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. The report indicates that people are likely to choose affordability over efficiency if states continue to apply more taxes on mobile money. The reports also states that the tax burden on mobile phone-based transactions, airtime, and operators in sub-Saharan Africa has been on the increase in the last decade, rising by approximately 26% in at least 12 countries. Most importantly, the contribution of mobile money related taxes is less than 1% of total tax revenue, a negligible contribution to Kenya’s total tax income, at high economic costs. The Star
EDITOR'S NOTE

Here's a direct link to the Brooking report titled "Taxing mobile phone transactions in Africa: Lessons from Kenya"
ZimbabweMobile money cash out transactions from agents to be taxed. Zimbabwean finance minister Mthuli Ncube said that the tax-free threshold of the Intermediated Money Transfer Tax (IMTT) will be raised from the current $10 to $20. Meanwhile, a tax will be levied on the transfer of money from mobile money transfer agents to recipients. Pindula News
Remittance
NigeriaFintech firms collaborate to launch product for diaspora remittances in Naira. A group of financial technology companies have come together to introduce a product that allows Nigerians in Diaspora to remit money in Naira by direct transfer into bank accounts. The product, Paymenta, is a product of a collaboration between VAS2Nets, DSSC, Glo Currency, Supersonicz Money Transfer, Amal Express, Tawakal Express, and First City Monument Bank. Punch
Fundraising
NigeriaNigeria’s TechAdvance raises $1 million to expand operations. The payment application development company recently received a $1 million investment from Bahrain-based group, Lamar Holding. TechAdvance is focused on developing and deploying niche payment technologies in emerging markets. The recent investment by Lamar Holding’s so far puts TechAdvance’s valuation to $20m. Techpoint
NigeriaNigeria's eTranzact plans to raise NGN 7b (~$19m) capital before end of the year. Managing Director, Niyi Toluwalope, says the investment is required to expand operations, deepen market share and remain competitive in the fintech industry. The capital will be used to upgrade and enhance the company’s technology infrastructure and network security systems. The MD also says as at the end of 2018, eTranzact's payment service business transactions was in excess of NGN 30 trillion (~$82b) in value with over 400 million transactions. Nigeria Coummications Week
Cryptocurrency
GlobalFacebook says Libra will be regulated by the Swiss government. The head of Facebook’s blockchain subsidiary Calibra David Marcus has revealed that Libra will be regulated by the Swiss government because that’s where the company is headquartered. Meanwhile, he says the Libra Association and Facebook’s Calibra wallet intend to comply will all U.S. tax, anti-money laundering and anti-fraud laws. Techcrunch
Jobs
Carbon (formerly Paylater)
Country Business Lead
Nairobi, Kenya
Senior IOS Developer
Lagos, Nigeria
Full-stack Developer
Lagos, Nigeria
BitPesa
Head of East & Southern Africa Sales
Nairobi Kenya, Johannesburg South Africa
Sales Consultant
Dakar, Senegal
Peach Payments
Sales Associate
Nairobi, Kenya
Operations Team Lead
Cape Town, South Africa
Product Designer
Cape Town, South Africa
Cowrywise
Backend Developer
Lagos, Nigeria
Android Developer
Lagos, Nigeria
iOS Developer
Lagos, Nigeria
Other Positions
Lagos, Nigeria
Yoco
Senior Paid Media Manager
Cape Town, South Africa
Jumo
Integrations Analyst
Cape Town, South Africa
Data Engineer
Cape Town, South Africa
Senior Product Owner
Cape Town, South Africa
Visa
Transit & Contactless Manager
Johannesburg, South Africa
Solutions Delivery Manager
Johannesburg, South Africa
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