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Issue 20
Aug 26 - Sep 1, 2019

Hi there - I hope you're having a great week!

I realised that the story summaries in the newsletter have been getting longer, so I decided to cut them short and keep them as brief as they used to be in earlier issues.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you prefer the more detailed version, or the shorter ones?

Bolaji Akande
Product Specialist, Paystack
Payments
NigeriaMTN Nigeria officially launches mobile money operations. MTN has officially launched mobile money operations, MoMo, in Nigeria, its biggest market and Africa’s most populous nation. Mobile Money operators like MoMo make cash transfers and payments via mobile phone connections possible. Africa News
South AfricaSouth Africa financial services startup, Fincheck, acquires local competitor FundingHub. Launched in 2016, Fincheck allows users to check their credit score and compare the prices of financial products such as insurance and loans. The acquisition of FundingHub, which launched in 2017 and aggregates 30 alternative lenders and banks, allows Fincheck to scale significantly, having signed on 71 banks, lenders and insurers. Disrupt Africa
AfricaJumia to spin-off fintech arm JumiaPay to focus on payments, loans & ticketing. Jumia, an e-commerce platform for Africa, backed by MTN and Rocket Internet, is considering spinning-off its fintech arm, JumiaPay, to focus on payments, microloans, and ticketing. JumiaPay, which now operates in Nigeria, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Morocco, and Kenya, remained a key focus area for the firm and is now being expanded beyond the marketplace. Techmoran
MauritiusPCCW Global and Mauritius Telecom collaborate to launch Mauritius' first mobile payment solution. Mauritius Telecom’s my.t money is a mobile payment solution provided by PCCW Global, the international operating division of HKT, Hong Kong’s premier telecommunications provider. Biztech Africa
ZimbabweTesla batteries are keeping Zimbabwe’s economy running. Amid power outages as long as 18 hours a day, Econet Wireless Ltd., Zimbabwe's biggest mobile phone operator, is turning to Tesla for batteries to keep its base stations running. The southern African country faces chronic shortages of physical cash, so almost all transactions are done digitally, and many via mobile phones Bloomberg
Conversations
TwitterWhy is there a huge divide between customer (credit card) and merchant preference (ACH)? Nikita S (@singareddynm) breaks it down in this tweet
TwitterSafaricom has collapsed its innovation unit Safaricom Alpha back into the mainstream company. Michael Kimani (@pesa_africa) shares more details here
TwitterDr. Joe Abbah (@DrJoeAbah) Country Director at DAI shares his thoughts on the recently launched MTN Mobile Money in Nigeria and the effects of CBN's policies in this thread
Banking & Finance
AfricaStandard Bank has invested in a fintech firm, Nomanini, to tap into Sub-Sahara Africa’s informal market. Through the terms of the strategic $4 million investment, Standard Bank gains a stake in the company and the ability to use Nomanini’s platform to unearth data on the informal retail economy. According to McKinsey, Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the world's largest untapped economic opportunities, with consumer spending expected to reach $2.1 trillion by 2025. Business Insider
SeychellesMauritius Bank offers customers in Seychelles mobile phone transactions. Customers of Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) in Seychelles can now withdraw money at ATMs without a bank card and pay bills via the bank’s mobile app. The app also allows a user to send money to friends and relatives who don't have a bank card. Seychelles News Agency
GhanaBank of Ghana approves 13 remittance products for 8 banks in 2018. The approved banks partnered with different Money Transfer Organisations (MTOs) to allow inward remittances to be lodged into bank accounts, mobile money wallets or cash pick-up over the counter GhanaWeb
Regulatory
NigeriaNigeria to impose VAT charges on online transactions effective January 2020. Effective from January 2020, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has announced that it will begin to impose Value-Added Tax (VAT) on online transactions, both domestic and international. VAT remains the cash cow in most African countries, with an average VAT to total tax revenue rate of 31%. Nairametrics
Lending
AfricaUK based fintech, SympliFi, launches a loan product for users in Zimbabwe, Nigeria & Tanzania. SympliFi enables people in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and Tanzania to apply for loans from local financial institutions backed by their relatives in the diaspora. It's a less expensive alternative for people in the diaspora who'd normally transfer money, at expensive rates, to their relatives in Africa. Techmoran
KenyaGoogle finance app rules could affect Kenyan mobile loans. The Google Play Store has updated its personal loan apps policy by limiting apps that require full repayment of loans in 60 days or less from the date the loan is issued. The new policy update is no surprise to local Kenyan loan apps which have faced a major backlash from the industry, including the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), as a result of their predatory practices. BitcoinKE
Fundraising
NigeriaNigerian agric-tech startup, EZ Farming, clinches $150,000 seed funding. EZ Farming is a marketplace that helps farmers access funds by connecting them to micro-lenders. The platform also links them to farm produce buyers from across the world. They raised their seed funding by finishing first place in a Georgetown African Business Conference-hosted competition. Nairametrics
EgyptEgypt’s fintech, NowPay, raises $600k from Endure Capital and 500 Startups. NowPay collaborates with employers to help their staff get paid in advance at any time of the month, using a mobile application. NowPay was founded by Mostafa Ashour, Ahmed Sabry, and Cherif Radi, all of whom have previously worked for companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, and Orange. Wee Tracker
NigeriaNigeria's Esusu, a fintech startup raises $1.6m to help individuals save money & build credit. Esusu will use its new fund to enhance its rent reporting platform, onboard new partnerships, and extend overall reach. The seed round was led by Acumen Fund with participation from other investors. Techmoran
Cryptocurrency
GlobalTelegram to launch crypto by Oct 2019 or face forfeiting everything. In early 2018, while raising $1.7 billion in funding, Telegram promised investors their crypto coin would be available by 31 October, 2019. Telegram is hoping to release its first batch of ‘Gram’ coins within the next two months or risk forfeiting all their raised funds. IT News Africa
AfricaNaspers-backed crypto platform, Luno, hits 3 million users, adds Bitcoin Cash. Launched in 2013 when it built the world’s first fully-integrated crypto wallet, Luno leveraged this infrastructure to create its consumer crypto platform. Techmoran
GlobalFacebook Taps Ex-Coinbase Executive To Lobby For Libra. Facebook has hired John Collins, former Head of Policy at CoinBase, to work on issues related to blockchain policy. The hiring comes at a time when Facebook's launch of Libra continues to get pushback from lawmakers. PYMNTS
Events
Nigerian Fintech Week 2019
October 28 - November 1, Lagos
BusinessTech FinTech Conference 2019
September 11, Johannesburg
Jobs
Mastercard
Senior Specialist
Johannesburg, South Africa
Fidelity Bank Ghana
Manager, Card Sales New
Accra, Ghana
IT Vendor Manager
Accra, Ghana
Yoco
Business Intelligence Officer New
Cape Town, South Africa
Senior Product Manager
Cape Town, South Africa
Senior Paid Media Manager
Cape Town, South Africa
BitPesa
Senior Expansion Associate New
Lagos, Nigeria
Head of Sales
Dakar, Senegal
Branding and PR Manager
Nairobi Kenya, Johannesburg South Africa
Cellulant
Senior Network Engineer New
Nairobi, Kenya
Peach Payments
Senior Software Engineer
Cape Town, South Africa
Product Designer
Cape Town, South Africa
Carbon (formerly Paylater)
Country Business Lead
Nairobi, Kenya
Senior IOS Developer
Lagos, Nigeria
UX Design Lead
Lagos, Nigeria
Cowrywise
Backend Developer
Lagos, Nigeria
Visa
Transit & Contactless Manager
Johannesburg, South Africa
Solutions Delivery Manager
Johannesburg, South Africa
Share a tip
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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