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Issue 45
Mar 02 - Mar 08, 2020

Hi there,

In last week's edition, the link to Zenith Bank CEO's interview with CNBC where he discussed their 2019 earnings was not working. We sincerely apologize for that error. Here's a link that definitely works.

My team is still hiring for the role of a Mandarin-speaking product specialist. Do you know anyone who'll be a good fit? Tell them to apply here.

Enjoy the rest of the week and remember to wash your hands!
Simileoluwa Afolabi-Jombo
Product Specialist, Paystack
Payments
NigeriaPaga partners with Visa. The Nigerian payments company is working with Visa to launch a merchant acceptance solutions which range from QR codes and NFC for in-store merchant payments, online payments, and international remittances all processed through Visa’s network. As part of this partnership, Paga will join Visa Fintech Fast-Track Program. The program makes it easier for fintechs to access the global Visa payments network. Paga Blog
Conversations
AfricaHow much did African startups raise in 2019? The answer depends on who you ask. WeeTracker, Disrupt Africa, and Partech partners, all respected sources on the subject matter, have different numbers and the gaps between the numbers are wide enough that it raises questions on who to believe. It looks like these platforms used different methodologies to arrive at their numbers. TechCrunch
AfricaMastercard's report on the importance of Pay on Demand in Africa. Mastercard is postulating that giving people the ability to pay only for what they use, as they need it will ultimately drive financial inclusion and improve Africa's economy. It sounds similar to the epiphany of FMCG companies in Nigeria, that customers seem to prefer buying products in smaller sachets compared to the bigger packs. Do you agree?  ITNews Africa
EDITOR'S NOTE

You can directly read the white paper from Mastercard here
Banking & Finance
NigeriaUnity Bank releases USSD in local Nigerian languages. The bank is the first commercial bank to offer USSD services in local Nigerian languages including Yoruba, Igbo, etc. The Group Head, Retail, SME & E-Business, Olufunwa Olugbenga Akinmade, stated that the solution will help deepen financial inclusion and contribute to Nigeria’s drive to meet the 80% financial inclusion target this year.  Tech Economy
NigeriaAre Nigerian banks trying to become telcos? At the recently concluded Social Media Week, Segun Agbaje, the MD of GTBank mentioned that if the bank is granted a telco license they would crash data prices and move into the mobile money space. The Guardian
EDITOR'S NOTE

This brings to mind when Safaricom launched M-Pesa in 2007 and the banks decided to launch their own mobile money service PesaLink 10 years later. You can read all about it in this article. It will be interesting to see how GTB will pull this off if they get a telco license. GTB might have to become a Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) to make this happen. 
Regulation
CameroonCameroon gets tough on mobile payment KYC. The authorities in Cameroon have imposed more stringent customer ID requirements on all mobile money operators in the country. This was after it was discovered that an estimated XAF540 million (~$916,064) was paid as ransom to kidnappers via mobile money because KYC loopholes made some transactions untraceable.  Mobile World Live
SudanSudan takes steps to develop its financial sector despite US sanctions. Sudan is currently negotiating with the United States to introduce payments systems in the country. Three banks have gotten the approval to start using Visa systems while twelve are awaiting approval. The Sudanese government has also been in talks with the U.S. financial services provider, Citibank, about a possible expansion into the country to support the drive to replace the current subsidy system with cash transfers. Ventures Africa
EDITOR'S NOTE

The existing sanctions on Sudan are as a result of its designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism by the U.S. in 1993. This has limited the growth of commercial and financial transactions in the country. The terrorism listing has discouraged foreign financial investors and banks from doing business with the country.
NigeriaThe Central Bank of Nigeria releases a draft for the regulation of MicroFinance banks. The apex bank issued a 52-page draft and is asking relevant stakeholders and the general public to review the document and send in their comments. Nigerian Banker
Fundraising
AfricaSouth African tech investment firm AYO launches a $12.7m startup fund. The company plans to use half of the funds to support black-owned startups in South Africa and the other half for tech start-ups founded and operating in Africa.  Disrupt Africa
EDITOR'S NOTE

Interested in raising funds for your tech start-up? Apply here
AfricaTerraPay acquired by investors, raises $9.6m for expansion. The global payments company was acquired by a consortium of investors including Prime Ventures and Partech Africa for an undisclosed amount. These investors were joined by International Finance Corporation (IFC) to invest an additional $9.6m for expansion purposes. TerraPay Blog
Cryptocurrency
AfricaWill a gold-backed cryptocurrency connect more Africans to the global market? The Ubuntu Investment Company (TUIC) has created a 100% gold-backed digital coin called GODL, with the hopes that it could offer a valuable alternative to accelerate and facilitate intra-African trade by avoiding exchange rate loss and currencies’ volatility. African Business Magazine
NigeriaBinance lists the Nigerian Naira on its peer-to-peer trading platform. One of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, Binance, has added NGN as a deposit option for its users. This is the first African currency to be listed on the platform. Altcoin Buzz
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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