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Issue 47
Mar 16 - Mar 22, 2020

Hi there,

In Issue 44, we mentioned how remarkable it was that Africa's coronavirus infection rates have stayed so low and have kept experts puzzled. The situation has since changed as the number of COVID-19 cases in Africa have shot above 1400 with 40 deaths now recorded

To limit the risk of spread, many companies, including Paystack, have closed down offices and encouraged employees to work from home. That is the reason why I am writing this newsletter from my dining table in Ejigbo, Lagos. 

Enjoy the rest of your week (preferably indoors) and don't forget to wash your hands!
Tochukwu Ironsi
Product Specialist, Paystack
AfricaImpact of COVID-19 on African countries and fintech companies. Beyond disruptions to the way we work and move around, African countries are taking drastic changes to the way money moves in their respective countries to cushion the effect of the impending financial downturn. Countries like Nigeria and Ghana have reduced monetary policy rates and have revised budgets. Also to encourage more cashless transactions, countries like Uganda, Kenya, and Ghana have waived taxes and fees on mobile money transactions and also revised transaction limits on mobile wallets. Following the directives of the respective central banks, mobile money operators like MTN and Airtel have begun revising fees and increasing transaction limits across the continent.  MTN

There has been widespread discussions about the new normal, the idea that many of the changes we have made to our socio-economic systems will remain after the pandemic is over. What would be the state of African fintech after the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic slowdown? It would be great to hear your thoughts on this. 
Banking & Finance
NigeriaGTB Bank launches Beta Health. The Nigerian bank has launched a digital product that allows customers to purchase health insurance for a monthly premium of N500. Customers have access to over 1000 hospitals and can sign up on their GTBank App or using USSD on their mobile phones.  Nairametrics
NigeriaZenith General Insurance partners with MTN to launch USSD-based insurance service. Zenith General Insurance, a subsidiary of Zenith Bank, has partnered with MTN to launch USSD-based general insurance services. Customers can now purchase third-party motor insurance and personal accident insurance by dialling *5966# on their mobile phones.  Nairametrics
East AfricaWhat will be the impact of COVID-19 on East Africa's informal financial network? In this twitter thread, Michael Kimani (@pesa_africa) outlines the operations of the Biashara ecosystem, an informal trading and financial network that operates at the borders of East African countries. He also explains the roles the different actors play in the ecosystem and ponders on the ripple effects a pandemic-led disruption would have on the network.  Michael Kimani on Twitter

The points raised on the twitter thread were based on a 2016 report on the Borderland Biashara by Niti Bhan, Rinku Gajera and Michael Kimani. Here is a link to the report
AfricaEMQ expands operations into Africa EMQ, one of the leading cross-border settlement platforms in Asia and Europe will now facilitate cross-border payments in 18 African countries including Nigeria and Kenya.  Finextra
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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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