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Issue 49
Mar 30 - Apr 05, 2020

Hi there,

There is a lot going on with mobile money payments in Africa, especially in these COVID-19 times when consumers are looking to pay for services with as little physical interaction as possible. The one good thing that will potentially come out of this global pandemic is a strong increase in the adoption of non-cash payments methods.

For now stay home, be safe.
Bolaji Akande
Product Specialist, Paystack
Payments
AfricaSafaricom and Vodacom jointly acquire the M-Pesa brand from Vodafone. Previously owned by Vodafone, the M-Pesa brand, along with its product development and support services has been acquired by Kenya's Safaricom and South Africa's Vodacom. The acquisition was completed via a joint venture, and will save both companies money in royalties paid to Vodafone. Before the acquisition, Safaricom said it paid 2% of its annual M-PESA revenue, while Vodafone paid 5% in an intellectual property fee from its M-PESA business. PYMNTS
KenyaSafaricom’s M-Pesa processed 99.6% of the total value of all mobile money deposits in Kenya. According to the latest data from the Communications Authority of Kenya, Safaricom’s M-Pesa processed 99.6% of the total value of all mobile money deposits between October and December 2019. Kenyan Wall Street
NigeriaMobile money accounts in Nigeria growing, despite delay in issuing (Payment Service Bank) PSB licences. The 2019 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money released in March by GSMA showed that sub-Saharan Africa is the epicenter of mobile money, acquiring over 50 million registered accounts in 2019. In Nigeria specifically, the Central Bank is yet to issue a full PSB licences to Mobile Network Operators. However, last year the apex bank issued a super agent licence to MTN, and approval in principle for a PSB licence to fellow telecom companies, Gloworld and 9Mobile. Since then, MTN, in particular, began offering mobile money transfers through its agent network, contributing to the growth of mobile money adoption. Business Day
EthiopiaEthiopia allows local non-financial firms offer mobile money services, deny foreign telcom operators. The country's central bank will now allow locally-owned non-financial institutions to start offering mobile money services to boost non-cash payments. This new directive which comes in the midst of massive economic reforms led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, would allow Ethio Telecom, an Ethiopian-owned company, to move into mobile money. However, foreign telecom operators, including Kenya’s Safaricom and South Africa’s MTN, who have also expressed interest in bidding for telecoms licenses are currently unable to do so. Reuters
AfricaGSMA Tech Lab launches new platform to test mobile money interoperability. The test platform is the first joint test environment including two key technologies, the GSMA Mobile Money API and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Mojaloop. With interoperability being a blocker to the growth of the mobile money industry, the test environment aims to enable wider adoption of interoperability and make payments more seamless in emerging markets. Finextra
South AfricaSouth African fintech startup TaxTim expands to Nigeria in partnership with PwC. After partnering with PwC to offer virtual tax assistance to their clients, the South African fintech startup has made Nigeria their second international market. TaxTim allows users to file their tax returns online with step-by-step guidance on a chat-based platform. Disrupt Africa
GlobalSWIFT’s major announcement slips under the radar. SWIFT is potentially taking on global card players, Visa and Mastercard, by throwing their hat into the ring to become the global connector for account-to-account (A2A) payments. With this move, SWIFT, which is owned by the banks, can control the interconnectivity of new instant payments schemes currently live or rolling out all over the world. This puts SWIFT in direct competition with both Visa and Mastercard, who over the last 12 months, have made huge acquisitions in the payments market. Finextra
EDITOR'S NOTE

SWIFT is a messaging network used by banks and other financial institutions to quickly, and securely send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions. With the rise of fintechs, almost all programs to roll out instant payments scheme involve the banks investing heavily in development, and yet the solutions have ultimately led to a drop in revenue for them. Well, it looks like the banks are stepping in to keep control of this global integration.
GlobalVisa says consumer spending, including online transactions, has sharply declined. Visa once again lowered its outlook for revenue growth in the fiscal second quarter, saying the coronavirus pandemic has led to a sharp decline in cardholders’ overseas spending. In March alone, Visa cardholders’ spending dropped by 4% in the U.S., while customers’ overseas spending has declined by 19%. American Banker
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