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Issue 53
Apr 27 - May 03, 2020

Hi there,

We just released the 6th and final episode of the first season of the Decode Fintech Podcast! We had a very interesting chat with Odun Eweniyi, the COO and Co-founder of PiggyVest, about how PiggyVest is helping a new generation of Nigerians to save and invest.

Here is a link to the episode. Give it a listen! 
Tochukwu Ironsi
Product Specialist, Paystack
KenyaSafaricom announces Ksh 84.4b M-PESA revenue in 2019. Kenya's Safaricom has recorded annual revenue of Ksh 84.4b (~$792m) from M-PESA, the mobile money service, for the financial year ended March 2020. M-PESA's revenue increased by 12.6% from the previous year; this represents about 33% of the total services revenue for Safaricom. Relatively new business lines such as savings (M-Shwari, KCB M-PESA) and lending (Fuliza) were the key mobile money revenue drivers accounting for 43.6% in annual growth. Kenyan Wall Street

Link to the Safaricom's FY20 results presentation
KenyaSafaricom partners with Visa to launch digital payment products. More good news for Safaricom, as the telecoms giant has announced a partnership with Visa to develop digital payment products for customers of M-PESA. This partnership will potentially allow M-PESA customers to leverage Visa's global infrastructure and network of merchants to make payments and engage in trade outside the local mobile money ecosystem. TechCrunch

Very little details are known about the partnership as it is still in its early stages and subject to regulatory approval. However, it is still interesting to speculate what this might look like when it is approved and ramped up. Will M-PESA customers have Visa cards tied to their mobile money wallets? will there be a mobile money checkout option on Visa-supported merchants? However this goes, this is definitely a huge step towards connecting a large but limited mobile money ecosystem to the global payments and e-commerce rails.
GhanaMobile Money Interoperability usage up by 358% in Ghana. Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) has recorded 5.12 million wallet-to-wallet cross-network transfers on their Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI) service in Q1 2020, a 358% YoY increase from last year. MMI was introduced in May 2018 to replace the complicated token system and has seen monthly transactions go from 100,000 in the first month to two million transactions in March.  Mobile Money Africa

Mobile Money interoperability is the ability of mobile money wallets to engage in transactions across different mobile networks. However, in the above context, Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI) is also a service owned by GhIPSS which enables the aforementioned interoperability by allowing direct fund transfer across networks for a fee. In issue 52, we wrote about how East African telcos help achieve this in the region.
Banking & Finance
KenyaCentral Bank of Kenya slashes benchmark lending rate to 7%. Kenya's central bank has slashed the benchmark lending to 7.0% from 7.25%, the third time this year, as the country struggles through COVID-led economic downturn. The reduced benchmark rate is expected to reduce the cost of credit and encourage much-needed cash flow to businesses and citizens that are struggling during this period.  Ventures Africa

It will be interesting to see the eventual impact of these monetary measures on the economy as certain key sectors such as tourism and construction are still grounded due to the lockdown.
KenyaBitcoin is on fire in Kenya. No one is actually burning bitcoin wallets in Kenya but Matt Alhborg (@MattAhlborg) points out that peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin transfers have soared in 2020, recording about 11% week-on-week growth in transaction value. Twitter
AfricaWhat are the advantages of bitcoin over mobile money? Michael Kimani (@pesa_africa) highlights certain advantages that bitcoin currently has over mobile money (M-PESA): opportunity for speculative gain, privacy, interoperability and global reach. Michael Kimani on Twitter
GlobalContactless payments on the rise. According to this tweet by Marcello Schermer (@Marcelloscherme), Visa has also seen a 60% YoY growth in contactless payments outside the US for Q1 2020. This should signal a shift in consumer behavior as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mastercard also reported a similar rise in contactless payments across the Middle East and Africa in a recently conducted survey. Marcello Schermer on Twitter

Link to Visa's quarterly earnings presentation. 
GlobalMastercard's volume of cross-border transactions processed have dropped. Meanwhile, Max Friedrich (@mfriedrichARK) highlights that cross-border transaction volumes processed by Mastercard's international switching platform in first 3 weeks of April have dropped by ~50%. Maximilian Friedrich on Twitter

Link to the Mastercard's quarterly earnings presentation. 
NigeriaOkra raises $1m in pre-seed funding, 4 months after launch. Okra, the fintech company that connects companies to customers' financial information, just raised $1m in pre-seed funding. The funding was led by TLcom and marks their first funding in the African fintech space. Disrupt Africa
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