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Issue 80
Feb 08 - Feb 21, 2021

Hi there,

How have you been? It's been a whirlwind of a year for me! I've moved houses, started a new round of recruitment for my team, and suffered the emotional turmoil of observing the current Bitcoin explosion having missed out on some action late last year (welp). Anyways, things were a little more stable in the last week.

My colleague Simi, and I are currently in Nairobi, and will be for the next few weeks. If you're in town, and would like to connect, or be kind enough to show us around, hit me up on Twitter (@buujhu) or send me an email.

Bolaji Akande
Customer Success Manager, Paystack
🔥 Decode Fintech Podcast Season 2

Episode 3 of the Decode Fintech Podcast is out! How do you leverage customer interactions to grow your business?

Listen as Steve Amaza, Customer Success Manager at Paystack, answers this question and more, in "How Paystack Drives Growth with Customer Service."

KenyaValue of card transactions down as mobile money gains even more ground. Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows the value of payments through point of sale (POS) machines dropped by 3.8% from Sh164.09 billion in 2019 to Sh157.72 billion in 2020. Although the absolute number of transactions through POS machines still increased by 1.49 million (4.5%) in 2020, the corresponding drop in value was the first in six years. The CBK is attributing this drop to the poor network of POS terminals nationally, and mobile money's growing dominance as a substitute for card payments. Business Daily Africa
AfricaIs MTN officially entering the IMTO space? MTN recently launched Momo (Mobile Money) International Airtime that allows users to send Global Airtime to people in other countries. The Momo user will be charged in their local currency for the airtime sent from their MoMo wallet, and will reflect in the relevant local currency of the recipient. ITWeb Africa

The IMT (International Money Transfer) space has been growing exponentially in recent years. Multiple fintech start-ups have been springing up to solve the problem of moving money, both within Africa, and between Africa and the rest of the world. While there has been some progress, there's still a lot of work to be done before funds remittance within and across Africa is seamless, and cheap. MTN, which has recently been vocal about making more investments in its fintech operations, is definitely well poised to play in this space as they have the advantage of owning existing payment infrastructure in multiple African countries. This will definitely be an interesting one to watch as adoption grows in the coming weeks and months.
TanzaniaBank of Tanzania to launch Tanzania Instant Payment Systems. Starting July, Tanzania Instant Payment Systems (TIPS) will bring all existing digital payment systems, including mobile money operators under one platform. This means that instead of going through multiple steps when sending money to someone on a different provider, only the receiver's name will be required under TIPS. Big win for interoperability.  The Citizen

For more context on how important this is for Tanzania, listen to this episode of the Decode Fintech Podcast. In the episode, the CEO of Ghana's Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems breaks down how GhIPPS, a similar platform, laid the groundwork for increased mobile money adoption in Ghana today.
NigeriaSEC puts crypto regulation plans on hold, presents united front with CBN on crypto ban. Sometime last year, Nigeria's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) mentioned they were working on regulating cryptocurrencies, which they categorised as securities. However since the crypto ban was announced by the central bank, the SEC has said there is no conflict between the SEC and the CBN on the topic, as the CBN is acting on identified risks that threaten investor protection. Hope lingers that the recently announced cryptocurrency ban by the country's central bank will be reversed as the country's senate have invited both regulatory bodies to discuss a way forward. Techpoint Africa
Cote d'IvoireCote d'Ivoire fintech app Djamo selected for Y Combinator accelerator. Founded by Hassan Bourgi and Regis Bamba last year, Djamo is a financial super app that wants to democratise access to quality and affordable banking for its users. Djamo launched its app and Visa card in November 2020, now reportedly has around 90,000 registered users, and processes over 50,000 transactions monthly. TechCrunch
AfricaJack Dorsey and Jay Z set up 500 Bitcoin trust, looking to hire three board members. The fund, called ₿trust, will focus on Africa and India. It will be set up as a blind irrevocable trust, as both founders won’t be giving any direction to the team. Although, the actual goals of the fund are yet to be shared, the mission of the fund is to “make Bitcoin the internet’s currency”. TechCrunch
GlobalPayPal unlikely to invest cash in cryptocurrencies. In October last year, Paypal opened up their platform to allow some users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, with CEO, Dan Schulman, outlining even more cryptocurrency offerings in 2021. However, following Tesla's investment in Bitcoin, John Rainey, Paypal's CFO, has come out to say the company won't be going that far. Paypal instead plans to invest their money in services they are currently providing, such as buy now, pay later. Reuters

While Paypal, and other companies like Uber, have also come out to say they won't be investing in crypto, this has done nothing to affect the current upward trajectory of Bitcoin prices. 
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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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