|Ethiopia||Safaricom acquires Ethiopia's first Mobile Money license. The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has awarded a consortium including Vodafone Group, Vodacom, and Safaricom a license to become Ethiopia's first private mobile operator. As part of its bid, the consortium pledged to spend $8 billion over the next ten years to create new jobs and support the economy by introducing new and more efficient services. The Guardian|
|EDITOR'S NOTE||Up until now, state-owned Ethio Telecom has held the sole telco and mobile money licenses. Consequently, this license is a big step to opening up the digital infrastructure of Africa's second most populous country to outside investment. Maybe even more importantly though, this allows new players to offer financial services as seen in other African countries.|
|Twitter||Is Bitcoin going to become a legal tender in Kenya? Michael Kimani (@pesa_africa) analyses the potential implications that the proceedings in El Salvador to make Bitcoin a legal tender could have on international countries like Kenya. in this Twitter thread|
|EDITOR'S NOTE||Bitcoin's quest to gain acceptance from the world as a legal tender has been met with resistance from central banks across the globe. Even in Africa where it has a strong remittance use case, Central Banks of Kenya and Nigeria at different times in the last year, have banned or limited adoption. The legal implication of El Salvador's proposed legislation is that bitcoin could potentially constitute a valid foreign currency for many countries as defined by their laws.|
It is however hard to state what the actual implication of this will be if the bill is passed. Beyond strong regulatory opposition, there are still significant technical and operational steps to be taken for financial institutions in Africa to hold Bitcoin and conduct transactions. This is still one step forward towards mainstream crypto adoption and financial inclusion for millions globally
|Africa||Chipper Cash raises $100M in Series C round. This round of funding will be used to introduce more products and grow its team. The cross-border startup had previously raised $30 million in Series B last November and $13.8 million in Series A last June. This brings total investments in the company over the last year to $143.8 million, reportedly making it Africa's sixth tech unicorn. Silicon Valley Bank Capital led this round with participation from existing investors - Deciens Capital, Ribbit Capital, Bezos Expeditions amongst others. TechCrunch|
|EDITOR'S NOTE||It's interesting to note that the company has raised 3 rounds of funding in less than a year. This is yet another positive signal of a declining barrier to capital and we should expect similar mega-rounds as the ecosystem begins to mature.|
|Egypt||Egyptian fintech startup MoneyHash raises $6 million in pre-seed funding. MoneyHash provides a universal API to allow business access all payment and fintech services across Middle East & Africa. The company is still in private beta and the funding will be used to launch in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The round was led by COTU Ventures, a venture capital firm based in the United Arab Emirates, with participation from Ventures Platform, Kepple Africa Ventures and angel investors. Disrupt Africa|
|Nigeria||Lagos State registers 400 money lenders in two years. According to a statement by the state’s Commissioner for Home Affairs, Anofiu Elegushi, the Lagos State Government has registered over 400 money lenders. Money lender licenses are state-issued licenses that allow companies and individuals to offer loans. Financial Technology Africa|
|EDITOR'S NOTE||On the surface, the money lender's license seems directed towards low-tech legacy institutions. The reality however is that this is the most accessibly compliant route to offering digital lending to customers. Therefore, this rise in license issuance should be seen as a proxy for the increase in the number of digital lenders coming into the space.|
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