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Issue 93
Jun 07 - Jun 13, 2021

Hi there,

I mentioned a few months back that I was conducting a recruitment exercise for my team, the process has now been completed and we have three amazing new teammates! Although working remotely means we can no longer take the customary group pictures with new joiners, I'd like to give a quick warm welcome to Valerie, Ejiro, and Femi! 

Bolaji Akande
CSM - Key Accounts, Paystack
South AfricaTelkom Pay launches virtual card for WhatsApp transactions. Launched in 2020, Telkom Pay is a digital payments wallet that enables its users to make and receive payments using WhatsApp on their mobile phone. Telkom has now launched a Mastercard virtual card feature. This new feature allows users create and link a virtual card to their digital wallet, enabling them to make payments from their Telkom Pay wallet via a card. Business Tech
NigeriaNigerian banks' USSD debt rises to N50b (~$121m) as plans to pass USSD cost to customers begins. In August last year, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ruled that USSD is a service to banks, and not to the telcos' consumers. This means that banks were to start paying telcos when their customers use USSD to access financial services. However, since then the unpaid bill due to the telcos from the banks have ballooned to N50b (~$121m). On the other hand, the banks have begun officially passing the cost of USSD transactions to customers following the new N6.98 per transaction structure. The Guardian Nigeria
AfricaHow will major technology trends affect the financial service industry in Africa? Samora Kariuki takes a look at some of the technology trends that will shape the fintech industry of the future viz a viz Africa’s ability to adapt. Frontier Fintech Newsletter
Banking & Finance
GhanaGhana's Central Bank governor says digital Cedi is at an advanced stage and warns against unregulated cryptocurrencies. The rollout planned in three phases: design, implementation, and pilot. According to the Central Bank Governor, Ernest Addison, the digital Cedi project is now at an advanced design phase. The governor also used the opportunity to warn against unregulated cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, saying they are too volatile to play the function of money. PYMNTS
KenyaDigital banking transactions surpass branch transactions in Q1 for Kenya's Equity Bank. The digital banking services provided by Equity Bank Kenya have now overtaken its traditional banking in terms of sheer volumes transacted. According to the bank, an enormous growth of 235% was recorded on Eazzynet, its internet banking platform.
IT News Africa

The global pandemic has definitely played a huge part in moving a lot of businesses and transactions online. However, for a traditional bank like Equity Bank, I find this news quite exciting. The age of digital banking in Africa is well and truly in full swing.
MENAYC-backed Ziina raises $7.5M seed to scale services across Middle East and North Africa Zinna, a peer-to-peer payment service provider, allows users to send and receive payments with just a phone number. Currently in its beta phase, the Dubai-based company is looking to expand into Saudi Arabia and Jordan in 2022, and afterwards Egypt and Tunisia.
MaghrebThe International Finance Corporation (IFC) launches Start Maghreb to assist start-ups expand across the Maghreb region. The IFC says the goal of Start Maghreb is to help start-ups in the Maghreb region to gain access to larger markets as well as provide more jobs within the region. The program aims to bring together startups, incubators, accelerators, investors, public institutions and, donors in order to share knowledge, identify blocking points and find solutions to promote the development of young companies.Editor's Notes: Tech Gist Africa

There's currently no clear direction on how to apply for Start Maghreb, however, if you run a start-up in one of the Maghreb countries - Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia, you should keep an eye on this as it develops.
RwandaThe Rwanda FintecHub now accepting applications for second cohort of startup accelerators The FintecHub, assists early-stage companies by providing market access, technical assistance, flexible grants, coaching, and partners who can help firms expand faster. If you are an early-stage startup in Rwanda and this interests you, you can apply here.
Tech Gist Africa
Did you know?

Only 45% of Nigerian adults are formally banked. According to a study conducted by EFInA, only 45% of Nigerian adults own a bank account as at 2020, up from 40% in 2018. Overall, 51% of Nigerian adults are financially included with an additional 6% engaging in formal non-bank activities like mobile money. This is still short of the country's 70% financial inclusion target for 2020.

The study also revealed that online payments adoption increased from 16% to 29% amongst adults, and highlighted some opportunities within the financial industry, for example, only 2% of Nigerians are insured, but 18 million uninsured adults say they'll be interested in micro-insurance products.

Given the effects of the COVID pandemic and the tough economic realities that most Nigerians currently face, recording growth in financial inclusion, no matter how little, is a positive signal for adoption of financial services in the country.

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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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