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June 1, 2023

On the wires

May 31, 2023

On the web

May 24, 2023

On the web

May 18, 2023

On the web

Safaricom Granted License to Operate M-PESA in Ethiopia as the Group Revenue Hits KES 310.9 Billion in FY23


"Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia has today officially been granted the license to operate mobile money services in Ethiopia. The licence, coming seven months after the commercial launch of GSM services. The M-PESA license will open the country to the world’s largest mobile payment system and Africa’s largest Fintech, and the world’s first mobile money transfer system."

May 11, 2023

On the web

Bango, TPAY, and Etisalat Egypt Launch Direct Carrier Billing with Google To Enable IN-APP Purchases and Subscriptions for over 30 million Subscribers

GlobeNewswire News Room

"TPAY, the leading payment provider for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META), today announces, through its partnership with Bango and Etisalat Egypt, the launch of Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) with Google for over 30 million subscribers. The collaboration will create an easier experience for Android users to purchase apps, games, and digital content on their devices on Google Play."

April 18, 2023

On the web

April 14, 2023

On the web

API Abuse Highlights Dangers of Unsafe Open Banking Implementation


"With banks in Africa lagging their European counterparts in adopting open banking, inroads are still being made as the promise of fairness, competition and innovation, which are the hallmarks of open banking, remain an attractive proposition for those looking to facilitate the secure exchange of individual and business data held by banks, with authorised third parties."

April 7, 2023

On the web

Africa’s Central Banks Lead the Way, Embrace Open Banking

The Citizen

"Nairobi. Regulators on the continent are developing frameworks that allow customers of traditional banks to engage with third-party service providers via their banking apps - blowing open a multi-billion dollar market. Nigeria in March became the first African country to launch open banking on the continent, after publishing guidelines on how traditional lenders may connect to a global digital market poised to grow from $13.9 billion to $123.7 billion by 2031, according to Allied Market Research."

March 16, 2023

On the web

Kenya’s Smartphone Market is Still Shrinking, with a YoY Decline of 13.5% in Q4 2022

Tech In Africa

"According to the latest data from International Data Corporation (IDC), Kenya’s smartphone market dropped for the second quarter in Q4 2022, with shipments down 13.5% year on year (YoY). In its report, the global technology intelligence firm said that supply shortages and rising prices were the main reasons for the drop. Also, the dollar’s exchange rate went up during the quarter, increasing import costs and street prices, which drove up consumer demand. In the fourth quarter of 2022, Samsung had a 31.7% unit share of Kenya’s smartphone market, making it the market leader. Tecno was in second place with 18.8% of shipments, and Infinix was in third place with 9.2% of shipments."

March 15, 2023

On the web

Cheques from Rival Banks to be Cleared in a Day (Africa)

Business Daily

"Bank customers who pay cheques from rival lenders into their accounts will be able to get the money cleared within one working day in fresh efforts to boost cash flow in the economy. At the moment, the process can take up to three days, removing the discrimination that has for years seen banks clear internal cheques within 24 hours. The reduced clearance period follows an upgrade of the Automated Clearing House System (ACH), the platform used by banks for electronic funds transfers and cheques."

South Africa Reserve Bank Partners with Local Banks to Launch PayShap, a Low-Payments Mobile System


"The service, backed by SARB and local banks, will allow South Africans to transfer money instantly between their phones, without a bank account. PayShap is expected to become South Africa's most popular electronic payment option by the end of this year. It could be a significant solution to displace cash as it estimates that nine out of 10 transactions in the country are still conducted in cash."

March 1, 2023

On the web

Nigeria's Cash Crisis Provides Boon for Fintech and Mobile Money Operators, Fitch Reports

Business Insider Africa

"Nigeria is experiencing a cash crisis due to a demonetisation effort by the Central Bank of Nigeria. While this has caused considerable social unrest, the crisis has been a short-term boon for the country's fintechs and mobile money operators such as MTN and Airtel Africa. The lack of physical money in circulation has been a significant catalyst to the adoption of digital financial services, as consumers have been forced to adopt digital methods of payment at point-of-sale (POS)"

January 18, 2023

On the web

Nigeria’s e-Payment Transactions Hit 5-Yr High

Businessday NG

The volume of financial transactions performed electronically in Africa’s most populous nation surged to the highest in five years in 2022, according to new data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS). BusinessDay analysis of the data shows that the total volume of NIBSS Instant Payment platform (NIP) transactions rose by 613.1 percent to 5.2 billion last year from 729.2 million in 2018.

November 21, 2022

On the web

Ripple and MFS Africa Partner to Bring Crypto-Enabled Payments to Africa

IBS Intelligence

Ripple, one of the leaders in enterprise blockchain and crypto solutions, announced its entry into Africa in partnership with MFS Africa, a leading digital payments gateway. The new partnership will see MFS Africa using Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) solution for crypto-enabled payments to make it easier than ever for consumers and businesses in Africa to make real-time payments with their mobile phones across borders – all powered by Ripple’s financial technology, RippleNet.

November 16, 2022

On the web

Ripple Expands into Africa, Partnering with MFS Africa to Bring the Benefits of Crypto-Enabled Payments to the Continent


Today, Ripple, the leader in enterprise blockchain and crypto solutions, announced its entry into Africa in partnership with MFS Africa, a leading digital payments gateway. The new partnership will see MFS Africa using Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) solution for crypto-enabled payments to make it easier than ever for consumers and businesses in Africa to make real-time payments with their mobile phones across borders – all powered by Ripple’s financial technology, RippleNet.

Digital payments innovation in Africa is evolving at a rapid rate, making this the right time for Ripple’s long awaited move into the region. Africa boasts a rapidly-growing population – set to hit 1.7bn by 2030 – and the continent’s uptake of digital payments is among the fastest globally. According to GSMA, Africa accounts for 70% of the world’s $1 trillion mobile money value. In 2021, the value of Africa’s mobile money transactions reached $701.4 billion, a 39% increase on the prior year.

October 28, 2022

On the web

The Future of Fintech: Rapid Growth Attracts Smart Capital (Africa)

Middle East/Africa Hub

Africa has enjoyed an early mover’s position in the application of fintech in effecting financial inclusion and economic transformation. The success of the continent’s mobile money revolution caught the world’s attention over a decade ago, bringing into sharp focus the potential inherent in the combination of finance and technology – with innovation and empathy. The system was simple, scalable, accessible, and made possible by unlikely partnerships. It enabled real-time transactions, and brought millions of unbanked individuals into the financial mainstream.

October 26, 2022

On the web

New Approaches are Needed for Instant Payment Systems to Reach Their Potential in Africa


“On October 25, 2022, AfricaNenda launched State of the Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems (SIIPS) 2022 report, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the World Bank. It is the fruition of extensive consultation with a broad range of industry leaders, experts, and digital financial services (DFS) as well as MSMEs and 1,200 consumers in seven countries on the continent. The first take from the report is that Instant Payment systems (IPS) are on a rapid ascent in Africa: 29 systems have gone live on the continent over the past decade, two new systems on average emerge every year, 21 others are underway. And usage of IPS is growing commensurately. In 2021, the 29 active systems on the continent processed nearly USD 1 trillion and 16 billion in transaction values and volumes, respectively.”

September 28, 2022

On the web

New Data on the e-Levy in Ghana: Unpopular Tax on Mobile Money Transfers is Hitting the Poor Hardest

The Conversation

“Ghana’s introduction of a a 1.5% tax on mobile money transactions in May 2022 has been watched closely by policymakers across Africa. The proponents of the electronic transaction levy (e-levy) argue that taxes on mobile money — commonly referred to in Ghana as MoMo — present an opportunity for cash-strapped governments to raise funds in the complex post-pandemic context. In Ghana, the “e-levy” has been linked to the current administration’s “Ghana Beyond Aid” strategy for reducing aid dependence. Taxes on MoMo, in Ghana and elsewhere, have also been justified as a way to “capture” those working in the informal economy, who are perceived as being untaxed. Critics have pointed out, however, that informal workers (who make up 89% of total employment in Ghana) already pay a range of fees and taxes. Therefore they may be disproportionately affected by this new tax.”

September 27, 2022

On the web

South African Financial Services Giant Nedbank Secures a ‘Village’ in the Metaverse

Bitcoin News

“Nedbank, the South African financial services group, recently secured a “village” in the Ubuntuland metaverse which reportedly measures 12 by 12. By securing the village, which will be used to showcase African creativity, Nedbank is said to have become one of the first financial institutions on the African continent to embrace the metaverse. According to a Bloomberg report , the financial services group has partnered with Africarare, the creators of Ubuntuland. Remarking on Nedbank’s entry into the metaverse, Khensani Nobanda, the financial giant’s marketing and corporate affairs executive, said that her organization chose to secure space in the virtual world because it wants to create experiences for its clients that “go beyond banking.””

September 23, 2022

On the web

Firm Partners Mastercard on Phone Payments for SMEs in Africa

The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News

“Prophius has announced the rollout of its PayContactless solution, enabling small businesses to accept contactless payments through their NFC-enabled Android phones. The move is expected to boost digital payments acceptance for small and micro enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and other key markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, while supporting consumers’ preference for safe and seamless digital payments. PayContactless leverages Mastercard Tap on Phone, a simple and cost-effective digital payment technology developed for micro and small businesses and traders, who tend to operate in a cash economy due to the costs and complexity of obtaining traditional PoS devices.”

September 19, 2022

On the web

Brazil’s Ebanx Expands into Africa with Eye on Mobile Money


“Brazilian fintech company Ebanx S.A. on Tuesday said it has expanded into Africa, where it hopes to replicate its fast growth in Latin America by placing a greater emphasis on the digital payments side of its business. The company started operations in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria in late August amid soaring demand for payments via mobile phones in recent years.”

August 8, 2022

On the web

Nigeria-Based Bumpa is Adapting Instagram Messaging for Vendors Selling Through DMs


“At a time of growing interest in social commerce in Africa, Instagram has started working with African startups focused on helping vendors sell more through DMs, by letting those startups connect to its messaging APIs. One of the first startups to do this integration is Bumpa, a Nigerian Shopify-like website that allows its users to create an online store, plus other functionalities like recording sales and tracking payments. Vendors who have the Bumpa app can receive Instagram direct messages from potential customers, without needing to have Instagram installed on their phones (though they must have an account).”

July 8, 2022

On the web

Safaricom Launches Interest-Free Loans for Buying Goods

African Markets

“Safaricom has unveiled a zero-interest credit service that will allow millions of its customers to shop for goods up to Sh100,000 and pay later in a move that is set to disrupt the mobile loans market. Users of the interest-free product to be known as Faraja will buy goods and services from as low as Sh20 to a maximum of Sh100,000 and pay the same amount without any extra fees witnessed on other credit products.   However, only the normal M-pesa transaction charges will apply at the point of sale on the product to be bankrolled by Equity Bank.”

July 5, 2022

On the web

Exploring and Piloting Digital Currencies is Becoming More Popular Amongst African Central Banks, But Why?

World Economic Forum

Several sub-Saharan African central banks are exploring or in the pilot phase of a digital currency, following Nigeria’s October introduction of e-Naira. Nigeria was the second country after the Bahamas to roll out a CBDC.

CBDCs are digital versions of cash that are more secure and less volatile than crypto assets because they are issued and regulated by central banks. As the Chart of the Week shows, South Africa and Ghana are running pilots while other countries are in the research phase.

June 29, 2022

On the web

South Africa is Introducing a New Banking Payment System This Year


“The South African Reserve Bank is working on a new Rapid Payments Programme (RPP) which is set to significantly shake up payments in South Africa. The programme, which is mentioned in the central bank’s 2022 annual report, forms part of the SARB’s ‘vision 2025’ plan as an industry-led payments modernisation initiative. The SARB noted that BankServAfrica is working with several bank participants to build the technology solution that forms the backbone of the RPP solution. It is currently in the testing phase with its implementation planned for the second half of 2022.”

May 19, 2022

On the web

UBA Upgrades Chatbot Features, as Leo Launches Service on Google Business Chat, Instagram


“Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) has announced the expansion of the services of Leo, its Artificial Intelligence chatbot to Google Business Chat and Instagram. Leo – UBA’s AI-powered chatbot, which enables customers to make use of their social media accounts to carry out key banking transactions – was first introduced in January, 2018. It has since evolved to become a custom-fitted, personalised virtual banker to several UBA Customers across its 20 African countries. Before now, UBA’s Leo was servicing customers on Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Apple Chat. The bank also announced an interesting upgrade to the existing features of Leo, where customers can now carry out their activities in a 3D animated format.”

May 12, 2022

On the web

Nigeria’s Cryptocurrency Problem has Central Bank Scrambling

African Business

“When early in April the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) penalised six top banks a total of N1.3bn ($3.1m) for violating its directive against facilitating transactions in cryptocurrencies, it was the latest sign that the country’s crypto problem won’t easily go away. Access Bank got the biggest fine of N500m, followed by FCMB with N400m and Stanbic IBTC with N200m. United Bank for Africa and Wema Bank were slapped with N100m naira each, and Fidelity Bank N14.28m. With the government prohibition, the onus has been on the banks to detect accounts used to trade in cryptocurrencies.”

April 27, 2022

On the web

Ethiopia Changes Law for M-Pesa Expansion

Business Daily

“Ethiopia has started changing its national payments law to clear the way for Safaricom to introduce its popular M-Pesa in the market of 110 million people. Ethiopia’s central bank has drafted a Bill that will allow foreign investors to offer mobile money services, boosting firms such as Safaricom that are seeking to start operations in the country this year.”

April 22, 2022

On the web

Buna (The Arab Regional Payments Clearing and Settlement Organization)


“The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that sets the foundation for cooperation and interoperability between Buna, the cross-border and multi-currency payment system owned by the AMF, and the Pan-African Payment & Settlement System – PAPSS owned by Afreximbank.   Under the terms of this MoU, #buna and #papss will cooperate to achieve efficient interoperability between their respective platforms and act as payment gateways that link the Arab region to the African continent. Buna and PAPSS interoperability will allow their participants to process fast, cost-effective, and secure cross-border payments in multi-currencies, and expand their footprint in the global payment landscape.”

October 18, 2021

On the web

Music Streamers Turn to Telcos to Make Africa Pay


“Africa, with its internationally recognised musical talent – and growing mobile phone use – is central to Swedish music streamer Spotify’s (SPOT.N) plans to extend its reach to a billion customers. As African artists such as Nigeria’s Burna Boy and South Africa’s Black Coffee are streamed across the world, the continent was seen as an obvious choice and is the home to more than a third of the company’s 85 new markets. The problem is payment on a continent where many people are more likely to have a mobile phone than a bank account.”

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