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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.”

October 11, 2021

On the web

Google to Invest $1 Billion in Africa Over the Next 5 Years | TechCabal


“At the first virtual Google for Africa event today, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, announced a plan to invest $1billion over 5 years to support digital transformation in Africa. The investment focuses on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans; building helpful products; supporting entrepreneurship and small business; and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa.”

October 1, 2021

On the web

CBN Postpones ENaira Launch

Premium Times Nigeria

“The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced the postponement of the launch of the country’s digital currency, eNaira. The bank had earlier said it would launch the currency today, October 1. It announced a postponement Thursday citing lined up events for the country’s 61st independence anniversary. The postponement came a day after a firm (ENaira Payment Solutions Limited) filed a suit before the Federal High Court against the CBN over the name “eNaira”.”

On the wires

Western Union Joins Forces With Major Financial Institutions in Africa


“Western Union, a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments, is collaborating with major financial institutions in Africa, to enable millions of consumers to send and receive cross-border payments, quickly and reliably, 24/7. Customers of KCB Bank Kenya, the Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) and the Kenya Post Office Savings Bank (Postbank), can now enjoy an easy and convenient way to send cross-border money transfers, with the launch of Western Union’s digital money transfer services on their respective mobile banking apps. Customers can send money overseas/cross-border using funds from their bank accounts and choose for the receiver to have the money paid out to their bank account or at a Western Union agent location, depending on the country in which they reside. Customers of these financial institutions are also able to receive international money transfers directly to their bank accounts, depending on the country in which senders reside.”

September 30, 2021

On the web

A New Payments Platform for African Currencies Is a Push for Independence From the Dollar


“High hopes for seamless intra-Africa trade under the terms of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) got a boost this week with the formal roll-out of a payments platform by the Africa Export-Import bank (Afreximbank), the continent’s trade finance institution. The platform is called the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System, or PAPSS, and was first launched in July 2019 at an African Union summit in Niger.”

August 27, 2021

On the web

PawaPay Raises $9M Seed Backed by MSA, 88mph and Mr Eazi’s Zagadat Capital


“When companies create digital payments-facing solutions for African countries outside Nigeria and South Africa, building around mobile money is key. It’s literally a no-brainer. The concept is ubiquitous in East Africa, but since mobile money is a telecom operators-led initiative, there are technical complexities in creating a unified infrastructure for businesses that need it. PawaPay , a U.K.-based and Africa-focused payments company, is one of the few tackling these complexities. The company takes the technical integrations from telecom operators like AirtelTigo, Econet, MTN, Safaricom, Orange and Vodafone and collapses them into one API for businesses.”

August 10, 2021

On the web

War-Ridden Somalia Starts Payments System as It Rebuilds Nation


“Somalia has set up a national payments system as part of plans to develop the financial industry in one of the world’s most fragile states, following decades of political and economic instability. The 13 lenders in the Horn of Africa nation can now “become inter-operable, connected to the clearing and settlement system of the central bank and able to transact with each other,” Central Bank of Somalia Governor Abdirahman M. Abdullahi said in an interview. The system will “facilitate transactions between vendors and their customers more efficiently.””

On the wires

TNM Mpamba and Mastercard Partner to Transform Malawi’s Payment Landscape | Middle East/Africa Hub

“In a country-first for Malawi, mobile money service provider TNM Mpamba today launched a Mastercard virtual payment solution that will enable TNM Mpamba mobile money wallet customers to make safe and seamless local and international e-commerce transactions. This is expected to enhance financial inclusion and improve access to the digital economy. Through a Mastercard virtual (non-plastic) payment solution linked to the TNM Mpamba mobile money wallet, customers will be able to make payments to local and global online brands and merchants, expanding their reach to an international marketplace.”

August 6, 2021

On the web

Payments Insider August 2021 | TCIB successfully processes first live transactions


“Sending money anywhere in SADC quickly, cheaply and securely is no longer a dream, but a reality.  Last month BankservAfrica successfully processed its first real-time cross-border transactions between Zimbabwe and Namibia via the TCIB (Transactions Cleared on an Immediate Basis) payments service.  “We are so excited to see this project finally come to life after all the hard work and collaboration with the broader payments industry in the region,” says BankservAfrica’s Ruhling Herbst, Executive Sponsor of the TCIB initiative.  Jointly developed by the SADC Banking Association and BankservAfrica, TCIB is open to all players in the cross-border remittance space in SADC, including banks and authorised non-banks.”

August 2, 2021

On the web

Is West Africa Ready for a Single Currency?


“Since the early 2000s, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been pursuing a common currency agenda, centered on the “eco,” with the intention of reducing barriers to doing business across the region and increasing trade overall. While the implementation of the new currency has been postponed due to hurdles in macroeconomic convergence across the countries and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, among other challenges, many policymakers remain keen to forge ahead, with implementation now tentatively set for 2027.”

July 6, 2021

On the web

Banking and Payment Channels in Africa Are Showing Positive Growth – Cape Business News

Cape Business News

“The number of mobile money accounts in Africa passed the half a billion mark in 2020, and the continent accounted for more than 64% of the value of global mobile money transactions, totalling $767bn. Looking to the future, there is no sign of this growth slowing, according to CR4 Market Insight. That said, traditional banking and payment channels, like ATMs and point of sale (POS) also show an upward trend, highlighting the wide range of needs of the African population.”

July 2, 2021

On the web

Africa’s Amazon Targets 100 Years of E-Commerce Leadership


Jumia Technologies AG is focused on building a sustainable business in Africa’s e-commerce space over the next 100 years rather than only pursuing growth, an executive said… U.S.-listed Jumia is seen as one of the pioneers in online trading in sub-Saharan Africa, which trails the rest of the world due to challenges including weak internet connections and unreliable addresses. Covid-19 related movement restrictions and improving broadband penetration have spurred competition in the e-commerce space on the continent since last year. Its payment business, JumiaPay, now accounts for a third of its revenues, according to Hodara.”

June 15, 2021

On the web

Kenyan E-commerce Startup Sky.Garden Raises $4m Series A Funding Round – Disrupt Africa

Disrupt Africa

“Launched in May 2017, Sky.Garden is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for mobile commerce that is built specifically for African businesses. Its easy-to-use online marketplace allows informal traders, SMEs and established businesses to sell their products. Its technology has been built with a strong focus on African sellers and adapted to tap into the extensive logistics network of informal and structured shipping across the continent. Sky.Garden raised a US$1.2 million seed funding round in 2018 , and it has now taken on a further US$4 million in capital via a Series A round featuring SANAD Fund for MSME , Aavishkaar , UNCOVERED FUND and KSK Angel Fund , the latter founded by Japanese former AC Milan footballer Keisuke Honda.”

June 1, 2021

On the web

SVB-led $100M Investment Makes Chipper Cash Africa’s ‘most Valuable Startup’


“Fintech in Africa is a goldmine. Investors are betting big on startups offering a plethora of services from payments and lending to neobanks, remittances and cross-border transfers, and rightfully so. Each of these services solves unique sets of challenges. For cross-border payments, it’s the outrageous rates and regulatory hassles involved with completing transactions from one African country to another. Chipper Cash , a three-year-old startup that facilitates cross-border payment across Africa, has closed a $100 million Series C round to introduce more products and grow its team.”

May 24, 2021

On the web

Why South Africa’s Vodacom Is Planning to Sell Off Part of Its M-Pesa Stake


“South Africa’s biggest telco, Vodacom has received premium buyout offers for a partial stake in its mobile money business, M-Pesa. According to CEO, Shameel Joosub, Vodacom will be forced to consider these offers if M-Pesa’s performance does not significantly push up its market valuation…Unlike in Kenya where M-Pesa covers 91% of the entire mobile subscriber base, the mobile money service has not been able to attract enough users in South Africa – Vodacom’s biggest telecoms market. The operator has 44 million subscribers in the country, more than MTN’s 33 million. Vodacom’s majority-owned subsidiaries also operate M-Pesa in Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho and DR Congo. However, none of these countries have seen the rapid adoption of M-Pesa as in Kenya.”

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