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Focus Africa News Roundup- Issue #33

Every fortnight we compile a list of important news updates and events covering the East African FINTECH, MFGTECH, CLNTECH, and AGRTECH sectors.

For a downloadable copy of Africa’s Issue #33

FINTECH

Why parliament is pushing for mobile money interoperability
Parliament has requested Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) to enforce the interoperability system of MTN Rwanda and Airtel/Tigo to ease transactions. Mobile money interoperability allows customers of different mobile financial services providers to interact with each other, for example by making direct payments from the mobile money account of one provider to the mobile money account of another provider.
Mitwa Kaemba Ngámbi is the CEO at MTN Rwanda
Grace Sybille – Ngoboka is the Executive Assistant to CEO at Tigo Rwanda

Kenya’s Safaricom Helps Students Manage Their Loans Via Phones
Safaricom in Kenya has partnered with the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to roll out a smart mobile payment solution for students of tertiary institutions to access and utilize their loans and bursaries.
Peter Ndegwa is the CEO at Safaricom PLC

Safaricom seeks app firms to open new revenue streams
Safaricom is seeking partnership with software engineering firms as it races to build more in-house mobile phone applications. “The partners will co-create the software with Safaricom…the partners can then agree on a marketing and operations model,” said Safaricom in internal documents seen by the Business Daily.
Peter Ndegwa is the CEO at Safaricom PLC

Innovative South African fintech goes global
Joburg-based fintech startup Ukheshe has announced that it will be expanding its operations globally to the Middle East, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. The fintech’s global expansion follows on several successful high profile projects and partnerships in various African countries including Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi, Botswana, Angola, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and Ghana.
Clayton Hayward is the CEO at Ukheshe

Mastercard Partners With Hellopay for Solution That Enables Android Devices as Contactless POS
Hellopay, South African payments facilitator and the financial services arm of the Hello Group, and Mastercard have announced a partnership to roll out SoftPOS – a contactless acceptance solution that turns any NFC-enabled Android device into a physical point of sale. This move is expected to boost digital payment acceptance at small informal enterprises in South Africa, while supporting consumers’ preference for touch-free payments amidst social distancing.

AfDB approves $1.3m grant for female financial inclusion research in Africa
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved two grants to two fintech firms, Pula Advisors Kenya and M-KOPA Kenya worth $1.3 million for research aimed at increasing women’s access to a range of digital financial services on the continent. The grants will be disbursed by Africa digital financial inclusion facility (ADFI), a blended finance vehicle supported by the bank.
Rose Goslinga is the C-CEO and Co-Founder at PULA
David Damberger is the Managing Director at M-KOPA

TigoPesa marks 10 years of mobile financial services in Tanzania
Tigo Tanzania is today celebrating 10 years of Tigo Pesa, a financial service platform that boosts of 9 million active customers since its inception. Over the past decade, Tigo Pesa has evolved from providing remittance services to a fully-fledged financial service with expanded ecosystem offering micro-loans, insurance, utility payments, mobile banking, international remittance, government payments and merchant payment.
Simon KariKari is the Managing Director at Tigo Tanzania

UBA Bank Launches mobile application to enhance digital banking.
As the world grapples with the novel coronavirus outbreak which experts say is partly spread by bank notes, United Bank of Africa Tanzania has introduced a new mobile application to enable its customers use digital banking.
Asupya Bussi Nalingigwa is the Country Head, Digital and Customer Banking at UBA Bank

South Africa’s MTN to spin out fibre, fintech businesses to unlock value
South African mobile operator MTN Group is considering spinning out its fibre and financial services units and potentially list one of them to unlock value trapped in its core business. MTN has been diversifying from its core business of connectivity to financial services and digital offerings such as instant messaging in search of higher returns.
Ralph Mupita is the MTN Group President & CEO

Nigerian fintech Flutterwave to expand to North Africa after raising $170m
The company will extend its payments network to Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia and will be live there by the middle of the second quarter, Agboola says in Lagos. Flutterwave might then set up a physical presence in those countries, he says. He also wants to expand into francophone Africa as “our network needs to be everywhere” on the continent.
Olugbenga Agboola is the Founder & CEO at Flutterwave

Zimbabweans Turning to Mobile Money and Forex as Cash Shortages Persist
With no end of cash shortages in sight in Zimbabwe, the use of mobile money has become the order of the day in the southern African nation.  The central bank says it is happy with the situation and wants 90% of all transactions to be electronic.

AGRTECH

Garissa seeks to become Kenya’s breadbasket through agri-tech
Garissa seeks to tap the enormous irrigation potential and enhance the management of the rangelands for crop and livestock productivity. This will be achieved through development of production technologies for new crop and livestock varieties, innovative soil and crop management

South African Agritech startup Skudu raises funding from AgVentures
South African agritech startup Skudu has raised funding from AgVentures, a leading agrifood tech investor in Africa. This move will help Skudu achieve its goal of becoming the leading online marketplace for agricultural inputs (animal feeds, fertilizers, plant protection chemicals) and produce on the continent.
Gerhard Visagie is the CEO at AgVentures

Farm4Me Awarded West African Best World Class Digital Agricultural Investment Platform Brand of the Year 2021
Fast-growing Nigerian Agritech company, Farm4Me has been awarded the West Africa’s Best World Class Digital Agricultural Investment Platform Brand of The Year 2021. Farm4Me is a contract farming company with distinction and the largest farm equipment rental service in Nigeria.
Adama J Adama is the Founder and CEO at Farm4Me

Naspers backs SA agritech with investment in Aerobotics
Aerobotics is a subscription-based platform that provides tree crop health and yield intelligence data to the agricultural industry using drone and satellite-enabled AI technology. The company uses aerial imagery from satellites and drone flights together with machine learning algorithms to collect crucial data for farmers.
James Paterson is the CEO at Aerobotics

Kenyan agritech insurance startup, Pula secures $6m in Series A funding round
Pula, a Kenyan agricultural insurance startup focused on smallholder farmers in Global South nations has raised a $6m Series A round led by Pan-Africa early-stage VC firm, TLcom, with collaboration from a non-profit organization, Women’s World Banking.
Rose Goslinga is the Co-CEO and Co-Founder at PULA
Thomas Njeru is the Co-CEO and Co-Founder at PULA

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