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Focus Africa News Roundup- Issue #46

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 #46


Airtel money transactions are about to get pricey in Uganda
Effective 13th October 2021, Airtel Uganda has announced new tariffs that will be charged, where things are about to get a little pricier for users. Airtel Uganda announced that they had separated and transferred the Airtel Money Business to their sister company Airtel mobile commerce Uganda Limited (AMC Uganda).
Tom Gutjahr is the CE at Airtel Uganda

South Africa is testing central bank digital currencies
South Africa’s recently announced trial of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) for cross-border payments could motivate other financial institutions around the world to work towards using the technology.

Free mobile money transfers cut banks excise duty by half
The Central Bank of Kenya’s order on free money transfer between bank accounts and mobile wallets cut excise duty paid by lenders by 42.2 per cent in 2020. Total tax contribution of Kenya’s banking sector showed the taxes charged on bank fees and commissions declined from Sh16.1 billion in 2019 to Sh9.27 billion last year

Africa’s largest fintech platform, M-Pesa, hits 50 million users
Vodafone, the firm behind the M-Pesa fintech platform, has
announced that the service has passed 50 million monthly active users more than 14 years after its launch. The service launch in Kenya back then but has since expanded to other countries including Tanzania, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Ghana, and Egypt.
Nick Read is the CEO at Vodafone

South Africa Will Issue Digital Vaccine Passports Next Week
The South African Health Ministry will start issuing digital vaccination passes to all eligible vaccinated South Africans next week. The country’s Department of Health says that currently, the digital vaccine certificates are “under development.” said the South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla.

Wiseasy Partners with UnionPay International to Boost Digital Banking and QR Payment in Ghana and Nigeria
Wiseasy Group, a leading global digital banking and payment builder, jointly announced a collaborative partnership with UnionPay International (UPI) today, to accelerate digital banking and QR payment
in Ghana and Nigeria in supporting the global digital transformation trend.
Rachid Oulad Akdim is the Vice President at Wiseasy

MTN Group partners Flutterwave in new mobile money pay
MTN has announced a mobile money partnership with Africa’s leading payments technology company, Flutterwave. The partnership will allow businesses integrating Flutterwave in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia to receive payments via MTN Mobile Money (MoMo). 
Ralph Mupita is the President & CEO at MTN
Olugbenga GB Agboola is the Founder & CEO at Flutterwave

Technology experts urge security agencies to embrace Fintech
The government has been challenged to interest its security agencies in understanding the role of financial technologies in detecting and eliminating cybercrime. Mcash CEO said that the Fintech business is still unknown to many judicial officers and other people heading tribunals yet it could help ease the handling of court cases relating to financial crimes.
Edith Kuteesa is the CEO at Mcash Uganda

Unitel Launches Mobile Money Service in Angola with Huawei
Angola-based mobile operator Unitel has launched a digital money service – Unitel Money – in the Central African country. The technology will be available in the 18 provinces of the country. The new service will allow users to make deposits, withdrawals, transfers and payments via mobile phone, all without needing a bank account. 
Miguel Geraldes is the General director at Unitel

Banks, CBK hold talks on return of mobile cash transfer charges
Banks are in talks with the
Central Bank of Kenya to reinstate charges on customers’ transfer of money from bank accounts to mobile money wallets. The lenders have witnessed a fall in fees and commissions from such transactions and see the end of the freeze of the charges as the avenue to rev up non-interest income.
Joshua Oigara is the CEO and MD at KCB Group PLC

Nigeria’s central bank partners with fintech firm Bitt Inc for CBDC rollout
Barbados-based fintech firm Bitt Inc will be working as the technical partner for the Central Bank of Nigeria for its proposed e-naira digital currency. The partnership announcement comes the same day the CBN issued preliminary guidelines for its central bank digital currency, or CBDC, called the e-naira.


Kenyan, Nigerian firms secure Sh165m grant to boost farming
A Kenyan and Nigerian firm have won a Sh165 million ($1.5 million) grant to fund expansion plans for providing services to smallholder farmers. Heifer International picked Hello Tractor, a Kenyan firm, and Nigeria’s ColdHubs as winners of the inaugural Agriculture, Youth and Technology (AYuTe) Africa Challenge.

Dar to benefit from Microsoft’s agri-tech initiative targeting Africa
The program which is a partnership between Microsoft and International Finance Corporation aims to support digital transformation in Africa’s agribusiness sector, modernize supply chains and boost the productivity and income of farmers. To begin, a mobile platform will be rolled out to farmers in Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, and Uganda.

Micro Insurance Company and Lofte Kesho to partner for Digital Solutions
The two are partnering to offer digital solutions to livestock farmers to improve their economic well-being. Lofte Kesho, an integrated FinTech and AgriTech player, was created to help farmers collateralize animals as assets for financial benefits such as loans, working capital, cow replacement loans, and investment loans.
Wairimu Njoki is the Country manager at Micro Insurance Company
Bernard Njathi is the Founder of Lofte Kesho

TMX’s online commodity trading boost prices of green grams, Sesame.
Online commodity trading introduced by Tanzania Mercantile Exchange has boosted prices of green grams and sesame which have almost doubled since last year, and enabled local commodities to get clients globally. The online trading and communication has also made it easier to get local farmers produce and supply global markets.

Nigerian agri-tech startup Zowasel raises $100k financing from Guinness, Promasidor
Nigerian agri-tech startup Zowasel has received US$100,000 financing from Guinness Nigeria and Promasidor Nigeria, a leading pan-African consumer packaged food manufacturer, at the UN World Food Programme Zero Hunger Sprint.
Jerry Oche is the Co-founder and CEO at Zowasel

UNCDF Agritech Challenge 2021 open for innovative Agritech solutions
The United Nations Capital Development Fund has partnered with Atal Innovation Mission, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Rabo Foundation to launch the Agritech Challenge 2021. This should address issues faced by smallholder farmers around climate change, productivity, and supply chains. 
Preeti Sinha is the Executive Secretary at UNCDF

Start-up, IBM put data in the henhouse
IBM has announced its backing for a small South African start-up called Omniolytics, to help transform poultry farming through the use of digital sensors linked to the IBM Cloud and its artificial intelligence platform, Watson.The poultry industry was valued at more than R46bn in 2019, and makes up more than 16% of the total value of agricultural production in SA.

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