Africa Business Communities

[East Africa Business Week] Bob Koigi: Banking on innovations, partnerships to grow financial services sector

As competition in the financial services sectors to grow customer numbers and strengthen foothold in the region increases,  institutions are innovating through acquisitions, launch of new products and revising strategies.  These developments have led to improved services and a robust sector that is shaping the region’s financial services industry dynamics.

Equity Bank Kenya Ltd, a subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings recently signed an Assets and Liabilities Purchase Agreement with Spire Bank Limited for the purchase of certain assets and liabilities of Spire Bank Limited.

In the transaction, Equity Bank Kenya Limited is acquiring approximately 20,000 deposit customers holding deposits of approximately KES 1,322 million which represents approximately 0.25% of EBKL’s customer deposits of KES 522,753 million and approximately 0.14% of Equity Group’s consolidated customer deposits of KES 970,943 million, as reported in their un-audited half year financial statements as at 30 June 2022.

This happened as Xente, a financial technology platform that simplifies company finance acquired a Payment Systems Operator (PSO) license from the Bank of Uganda. The license opens up opportunity for Xente to provide financial technology solutions to businesses in Africa.

With the Xente platform, businesses and their teams are able to make simple payments to teams, suppliers, and other beneficiaries using physically issued VISA cards, mobile money, domestic and international bank transfers, pay bills, send airtime and data, and lots more.

At the same time, Verto, a provider of cross-border international money transfer services, has confirmed that it will work with Xente, an Africa-focused provider of simplified business finance.

It is thought that the particular target market of the new collaboration will be Uganda, and non-governmental organisations in the country are expected to particularly benefit from the arrangement.

And IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, issued a new US dollar global benchmark bond, raising $2 billion to unlock private investment in emerging markets and developing economies.

In the startups scene, Turaco, a Kenyan insurtech driving mass market insurance adoption, has announced the close of a $10 million Series A equity round led by AfricInvest, via the Cathay Africinvest Innovation Fund, and existing investor, Novastar Ventures.

Targeted at underserved customers and low-income earners, Turaco embeds its service as a white-labeled offering that is bundled with a partner’s core product or service while integrating with their existing payment processes to collect premiums.

Swedish co-working space and investment Norrsken House has launched a new facility to accommodate more innovators, entrepreneurs in Kigali Rwanda.

According to the company, by next year, another building will be completed to take the hub’s hosting capacity to 1500 people.

In other news that made headlines this week, IFC's Africa Medical Equipment Facility has welcomed Elekta, a provider of radiation therapy for treating cancer, to its growing roster of world-class partners who are improving access to medical equipment and supplies to healthcare providers across sub-Saharan Africa.  

The Africa Medical Equipment Facility (AMEF) works with partner financial institutions and medical equipment manufacturers to make affordable, long-term funding available to smaller African healthcare providers, which often struggle to secure financing, so they can purchase equipment needed to deliver high-quality care to patients.

The Ugandan Parliament has passed the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill, 2022 which prescribes tougher penalties for those perpetrating cyber crimes.

The new Bill is an amendment to the Computer Misuse Act, 2011, and aims to strengthen the growing technology sector. Among the regulations in the law is a provision barring sharing of information relating to a child without the consent of a parent or guardian. The bill also seeks to prohibit the sending or sharing of information that promotes hate speech as well as unauthorized access to information or data.

Bob Koigi is the East African Region Editor at Africa Business Communities





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