Africa Business Communities

[East Africa Business Week] Bob Koigi: Boosting diaspora remittances through regional collaboration

As the region bets on diaspora remittances to boost respective countries’ national purses and drive economic growth across East Africa, member states are looking at cementing regional partnerships.

Equity Bank Kenya has signed a partnership with NALA Payments Limited, a Tanzanian-based remittance payment processing startup to facilitate diaspora remittances into Kenya.

This partnership will allow Kenyans living in the United Kingdom and the United States to send money directly from their banks, through the NALA app, instantly and at the most competitive rates to Equity Bank Kenya accounts and other mobile wallets.

Still in the banking sector, IFC has provided record financing in Africa in fiscal year 2022 helping to develop regional pharmaceutical manufacturing, increase intra-Africa trade, expand access to climate financing, and strengthen food security among many other pressing development needs.

And The Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved the joint FMO – Climate Fund Managers (CFM) USD 145mln proposal to accelerate private sector investments in low-emission and climate-resilient water, sanitation and ocean projects, entitled Climate Investor 2 (‘CI2’).

In the startups scene, Bloom, a fintech startup led by Sudanese tech entrepreneur Ahmed Ismail, has raised $6.5 million in a seed funding round led by institutional investors and venture capital firms as it seeks to expand into new markets including Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Badili Africa, a local startup that focuses on device exchange has opened its first physical store in Nairobi located at Ambience Mall in Westlands. 

The reverse commerce or ReCommerce startup was launched in early 2022 to upgrade the pre-owned smartphones and electronics market experience in Kenya and Africa while perfecting recycling in the space.

In the hospitality sector, Aleph Hospitality, the Dubai-based independent hotel management company, has solidified its presence in Uganda by taking over management of the Best Western Plus The Athena Hotel in Kampala earlier this month. 

Best Western Plus The Athena is a contemporary four-star hotel situated in the upscale neighbourhood of Bugolobi, on the outskirts of the capital Kampala. The boutique hotel features a restaurant, cocktail lounge, outdoor garden, pool and gym, as well as a business centre and conference facilities. The hotel is located in the central business district of Kampala 

In health matters,  The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, has commenced the Country implementation of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative in Kenya to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccination drive is coming when the country is experiencing the 6th wave of COVID-19 infection, with only 32% of the adult population fully vaccinated.

The Governments of Rwanda and Senegal have began issuing vaccination certificates for COVID-19 using the SMART Health Card standard. SMART Health Cards are secure, digitally-verifiable QR codes containing an individual’s health information that can be carried on paper or smartphone apps and sent via email. 

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


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