[East Africa Business Week] Bob Koigi: Partnerships bolster cross-border remittances and trade
The recent announcement by Kenya Commercial Bank and global payment firm TerraPay that they are collaborating to allow customers to easily remit and receive payments to their accounts has boosted the region’s payments ecosystem while revolutionizing modern banking. This will also accelerate financial inclusion and remove the barriers around cross-border money transfers.
This comes after the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, announced its first grant to a digital payments company, MFS Africa, to promote the use of mobile remittances in marginal rural areas in African countries among them Kenya and Uganda. This is meant to harness the development benefits of using mobile channels to send and receive remittances.
Still In the financials, COMESA in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) are holding talks on harmonizing consumer price indices in Africa. The aim is to improve measurement process of national and regional Harmonized Consumer Price Indexes.
At the same time, Ugandan fintech company Quest Digital Finance is scaling its investment in connecting the unbanked to formal credit systems. The platform enables SACCOS (Savings and Credit Cooperatives) and microfinance institutions to achieve end-to-end digital transformation and hence, improve reporting and accountability which derisks these entities. Consequently, they are able to access credit from financial institutions.
And IFC has appointed Malick Fall as the new Country Manager for Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the Republic of Congo. In his new role, Fall will lead IFC's strategy to increase impact and spur development and job creation across the countries' agribusiness, financial, infrastructure, and other sectors.
In the startups scene, Kenyan home furniture startup MoKo announced that it raised $6.5 million in a Series B funding round, which is a combination of debt and equity. The round was co-led by U.S.-based investment fund Talanton and Swiss investor AlphaMundi Group.
Solv Kenya, a full-stack Business-to-Business (B2B) digital platform owned by Standard Chartered’s innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm, SC Ventures, has launched its commercial operations in Kenya.
Through an open and inclusive trade ecosystem along the MSME value chain, this platform will aggregate various services to transform the profitability, growth, and operational efficiency for Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs).
In other news that shaped the East African region’s landscape this week, Agaciro Development Fund (AgDF) Rwanda’s sovereign wealth fund, has invested over $8 million in the capital stock of the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB), becoming its latest institutional shareholder.
Hitachi Energy, a global technology player that is advancing a sustainable energy future for all, has announced it has signed a long-term service agreement with Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL), the national electricity company of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to secure power supply in the country’s most important power transmission asset: the Inga-Kolwezi high-voltage direct current (HVDC) link.