[Africa Tech Review] Duncan Mochama: Fintech startup Wapi Pay founders Eddie and Paul Ndichu step down from their roles
22-10-2021 06:46:00 | by: Nixon Kanali | hits: 1158 | Tags:

This has been a very interesting week in tech in Africa. We covered a number of great announcements from a  number of tech companies in the region, especially startups. Brass, a Nigerian digital bank delivering easy access to affordable premium banking services for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs),  secured $1.7mn in funding. Wapi Pay Board of Directors announced that the company’s founders; Eddie and Paul Ndichu will be stepping down from their roles with immediate effect to allow for investigations into assault allegations.  

The announcement came just a few hours after Eddie stepped down as a board member of the Association of Fintechs in Kenya following the scuffle. Japanese VC firm Kepple Africa Ventures had earlier on Tuesday also announced that it will be revoking its investment in Kenyan fintech startup Wapi Pay.

Still, on startups, Africa ClimAccelerator opened applications for its climate change accelerator programme. alsoug, the digital classifieds and marketplace in Sudan, announced the close of a $5 million fundraise to establish a national payments network enabling quick, easy and safe transactions for all Sudanese. In Nigeria, e-commerce startup Sendbox announced the completion of a $1.8 million seed round from investors including 4DX Ventures, Enza Capital, FJLabs, and Golden Palm Investments. Autochek, the automotive technology startup that aims to facilitate auto finance across Africa, officially widened its operations to Kenya. We also compiled a list of9 Kenyan startups selected to receive equity-free funding from Google. Remember Google recently announced that it will be investing up to $50 million in African early- and growth-stage startups via its Africa Investment Fund.

This week, Vodafone partnered with Thales to connect customers with an Eco-SIM card, a product whose card body is made out of 100% recycled plastic from refrigerator interiors.  Africell took another major step towards launching services in Angola by opening a data center in Luanda.  Vantage Data Centers also broke ground on a new data center campus in Johannesburg, South Africa. Equity Bank revamped its online banking offering, previously known as Eazzy Net, in line with the bank’s One Equity strategy to provide a seamless customer experience across all banking channels. 

In matters payments, in a country-first for Malawi, mobile money service provider TNM Mpamba launched a Mastercard debit card, enabling its customers to make safe and seamless in-person and online digital payments on the Mastercard network. Mondia Digital and Mondia Pay joined Vodacom’s VodaPay Super App offering

In Kenya, Safaricom had the highest internet speeds among top providers in the country in Q3 2021. This is according to Ookla's Q3 Internet Performance Report on the state of Kenya's mobile and fixed networks released this week.  The telco and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) also launched the NHIF mini-app within the M-PESA Super App.

This week, the PEACE submarine cable lands in Marseille. Announced back in September 2019, the new Pakistan & East Africa Connecting Europe, PEACE submarine cable will connect Europe to Asia via East Africa. Liquid Intelligent Technologies announced the launch of its shortest terrestrial fibre route between the East to the West coasts of Africa, connecting Mombasa, Kenya to Muanda, DRC.

Other top highlights of the week include NCTS Selecting Hughes JUPITER System to Deliver Satellite Broadband Connectivity in Egypt, Vertiv releasing the results of an in-depth research project to identify edge infrastructure models to help organizations move toward a more standardized approach to edge computing deployments, and AfDB, MTN signing $500,000 grant agreement to study women’s access to financial services in Nigeria.

Duncan Mochama is the solutions consultant at  Incentro Africa.