[Africa Tech Review] Nixon Kanali: Africa is the enduring epicentre of mobile money
Africa and Asia are the home of mobile money, where the shift to digital wallets is in full swing in countries with high smartphone penetration. A recent report we published this week points out the extent to which African and Asian consumers are embracing digital payments. The report by TerraPay with IBS showcases the trends and insights specific to the African and Asian regions. It discusses how Africa is the “enduring epicentre of mobile money”.
The report was also released at a time when Mobile payments and financial services company Paga Group was partnering with the Bank of Abyssinia, amid regulatory approval from the National Bank of Ethiopia to launch its online payment gateway in Ethiopia. In South Africa, two fintechs, alternative lender Merchant Capital and buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) specialist Payflex, this week launched a cash advance solution for small and mid-sized retail sector.
This week, on-demand delivery platform Glovo launched a pitch competition targeting early-stage tech startups in Kenya that are delivering value to SMEs. Tech giant Microsoft announced new initiatives to accelerate the growth of 10,000 African startups. The initiatives will be run under its recently established Africa Transformation Office (ATO), and will also see the tech giant fast-track investment in Africa’s startup ecosystem over the next five years. The Milken Institute and the Motsepe Foundation announced the 25 teams from across Africa receiving Finalist prizes for the Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech. In Rwanda, MTN launched the 3rd edition of Connect Women in Business (CWiB) Initiative ahead of international women’s day celebrations next week. Mozilla Common Voice, an open-source initiative that aims to make voice technology more inclusive also announced $400,000 in grants for voice technologies from East Africa that leverage its open-source Kiswahili data set. VALR.com, a South African cryptocurrency exchange raised $50 million, Africa’s largest ever crypto funding round, bringing the company`s valuation at $240 million. In Kenya, connected asset financing platform M-KOPA, raised $75M funding and also celebrated hitting a 2 million customer milestone.
This week, TOD, a pioneering new subscription-based over-the-top (OTT) platform announced it was entering the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Third Stage Consulting Group expanded its global footprint to include Africa with the opening of a local office and growth of regional resources.
Back in South Africa, Vodacom launched Africa’s first Amazon Web Services (AWS) Outposts Innovation Lab in collaboration with AWS and Intel. The laboratory will focus on accelerating technology innovations across different industries. Liquidnet, a global agency broker, announced an initiative to bring the largest South African institutions onto its electronic bond trading platform, in partnership with TP ICAP South Africa. Silicon Valley-based smart lidar solution provider Cepton, Inc. and Fibre Based Integrations, an established fiber optics systems house, announced they are working together to develop lidar-based vehicle detection solutions in Cape Town, South Africa, to enable smart transportation infrastructure city-wide.
After re-branding in Rwanda, MTN this week became the first African company to enter the metaverse by purchasing land in Africarare. Africare which made its debut in South Africa in October 2021, is the first African Virtual Reality metaverse featuring digital land. Telesat innovative satellite operator, and Liquid Intelligent Technologies announced a strategic cooperation agreement to explore reciprocal go-to-market strategies to bring Telesat Lightspeed Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite services to Africa. Safaricom Ethiopia selected multi-cloud services provider VMware as its Telco Cloud Platform partner. South African fibre provider, Vumatel acquired a 45% non-controlling stake in Herotel, a significant fixed wireless internet service provider and meaningful player in the local Fibre to The Home (FTTH) industry.
On matters cloud, South African data centre company Teraco announced this week that will now offer connectivity directly through Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) FastConnect at its Isando Campus for the Oracle Cloud Johannesburg Region. SoftwareONE Holding AG, a provider of end-to-end software and cloud technology solutions, unveiled a new brand to focus on delivering the next generation of technologies, platforms and products at speed.
Other top highlights of the week include Mitel, a leader in business communication technology, has announcing plans to expand its footprint in the East African region, Ukheshe Technologies appointing Darryn Botha as its new Chief Information Officer and MTN Global Sourcing and Supply Chain (GSSC) successfully deploying the Ericsson Customer Order Dashboard (ECOD) solution from Ericsson.
Nixon Kanali is the Tech Editor for Africa Business Communities.