[Africa Tech Week] More African retailers adopting mobile payments
More African retailers are now adopting mobile payments, allowing their customers to pay for goods and services using mobile money. In Kenya, M-Pesa has been a major player in this and even expanded to other African markets. Other technology companies have also joined this trend by developing payment technologies that connect consumers, businesses, financial institutions and even governments to fast, secure and reliable payments methods. This week, we have seen this being adopted across the East African region.
Visa announced a strategic partnership with Tanzania’s Maxcom Africa to enable thousands of retailers in the country to accept Visa on mobile payments. The efforts according to the two partners aims to connect more Tanzanian consumers to the global payment system. In a previous article a few weeks ago, we also covered a new partnership between Visa and Branch to offer custom loans to merchants who accept payments via Visa in Kenya.
This week also saw more and more partnerships being announced. Digital money transfer service WorldRemit has signed a new partnership with Safaricom to enable instant cross-border money transfer to M-PESA accounts in Kenya. We have written so much about WorldRemit in our previous articles, including its football partnership with Kwesse, its digital money transfer partnership with First Bank Nigeria, and also with Kenya’s Diamond Trust Bank.
Still, this week, Kenyan based delivery platform Sendy announced a reduction in its delivery prices. According to the company, the cut is aimed at bringing more and more small-medium businesses to do deliveries using the Sendy platform. Early this year, we wrote how the company completed a Series A investment round led by DOB Equity. DOB Equity said that the new funds will enable Sendy to increase their platforms’ service offering including expanding to other East African Markets.
More announcements also kept coming from Kenya. Mr. Joe Mucheru, Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary challenged the African continent to speak with one voice at global ICT decision-making forums. He cited lack of a common stand on issues of interest as having hurt the continent in the past, slowing the pace of ICT development. This came just a few days after the country announced that it was eying top positions in ICT organizations in the continental and at the global level.
Microsoft also unveiled a new mobile application targeting Kenyan businesses. Known as Kaizala Pro, the app is designed for large group communication, workflow management, reporting, and analytics, and is integrated with Office 365. Microsoft has for a long time been actively engaged in helping SMEs. In a previous article, we also wrote the company collaborated with First Bank Nigeria to provide SMBs with an array of resources and support. Other partnerships include one with SEACOM to launch a secure cloud connection with Kenyan cloud users, and also its partnership with Techno to launch agriculture platform for African farmers.
This week, Alibaba Group founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma also launched a $10 million ‘Netpreneur’ Prize for African entrepreneurs. The money will be donated through his Jack Ma Foundation to support entrepreneurs working to address Africa’s most important challenges. In 2017, he also created a $10 million African Young Entrepreneurs Fund.
In South Africa, Mastercard and Zapper unveil Masterpass digital payment. This means South Africans can now use Masterpass, a global digital payment service by Mastercard, to pay for goods and services at over 20,000 Zapper merchants in South Africa using their smartphones. Mastercard, as we have covered in previous articles, is also being used by Tigo Pesa in Tanzania. In 2017, Mastercard committed to empowering over 150,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Kenya within by giving them access to Masterpass QR.
To enhance the ease of doing business (EODB) and technology inclusiveness for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, Madesoftlogic also unveiled a cloud-based Point of Sale (POS) software and social marketplace solution this week. We also saw a similar launch in Kenya where Greek financial solutions software firm Relational has launched a new recovery software solution targeted at Kenya’s banking industry.
We also did a short summary of the Jumia Mobile Week 2018 white paper launched back in March and the GSMA Mobile Outlook report released last month. The report forecast that more than half of the sub-Saharan population will be connected to mobile by 2025. In 2017, GSMA announced findings from its, ‘Taxing Mobile Connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa: A review of mobile sector taxation and its impact on digital inclusion’. Report. The report provided an overview of the tax and fee regime applied to mobile services and its impact on affordability and investment in Sub-Saharan Africa.
On matter Airlines, Delta Air Lines entered into a codeshare partnership with Kenya Airways on flights to and from Kenya Airways’ hub at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Effective August 15, Delta’s code will be placed on Kenya Airways’ flights from Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Accra to Nairobi. This move is expected to enhance connectivity and provide customers with a one-stop seamless travel experience from the United States. We have covered similar partnerships between Kenya Airways and Air France, as well as with Oman Air.