Finance (69)

The South African government is stepping up initiatives to accelerate the adoption of broadband Internet as part of its digital transformation ambitions. It is supported in its efforts by a number of key international partners.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and South African investment bank Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) recently committed to investing a total of $49.2 million in the Eastern Cape fibre project piloted by Liquid Intelligent Technologies. Each of the two parties will invest 450 million rand ($24.6 million).  

"Not only will this investment from RMB and IFC help fund the expansion of our fibre backbone network in the Eastern Cape, but it will also help us upskill more South Africans and create employment. We believe this collaboration sets a new benchmark for the financing and development of digital infrastructure in South Africa," said Hardy Pemhiwa (photo, center), Group Chief Executive Officer of Liquid Intelligent Technologies.

The funding granted to Liquid Intelligent is part of the three companies' collective commitment to advancing broadband connectivity in South Africa in general, and particularly in Eastern Cape, one of the country's least connected regions.

According to statistics quoted by Liquid, only 65% of households in the Eastern Cape have access to the Internet. What's more, only 5% of the province's households have Internet access from home, which is twice as low as the South African average, where 10% of the total population has Internet access from home.

Ultimately, the project will reduce the digital divide in the Eastern Cape and extend Internet access to underserved areas. The aim is to support the South African government's National Development Plan to achieve 100% broadband coverage in the country by 2030.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 16 novembre 2023 14:45 Written by

The sixth session of the India-Ethiopia Joint Trade Committee was held earlier this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During the summit, several decisions were taken. 

To solve all the problems hindering bilateral trade with Ethiopia and facilitate commercial exchanges with the country, India “invited” Ethiopia’s collaboration for the creation of a payment interface between the two countries. The request was made at the India-Ethiopia Joint Trade Committee (JTC) held on Monday, November 6, and Tuesday, November 7 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

"The Indian side invited the Ethiopian side to collaborate on the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) of India with Ethswitch– a share company owned by all banks in Ethiopia– of Ethiopia. Further, the Indian side also urged Ethiopia to explore the possibility of settlement of trade transactions in local currency which will help boost bilateral trade and conserve foreign exchange," reads a statement published by the Indian Ministry of Commerce. 

The two countries signed a trade agreement in 1997 to strengthen their economic and commercial cooperation. Trade between the two countries in  2022-2023 is estimated to be worth more than $642.5 million. Also, to date, Indian companies have invested more than $5 billion in Ethiopia.  

Last August, Addis Ababa was one of six countries to join the BRICS, a group of developing nations advocating a new economic world order. India is one of the founding members of this alliance, along with Brazil, Russia, China, and South Africa.

Let’s note that the new gateway is expected to boost Indian investment in Ethiopia.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On vendredi, 10 novembre 2023 15:13 Written by

With the acquisition, Gozem enters another segment of the tech ecosystem while accelerating its growth on the continent.

Beninese fintech startup Moneex announced earlier today its acquisition by Togolese mobility solution Gozem. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed but the acquisition aims to launch a financial services arm, Gozem Money, in French-speaking African countries.  

“Expanding our financial services through the Gozem Money solution represents the next frontier in our ongoing commitment to delivering essential digital services to our users across Africa. With the addition of the Moneex Team to our ranks, we are poised to accelerate the introduction of our innovative fintech offerings to the market,” said  Martial Konvi (photo, left), Global Head of Product at Gozem.

Since its creation, Gozem has raised $11.7 million to accelerate its growth on the continent. The e-mobility startup, launched in 2018 and based in Togo and Singapore, is present in several French-speaking African markets such as Benin, Togo, and Cameroon. It has managed to add various services, such as parcel delivery, food ordering, and e-commerce, to its mobile app, becoming a super app.

Meanwhile, Moneex, the fintech created by Florent Ogoutchoro and Henry Ukoha, offers its customers multi-currency accounts, enabling them to convert funds at the best rates, receive international payments, and pay for goods and services worldwide.

The financial technology sector is the most attractive in Africa. Between July 2021 and June 2023, African fintechs raised $2.7 billion, according to the report "Finnovating for Africa: Reimagining the African financial services landscape 2023" published by Disrupt Africa.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On mercredi, 08 novembre 2023 20:08 Written by

The African continent has a number of assets to help it become a leader in the field of artificial intelligence, including its young population. However,  it needs to groom those assets to be able to capitalize on available opportunities.  

The UK and partners have pledged £80 million ($100 million) to accelerate development in several African countries through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). The investment was announced, by the British government, at the AI Safety Summit held in England from November 1 to 2.

The first phase of the project, which will initially focus on sub-Saharan Africa, aims to, among other things: create or develop at least 8 responsible AI research labs in African universities; help at least 10 countries create robust regulatory frameworks for responsible, fair and safe AI; help reduce barriers to entry for African "AI-innovators" into the private sector.

"This collaborative initiative is of paramount importance as it empowers African countries to become producers, not just consumers, in the AI revolution, ensuring that we are at the forefront of shaping our own future and driving sustainable progress across the continent," said Paula Ingabire, Rwanda's Minister of Information Technology and Innovation.

According to a UK government's press release, this new collaboration is part of a wider UK commitment to harnessing the opportunities of AI and “ensure its use as a force for good.” 

As part of the partnership, AI scholarships will be awarded to students at African universities. The collaboration will also support investment in the creation of data models ensuring an accurate representation of Africa. In addition, it will enable the establishment of responsible AI governance frameworks to manage the potential risks associated with its use.

Samira Njoya

Posted On lundi, 06 novembre 2023 15:11 Written by

The adoption of blockchain technology is swiftly gaining momentum throughout Africa. While the continent may not currently lead in resource mobilization, investments in the sector are rapidly gaining speed, benefitting numerous companies in the region.

On Monday, October 23, Uganda's Presidential Advisory Committee on Export and Industrial Development (PACEID) signed a memorandum of understanding with a TA-CargoX technology consortium comprising Technology Associates and CargoX, a blockchain-based document transfer company. The MoU aims to create TradeXchange, a national digital trade facilitation platform.

"The TA-CargoX Consortium will provide a robust, globally compliant digital trade platform as the surest means to integrate Uganda into the global trade network. This platform shall automate the import and export value chain, provide visibility in the trade supply chain, ensuring transparency, traceability, authenticity, and reliability in trade processes, as well as save cost directly for all participants," said Girisch Nair, Chairman of Technology Associates.

The new partnership is part of Uganda's ambitious goal to double its exports by 2026. PACEID aims to leverage this collaboration to support exporters, resolve trade bottlenecks, and easily comply with global trade standards, among other things.

TradeXchange will therefore be a blockchain-based collaboration platform that will streamline processes and improve the flow of information between farmers, producers, traders, and government agencies.

Once up and running, it will help the government reduce cargo release times, cut import compliance costs, and improve the efficiency of risk assessment when importing goods, tax revenue collection, and overall transparency of goods flow.

Samira Njoya

Posted On vendredi, 27 octobre 2023 12:01 Written by

The funds announced by the Gates Foundation will complement ongoing investments in the use of artificial intelligence to develop the healthcare sector worldwide. 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledges $30 million to support the development of a new artificial intelligence platform for Africa. American billionaire Bill Gates (photo) made the announcement on Tuesday, October 10, at this year's "Grand Challenges" meeting in Dakar, Senegal.

According to the donors, the platform will provide African scientists and innovators with the technical and operational support they need to turn promising health and development ideas into real, scalable solutions.

It is a step towards ensuring that the benefits of AI are relevant, affordable, and accessible to all and that these essential tools are developed both safely, ethically, and equitably.

"The world needs to make sure that everyone—and not just people who are well-off—benefits from artificial intelligence. Governments and philanthropy will need to play a major role in ensuring that it reduces inequity and doesn’t contribute to it. This is the priority for my own work related to AI," Bill Gates said in an interview last March.

According to the Foundation, this latest investment aligns with its recent focus on funding technological innovation, particularly as it relates to AI, in the world's low- and middle-income countries. Last August, the Foundation announced that it would spend $5 million to fund nearly 50 AI projects in the said countries.

These investments aim to increase funding for healthcare R&D (research and development) worldwide to make development easier and faster and enable the next generation of scientific and technological breakthroughs that are relevant and accessible to all.

According to the Foundation, only 2% of R&D funding is devoted to diseases affecting the world's poorest populations.

Posted On jeudi, 12 octobre 2023 14:46 Written by

Over the past decade, the Kenyan government has invested heavily to make the country a technological hub in East Africa. It wants to reach even greater heights with the support of various partners. 

On Thursday, October 5 in Nairobi, the European Union (EU) Commission launched a €430 million digital package aimed at extending connectivity in Kenyan schools, creating a green digital innovation center, and supporting the government in its digital transition.

The package, unveiled during the official visit of the European Union's Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, underlines the EU's commitment to Kenya's technological transformation.

"Expanding digital connectivity, upskilling jobs, and driving digital governance and services is at the heart of what our investment strategy is about: Creating sustainable connections and local added value while cutting unsustainable dependencies," said Jutta Urpilainen.

The launch of this digital package in Kenya is part of Europe's Global Gateway strategy, an initiative of the European Commission to advance the dual digital and green transition and provide reliable, sustainable connections to partner countries.

In Kenya, the initiative will reduce the digital divide by providing Internet access to around 1,300 schools in remote areas. A grant of 9.8 million euros will fund the development of infrastructure and digital educational skills and services in schools in 47 counties. These will benefit over 219,000 children as part of the GIGA program, a global initiative set up by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The package will also enable the creation of a green digital innovation cluster supported by the EU and Germany, as well as e-government initiatives in partnership with Estonia and Germany, and participation in Govstack, an innovative community project formed as part of a multilateral partnership between Germany, Estonia, ITU, and Digital Impact Alliance.

According to William Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya, the aim of the partnership with the European Union is to create a link that will contribute to sustainable development, the empowerment of the most disadvantaged, and the promotion of good governance and the rule of law in the country.

Samira Njoya

Posted On lundi, 09 octobre 2023 16:51 Written by

Cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption is growing rapidly around the globe. To stay relevant in the market in such context, global fintechs are committed to expanding their services and bridging the gap between fiat and digital currencies.

On Tuesday, September 26, US financial services company MoneyGram announced plans to launch its digital wallet, which enables conversion to fiat currency, next year.

The wallet, which will officially debut in the first quarter of 2024, will enable consumers worldwide to leverage stablecoin technology to seamlessly switch between fiat and digital currencies or the other way around, all via Moneygram.

"Our vision to connect the world's communities, by empowering our customers through innovative financial solutions, takes another step forward today. [...] We're thrilled to have the vision, strategic plans, innovative technology, and expansive retail network in place to continue offering consumers access to the digital economy, but now further backed by our global reputation for speed, efficiency, and trust," said Alex Holmes, MoneyGram CEO.

The launch of Moneygram's crypto wallet is part of a partnership signed with the Stellar Development Foundation. The agreement became effective last year, with the launch of an initial service aimed at offering a bridge between cash and cryptocurrency.  The service has been extended to eight digital wallets on the Stellar blockchain, offering consumers the ability to make withdrawals in over 180 countries and cash-ins in more than 30 countries worldwide.

As such, the new non-custodial wallet will use the Stellar network and MoneyGram's fiat transfer services to facilitate instant transactions. It will be a “zero-fee service” until June 2024, redefining cross-border payments and giving MoneyGram customers new ways to send and receive money.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 28 septembre 2023 14:11 Written by

Last May, the government imposed new taxes aimed at increasing national revenues and reducing the budget deficit, in response to the current cash crunch.

The Blockchain Association of Kenya (BAK) announced on Friday, September 1, that it had officially filed a petition, in the High Court of Kenya, challenging the implementation of the Digital Asset Tax (DAT) introduced by the Finance Act 2023.

The new regulations, which came into force on September 1, impose a 3% tax on revenues generated by the transfer or exchange of digital assets in the country.

"Our petition aims to address concerns about the DAT’s impact on both our industry and the broader economy. Enforcement of this harsh DAT could potentially lead to adverse effects on the industry’s growth and innovation. The core focus of the petition is to thoroughly examine the legal and constitutional dimensions surrounding the imposition of this tax on digital assets. The matter will be mentioned before the court on September 28, 2023," states a BAK press release.

The petition introduced by the BAK comes a few months after a press release issued by the same organization, in which it set out seven reasons for opposing the digital asset tax. Among other things, BAK criticized the unclear classification of digital assets, the ambiguity surrounding transfers of digital assets, and the failure to take into account loss-making transactions.

According to Allan Kakai, BAK's legal and policy director, DAT was introduced as an income tax, but it is taxed on the gross value of the asset, not on gains and profits. This means that those in a loss-making position will still pay the tax.

The new tax regulations also require crypto exchanges, as well as those facilitating the exchange or transfer of digital assets, to retain tax deductions, and transmit them to the country's tax authority within 24 hours of the transaction.

For BAK, the government should review the texts, hence the request. Kenya is ranked 5th worldwide for peer-to-peer crypto transactions and 19th for cryptocurrency adoption, according to the Chainalysis 2022 report.

Samira Njoya

Posted On lundi, 04 septembre 2023 17:38 Written by

Nearly half of the African population lacks access to digital financial solutions. To address this issue–meeting the needs of financially excluded and disadvantaged people– the African Development Bank (AfDB) and its partners have taken several steps.

India will contribute $2 million to the African Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), a fund hosted and managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB). The Bank disclosed the news on August 2.

According to the AfDB, the money will help tackle bottlenecks to the growth and adoption of digital financial solutions, as well as accelerate financial inclusion in Africa.

"India's pioneering role in digital financial services, the extension of financial inclusion to remote rural areas, and the creation of infrastructure for digitizing financial services offer India an excellent opportunity to work within the ADFI partnership to share learning and expertise on public digital infrastructure to promote digital financial inclusion across the continent," said Manisha Sinha, Deputy Secretary to the Department of Economic Affairs and Principal Board Member of the ADFI for India.

Due to Covid-19, Africa’s need for greater digital financial inclusion expanded. As a result, less expensive dematerialized financial services were deployed to support those who have no or low access to formal banking services.

In 2019, the AfDB launched the ADFI fund with an initial endowment of $40 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government of Luxembourg, and the French Development Agency: the African Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI).

By 20230 the fund hopes to devote $400 million to support the digital financial inclusion of 332 million people in Africa, 60% of whom are women.

India is recognized worldwide for having a thriving public digital payment system; a system that transformed governance, financial inclusion, and resilience for millions of people.  The financial support of the Asian giant should thus advance AfDB’s goal regarding digital financial inclusion.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mardi, 08 août 2023 16:27 Written by
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