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Global Fintech News - AFN

Global Fintech Trends – 10th July, 2024

African startups get $1bn boost as Timbuktoo launches hub

The United Nations Development Programme, African governments and the private sector plan to raise $1bn to kick-start start-up innovation in the continent received a huge boost as the Timbuktoo fintech hub centre was unveiled in Lagos on Tuesday.

The hub in Lagos, which is being spearheaded by the UNDP, is the first of a series of technology centres planned for 13 African countries, including Kigali, Cairo, Cape Town, Accra, Casablanca, Dakar, and Nairobi.

Former Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the guardian of the Tibuktoo Africa Innovation Foundation, highlighted the potential of Africa’s young population to drive innovation and economic progress.

Osinbajo noted that Nigerian unicorns like Flutterwave and Interswitch were founded by entrepreneurs under 30, showcasing the region’s capacity for technological advancement and prosperity despite the unemployment statistics sitting somewhere around 50 per cent in the country.

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Nala Raises $40M to Tackle High Remittance Fees in Africa

Nala, a remittance startup focused on improving cross-border payments in Africa, has raised $40 million in a Series A funding round.

 The oversubscribed round was led by Acrew Capital, with participation from DST Global, Norrsken22, HOF Capital, Amplo, NYCA Partners, and angel investors such as Ryan King of Chime and Vlad Tenev of Robinhood.

The funding will enable Nala to scale its operations beyond Africa, targeting new markets in Asia and Latin America.

The funds will also support the enhancement of Nala’s B2B payments platform, Rafiki, which facilitates payments into Africa for global businesses.

Founded by Benjamin Fernandes in 2017, Nala initially focused on local money transfers in Tanzania before pivoting to international remittances in 2021.

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Mobile Money and FinTech Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa

In Sub-Saharan Africa, mobile money is now essential to boosting financial inclusion. Because of the innovative mobile network operators in Kenya and other countries, East Africa used to be the core of mobile money.

The availability of these services has expanded recently, to the point where by 2022 all 12 economies of the world are located in Sub-Saharan Africa, and more adults there have mobile money accounts than bank or other similarly regulated financial institution accounts.

In 2022, 28% of the adult population in Sub-Saharan Africa had a mobile money account on average. Although mobile money is not yet widely accepted in some economies, it is more of a minority rather than a common occurrence.

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Fintech’s Transformative Potential: Empower Customers through Self-education

The most powerful thing a fintech can do is enable its customers to educate themselves, says Mukuru CEO, Andy Jury.

He says formalised financial education plays a crucial role in a fintech’s business, but customers who trust and repeatedly use a new product or service, such as a digital store of money, go through a natural learning process and are then more comfortable being exposed to more sophisticated products.

Mukuru, which is a next-generation financial services provider, started out as a remittance company and has evolved into a platform with a suite of different financial products and services.

Jury says that by empowering its customers to teach themselves, Mukuru has enabled many thousands of unbanked and underserved people to access products and services from which they were previously excluded.

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Kuda Is Expanding Global Push As Scramble For African Diaspora Heats Up

Kuda, the Nigeria-operating London-headquartered fintech challenging traditional banks by offering mobile-first and personalised banking services, is doubling down on its global expansion plans. The company, having secured a payment license in Canada earlier this year, is set for a Q3 2024 launch of its multi-currency digital wallet in the country. This service targets the large African diaspora population in Canada, with an estimated Nigerian contingent of over 100,000.

“With the launch of our digital wallet in Canada, we will offer Africans living in the country, including recent migrants, a simple, transparent, and cost-effective way to send money home,” said Babs Ogundeyi, Group CEO and founder of Kuda. Ogundeyi emphasizes the importance of remittance services, stating they “improve their financial well-being and strengthen their connections to their countries of origin.”

The digital bank has seen some success since launching in Nigeria in 2019. Kuda claims to have up to 5 million users, more than thrice the number it had during its USD 55 M Series B round in August 2021; money it had said it raised to enter into other African countries like Ghana and Uganda, though expansion into those countries is yet to materialise.

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The past year has proven a transformative one for financial technology. Global venture funding into the fintech sector has declined sharply from the industry’s heyday in 2020 and 2021, and experts say the market is in a new normal, with valuations correcting from unsustainable highs.

In this climate, CNBC, together with market research firm Statista, has listed the top 250 fintech companies globally. The World’s Top Fintech Companies 2024 report includes companies both big and small, across a variety of different market categories.

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Developing HSBC’s Zing app: The role played by Visa, Currencycloud and Tink

Visa has revealed its role in the development of HSBC’s money transfer app Zing, with subsidiaries Tink and Currencycloud providing key building blocks.

Launched in the UK in January as a direct competitor to money transfer fintech Wise, Zing enables users to hold funds in over 10 different currencies, send over 30 currencies, transact in over 200 countries and territories worldwide, all managed through a single app and smart multi-currency card. “Zing shows how outdated the ‘legacy financial services versus fintechs’ narrative really is. The reality is that you don’t have to choose; Zing is as intuitive, quick, and transparent as anything to come out of the fintech boom – but with the benefits of 150 years of international finance experience as part of the HSBC Group,” saysJames Allan, CEO and founder at Zing. “We shared a clear vision with our partners at Visa – that people all across the globe want easy to use, secure, and trustworthy financial products that enable them to live their best international lives. Zing delivers on that promise, and we look forward to building on this partnership in the future.”

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NOW Money, Mastercard partner to foster payment in GCC

UAE –  The UAE-based NOW Money partnered with global tech firm Mastercard to boost the payments industry across the GCC region, according to a press release.

Through Mastercard payment cards, NOW Money customers will have secure and seamless access to their finances, which will enable them to reap the benefits of the digital economy.

This collaboration aligns with NOW Money’s objectives to offer inclusive financial solutions to underserved communities and improve the financial well-being of its users across the GCC.

Nicolas Andine, CEO of NOW Money, commented: “This collaboration is a significant step towards our vision of total financial inclusion, ensuring our customers have the tools they need to participate fully in the digital economy, with a financially connected world supporting and empowering everyone.”

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