To License or Not – Nigeria’s Evolving Approach to Mobile Money Licensing

Nigeria now allows non-financial companies to apply for mobile banking licences — part of an effort via mobile banking aimed at transforming Africa’s biggest economy and unlocking the Continent’s largest unbanked population. According to Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) 2018 access survey estimates that 60 % of the 100 million adult population are “unbanked” or financially excluded. The move permits mobile telecoms providers, including larger operators like MTN and Airtel, to tap into the approximately 60 million adult Nigerians who do have and operate bank accounts, in a country where most transactions are still made using cash. In practice, […]

Building Back Better: ESG + Sustainable Finance in Africa

In October 2020, Africa Banker arranged an ESG and Sustainable Finance Panel, “Building Back Better”. Verdant Capital’s Managing Director, Mr. Edmund Higenbottam highlighted how sustainability issues have filtered into the wider African continent and into capital markets. There has been considerable growth in sustainable finance over the last few years, essentially reaching a record high of about USD 415 billion dollars at the end of last year, said Nigel Beck, Head of Sustainable Finance at Standard Bank. We are starting to notice a diverse diversification of products into social bonds, sustainable bonds, green loans as well as a kind of […]

Verdant Capital raises USD 6.7 million for Retail Capital in South Africa

Retail Capital is the leading and the first Merchant Cash Advance provider in the South African SME market. Retail Capital was incorporated in 2011 in Cape Town and has expanded geographically to Johannesburg and Durban; other cities are served by agents. In 2018, the company acquired First Asset Finance, an asset leasing business to bring an additional diversification into the credit book. The Asset Finance book which is mostly in the medical space has proved to be highly resistant during the covid-19 related lockdowns. The business is evolving into a broader technology- and channel-driven SME lender. As of March 2020, […]

Signatory Organisation Report on Covid-19 Pledge Implementation and Lessons Learned

Signatory Organisation Report on Covid-19 Pledge Implementation and Lessons Learned

Over the past months, the financial inclusion sector has embarked on a journey to face the Covid-19 crisis. On the field, microfinance institutions have taken measures to face the health risks, lock downs and the economic recession. In the meantime, lenders, investors, support organisations and technical assistance providers had to adapt their intervention principles and coordinate their actions (1). By signing the Pledge on Key principles to protect microfinance institutions and their clients in the COVID-19 crisis (the “Pledge”), 30 organisations committed to complying with some key principles. Six months after the signature of the Pledge, a working group of […]