Knowledge

Financial Inclusion Enhancement Through Technology

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  Partnerships between financial institutions and technology firms allow financial institutions to utilise modern technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science to create advanced, technology driven products with a greater reach thus enhancing financial inclusion. Such institutions include Medina Islamic Finance, a digital microfinance platform focused on Africa, partnering with United Labs which is a data science venture studio based in New York that focuses on social impact enhancement in Africa. This partnership allows Medina to leverage machine learning and data science to improve its microfinance digital banking platform while United Lab’s AI technology and automated local language... View Article

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Financial Inclusion in Africa boosted by African Digital Financial Inclusion (ADFI) Fund

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  African Development Bank (AfDB) launched the African Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI) in June which is designed to boost digital financial transactions as well as aiding safety in Africa. This facility is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Government of Luxembourg with the goal of financially including at least 320 million Africans, the majority being women by providing access to digital financial services. The fund aims to disburse a total of USD 400 M to up-scale digital financial services in rural and poverty-stricken areas by 2030. Focus will be... View Article

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Ethiopia opening up its financial sector

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  Ethiopia expands access to its financial sector as it has approved Equity Group Holdings, Kenya’s biggest lender by market value to open a representative office in Addis Ababa. This will allow Equity Group to provide remittance services by partnering with an Ethiopian lender to target the three million Ethiopians living abroad. Equity Group’s entry into the country will give the lender access to a combined 500 million people in its six markets of operation including Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, Equity Group won’t be the first Kenyan bank to gain access into... View Article

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La Regionale S.A Engages CNPS as Part of its Digital Transformation Plan

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  La Regionale S.A. (“La Regionale”) and the National Social Security Fund of Cameroon (“CNPS”) have entered into partnership agreement. CNPS is the state agency in charge of social security. Social security started in Cameroon in 1946. The partnership agreement allows La Regionale, as part of its overall financial services activities, to remit social insurance and entitlement payments on behalf of CNPS. La Regionale is headquartered in Cameroon and it is one of the leading and profitable “2nd category” MFI – a licenced deposit-taking financial institution allowed to provide loans and advances to SMEs and individuals. La Regionale is planning... View Article

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Financial Inclusion through Digital Savings

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    The importance of financially including underserved and low-income segments and expanding access to formal financial services has led to the development of advanced, technology driven products across developing countries. Digital Financial Services (DFS) recognises that although there are strong saving tendencies among adults in low-income countries, the usage of saving products at financial institutions is still low. Digital savings however, is still blossoming and identifying the market, product and policies is important as all these factors influence the usage of digital savings. The essential components of digital financial inclusion include: retail assets, digital transactional platforms, devices and additional... View Article

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Mastercard aiming to create a cashless Africa

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  The majority of Africa depends heavily on cash for retail transactions and as a result, there has been an increase in innovative digital payment systems from leading technology companies such as Mastercard. Cash hinders growth in Africa as it places a strain on economies through production costs, crime, corruption and fraud prevention as well as the dangers associated with carrying cash. Small businesses are also negatively impacted due to the costs associated with accessing, securing, transporting and storing cash which further constrains growth if they don’t have the facilities to accept electronic payments. Mastercard believes that expanding access to... View Article

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Verdant Capital Secures Debt Financing of USD 6 million for Tugende, a Leading Ugandan Fintech Leasing Business

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  Verdant Capital secures USD 6 million of debt funding for a leading Ugandan technology-driven leasing business. The funding is part of Verdant Capital’s overall funding programme for Tugende from international specialist investors for the expansion of Tugende’s productive asset finance portfolio, the bulk of which is leases for motorcycle taxis. This debt funding programme has strengthened Tugende’s diversification of its funding base and represents a strong platform for further successful raises from the international specialist market internationally. Part of the funding shall be drawn immediately, and part shall be drawn following the completion of the forthcoming equity round, on... View Article

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Institute for Open Learning (IOL), Namibia’s Largest Distance Education Institution has Launched a Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme

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  The Institute for Open Learning (IOL) has launched its fully-fledged Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme for skills training in various fields including bricklaying and plastering; plumbing and pipefitting. TVET was identified as an area where the most economic impact can be derived due to a high number of unskilled and unemployed Namibians. Exploiting synergies across the group, Trustco Bank intends to provide financing for Namibians who wish to start their own businesses in these fields, subject to the individuals enrolling for the programme. IOL is regulated by the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) and by the Ministry of... View Article

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La Regionale’s Transformation into a Fully-fledged Commercial Bank

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  La Regionale, a leading microfinance institution in Cameroon is the latest of a number of leading MFIs in the region to be planning to convert into a bank, and obtain a universal banking licence. Its current licence is as an MFI (2nd category) and it has been operating since 1993. The main objective of the conversion is to facilitate broader deposit products and therefore deposit mobilisation for the institution. The goal is principally to better serve the institution’s core customers with micro, SME and housing/education customers continuing to represent around 90% of the bank’s loan book, with larger SMEs... View Article

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The Central Bank of Nigeria’s New Policy Formulation on Customer Deposits Collection Currently Underway

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  Nigeria is currently formulating a new policy which will enable mobile network operators to transfer money, a measure targeted at softening the previous policy that protected the country’s commercial banks. The regulatory environment in Nigeria has generally been considered one of the least permissive in terms of mobile network operators participating in the financial services sector. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may have realised that a heavy reliance on financial institutions to extend their financial services to about 50 million adults out of total country population of about 200 million people would not achieve the best financially inclusive... View Article

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Verdant Capital advises OTI on the sale of MediSmart

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  Verdant Capital advised OTI on the sale of MediSmart, a leading secure personal health informatics solution provider focused on the East African market. MediSmart provides a platform to manage information and claims submission for the medical sector by incorporating contactless smart card and biometric technologies. This enables efficient and secure access to medical information, transactions, claims and reporting. By enabling efficient patient identification and claims administration, MediSmart facilitates the broadest possible access to medical insurance. MediSmart is an example of the application of technology to further the goal of financial inclusion. OTI is listed on NASDAQ in New York.... View Article

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Tugende, a Kampala-based leading provider of finance leasing for motorcycle taxis and other income generating assets

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  Tugende is Uganda’s leading provider of productive asset financing headquartered in Kampala, Uganda and has nine branches broadly covering the busiest towns and districts in the Central, Southern and Eastern Regions of Uganda. Tugende means “Let’s go”. Tugende’s products include lease to own financing packages for motorcycle taxis (locally known as “boda bodas”) and automobile taxis, which includes training, insurance and safety equipment. Tugende’s current target market includes the more than 1 million motorcycle taxi drivers across East Africa, and the USD 37 billion credit gap for SMEs in the region. Tugende is growing through a combination of domestic... View Article

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Ferme Jambo: Feeding the Future

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  Verdant Capital acted as sole advisor and manager to Ferme Agro-Pastorale Jambo SARL (Ferme Jambo), the leading integrated maize flour producer in the DRC, in raising USD 7 million in debt financing. Verdant Capital’s expertise, combined with Ferme Jambo’s strong leadership, convinced investors of the management’s integrity and vision along with the viability of the business plan. Ferme Jambo was founded in 2014 by two leading DRC-based businessmen, who have built a reputed and diversified business group over the past 15 years. The company’s objective is to reduce the dependency on imported flour in the Greater Katanga region, where... View Article

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One industry to rule them all

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  The Institute of International Finance recently released a report on the size of “Big Tech China”, written by Dennis Ferenzy, which provides an insight into the scale, scope and ambition of Big Tech China. The world is witnessing a rise of an industry that is expected to control every aspect of our lives. Through technologies such as deep learning and AI, together with collaboration with the Chinese state for mass data collection of its citizens. Chinese Technology companies are able to make customized user experiences and predict future consumer behaviour. Two companies that are ruling the stage with this... View Article

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Orange and MTN Launch pan-African Mobile Money Interoperability

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  Interoperable payments are now possible across Africa as the continent’s largest mobile operators and mobile money providers, Orange Group and MTN group announced their joint venture, Mowali. Interoperability levels between digital financial service providers are now beyond the levels of which MTN’s and Orange’s operations and markets could individually achieve, enabling the support of 338 million mobile money accounts in Africa while connecting financial service providers and customers in one inclusive network. This has resulted in the ability to immediately transfer money between mobile money accounts at a low cost. Greater usage of mobile money by clients is the... View Article

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Financial Inclusion through Technology: The Investors’ Perspective – European Microfinance Week 2018

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  The 9th European Microfinance Award in 2018 titled “Financial Inclusion through Technology” intended to highlight how technology assists financial services providers in reaching unbanked and under-banked segments and essentially financially including those segments which do not have access to formal financial services. As published in September 2018, Advans Côte d’Ivoire, ESAF Small Finance Bank and KMF were selected as three finalists.  During European Microfinance Week in Luxembourg – the winner of the award was announced. KMF, a microfinance institution in Kazakhstan, one of the most remote regions of the World, won the award.  To reach clients and improve efficiencies... View Article

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Digital Financial Services Improving Financial Inclusion

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  Positive developments can be achieved through building a more financially inclusive financial sector which serves a vital purpose, offering savings, credit, and payment products allowing for broad access to financial services to benefit poor people and other disadvantaged groups. According to the Global Findex Database Report (2017) published earlier this year, the number of adults who have an account with a formal financial institution increased by 18% since 2011. However, a wide variation remains between gender, high and low-income economies, age differences and level of education. Globally, about 1.7 billion adults (56% women) remain unbanked. Developing economies account for... View Article

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Hybrid Capital Solutions to Support the Next Phase of Inclusive Growth

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In recent years, the Inclusive Financial Institution sector has grown significantly in Africa and elsewhere, driven in part by growth in the global specialist investor base supporting the sector, and in part due to the growth of local debt markets. In Africa, this growth has stretched the equity capital bases of many institutions – and of the sector as a whole – due to the narrow range of equity and equity-like capital sources and instruments available to these institutions. One solution to this problem is hybrid capital, an intermediate capital type that sits between debt and equity while meeting the regulatory capital requirements of financial institutions. In Africa,... View Article

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Verdant Capital Completes a Debt Financing of approx. USD 10 million for Premier Credit

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    Verdant Capital has raised approx. USD 10 million for Premier Credit from leading international specialist investors. Premier Credit is a microfinance arm of Platcorp Holdings and its loan products include MSME loans, loans to schools (education portfolio) and asset financing in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The funding will be used for the expansion of its loan book in Kenya and Uganda. A total of five investors have joined this funding round. This funding brings diversification benefits after the group has been historically supported mainly by shareholders, high net worth individuals (HNIs) and other local investors. Premier Credit was... View Article

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Brastorne Bridges the Digital Gap by using Mobile Technology as a Vehicle for Rural Development

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  Fintech continues to alter the way many services operate in the process tilting scales in favour of consumers. According to forecasts, Africa’s fintech space will be in the value of approx. USD 3 Bn by 2020. In Botswana, government-owned Botswana Innovation Hub has launched a USD 1.2 M innovation fund targeting fields such as information technology and business services. Africa has unceasingly faced technological and economic problems that Brastorne has been proactive in helping solve. Internet penetration of the African population is only 35.2%, which is significantly lower when compared to the rest of the world’s penetration of 58.4%.... View Article

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Zeepay, Digitising Ghana’s Economy One Remittance at a Time

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  Africa’s fragmented markets and lack of legacy foreign exchange trading infrastructure means that the continent has become a melting pot of fintech activity and innovation. The emergence of fintech in Ghana has sparked a tremendous increase in domestic and cross-border payments. The mobile money industry within Ghana has witnessed stiff competition between Telcos, such as MTN Ghana and licensed service providers in the digital sector. One of the most prominent service providers is Zeepay, which facilitates mobile money payments, domestic transfers and international remittances. Despite the upsurge in the number of banks in Ghana, approx. 70% of the population... View Article

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European Microfinance Awards for Financial Inclusion through Technology

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  The European Microfinance Award 2018 on “Financial Inclusion through Technology” has selected Advans Côte d’Ivoire, ESAF Small Finance Bank and KMF as the three finalists for this award. This award recognises how technology assists financial services providers in reaching unbanked and under-banked segments and essentially financially including those segments which did not have access to formal financial services. The benefits of financial technology include lower costs, provides a platform to exchange information and communication, faster and more reliable financial services and various other methods in which to innovatively provide financial services efficiently and effectively. These three finalists have been... View Article

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Naspers’ brings its Financial Services to Africa Targeting the Financially Excluded Population

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  Naspers, one of the largest technology investors in the world and the largest company in Africa according to market value, has plans to bring its financial services to all of its PayU markets including Africa. South Africa will be the first country to benefit from Naspers’ lending services followed by other African markets. “Naspers has intention to support its lending activities using its own funds”, said the CEO, Bob van Dijk. This will be mainly initiated in countries where Naspers in confident about their customers’ capacity to repay their loans. Naspers will establish partnerships with several technology companies including... View Article

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Letshego Continuously Improving Lives by Tapping into the Financially Excluded Population

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  In 2018, Letshego has embarked on major additional loan portfolio improvements in Uganda and Botswana as part of its “financial inclusion or improving lives” agenda. In Uganda, Letshego has launched a ground-breaking partnership with D.Light Solar to provide home solar power financing to low income earners, the first of its kind in Uganda. D.Light Solar is a leading manufacturer and distributor of solar powered solutions mainly for homes and families with no access to reliable electricity. Access to electricity remains a challenge in Africa with half a billion people currently living without electricity and with many homes left in... View Article

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FINCA Driving Financial Inclusion through its Digital Transformation

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  Finca Impact Finance’s (“FIF”) mission is to bring the financially “excluded” around the world into the financial system. As such, digital solutions have become increasingly important in order to achieve this objective. This is particularly important in FIF’s African markets (Uganda, Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and the DRC) where income levels and transaction sizes are lower, and physical distances and poor infrastructure can make transactions more expensive. FIF’s other markets – such as those in markets Latin America, the Caribbean, Eurasia, the Middle East, and South Asia- are generally more developing. In 2017, FIF successfully launched its HaloYako mobile... View Article

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Nigeria launches e-ID Card Programme to Boost Financial Inclusion

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In August 2014, the Nigerian Government launched a pilot programme to issue Nigerian National Electronic Identity (“e-ID”) cards to 70 million Nigerians who are 16 years old and above by the end of 2019. The e-ID card combines payment capability and breaks down most significant barriers to financial inclusion including proof of identity, while simultaneously enabling Nigerian to access state-of-the-art financial services. It will also allow users (including the unbanked population) to make payments for goods and services in any part of the world, deposit funds and withdraw cash at ATMs. The National Identity Management Commission (“NIMC”) is working in... View Article

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The Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa’s hidden gem

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  The Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”) is a country with significant resources and the country has the true potential to be one of the richest countries on the African continent and a significant driver of Africa’s growth. Despite its vast expanse, the country remains virtually unconnected due to the lack of basic infrastructure, agricultural production and notable industrial base. The lack of depth in the domestic financial sector is perhaps the most important headwind to sustainable growth. The DRC is one of the larger economies in Africa that lacks a domestic stock exchange. More strikingly, aggregate domestic bank assets... View Article

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Verdant Capital Completes Debt Financing of approx. ZAR 95 million (USD 7.5 Million) in Local Currency for Retail Capital

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  Verdant Capital has raised approx. ZAR 95 million (USD 7.5 million) equivalent in local currency debt financing for Retail Capital from the leading international specialist investors for the expansion of its loan book. This is the first of Retail Capital’s fund-raising programme with international investors. The company has been receiving funding support from specialist local investors, however the transaction arranged by Verdant Capital diversifies Retail Capital’s funding base and represents a foothold in the international specialist funding market. Retail Capital was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in Cape Town with other offices in Johannesburg and Durban. It is... View Article

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Special Report: “Aadhaar: Lessons for the African Continent?”

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In 2009, India launched the world’s largest IT project, i.e. the Aadhaar biometric identification program. The program is intended to drive social and financial inclusion, reform public-sector service delivery, improve fiscal management, increase convenience, etc. An Aadhaar number can be viewed as a permanent financial address. Considering that almost the entire Indian population is now enrolled in Aadhaar – the underprivileged as well as the rich – it also can be viewed as a tool for justice and equality. The program consists of the following: A demographic database with a 12-digit number for each person, secured by fingerprint and retina... View Article

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