Knowledge

Verdant Capital opens Lagos office and hires IK Izedonmwen

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Ikponmwosa (or Ik. for short) joined Verdant Capital in August, to open Verdant Capital’s Lagos office. Verdant Capital’s office in Lagos is the firm’s fifth office in the continent, the others being Johannesburg, Accra, Kinshasa and Ebene. The physical presence in Nigeria is expected to increase the amount of business the firm executes in Nigeria, a market where Verdant Capital has been active at different stages in the cycle. Ik has over 18 years investment banking experience in West Africa. Prior to Verdant Capital, Ik performed similar roles at firms including Citi, FBN Capital / FBN Quest Merchant Bank, and... View Article

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Patrick Ball joins the Johannesburg team as a Director

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Patrick has joined the Johannesburg team as a Director. Patrick has over 14 years’ experience in investment management in both global private equity and microfinance investing. Patrick has worked at leading global investors including Doughty Hanson & Co, Deutsche Bank, Developing World Markets (DWM) and Incofin Investment Management. Patrick brings a broad range of skills and experience to Verdant Capital, including investment banking at Bear Stearns in New York and London, and as CFO of FINCA’s microfinance bank in the DR Congo. Patrick will be dedicated full-time to the Verdant Capital Hybrid Fund upon its first close. Verdant Capital is... View Article

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Mobile Money Market in Cameroon

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In Cameroon, the opportunity in its mobile money sector is underpinned by high mobile penetration rates. More than 20 million Cameroonians out of an estimated population of 24 million are currently subscribing to the mobile phone and notwithstanding the reduction in subscriber numbers, significantly more Cameroonians have a mobile phone than a bank account!  In Central Africa, Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) can only offer Mobile Money in partnership with banks. MMOs are doing what banks have not done i.e. serving informal or unbanked customers i.e. 85% of Cameroonians. Efforts remain to be made as so far only 5 out of 14 banks operating... View Article

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Trustco Group Holdings ratings upgraded to B+(NA)/B(NA)

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The JSE-listed financial services group Trustco Group Holdings reported a successful completion of its formal debt term-extension process with the lender group which reflects a positive outlook and provides clarity of funding for the business going forward. The successful term-extension unlocks potential new funding for Trustco Finance. Trustco Finance works in parallel with group company, Institution of Open Learning (IOL) an accredited tertiary learning institution leveraging technology to provide remote learning on a part-time basis. Trustco Finance is the largest part of the Trustco’s banking and finance segment. The other part of the segment is Trustco Bank which has an... View Article

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Tugende: MicroFinanza’s Financial and Social Rating Affirmation

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Tugende, founded in 2012 in Kampala is a leading technology-enabled productive asset financing company. It has achieved notable growth milestones including the financial and social aspects of the business. MicroFinanza completed a financial and social rating recently to support the capital raising programme arranged by Verdant Capital and was the first rating since inception. This rating produced impressive results for an institution of this size as indicated below. Its financial rating of BB Stable indicates that the institution has good risk management and financial performance. Other aspects include adequate governance and strong market position. Tugende has reached a critical scale... View Article

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Verdant Capital has hired Brett Roberts as a Director and Head of M&A.

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Brett is an experienced M&A banker who has worked at bulge bracket investment banks in London and Johannesburg including Deutsche Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.  In a 21-year career, Brett has also worked in M&A at Rand Merchant Bank, as an M&A specialist at Vodacom, and earlier in his career as an equity research analyst and as a strategy consultant. Brett has experience transacting in a range of sectors, including telecoms, mining, financial services, media, technology, healthcare, and industrials. Brett started work last month and reports to Edmund Higenbottam, Managing Director of Verdant Capital.

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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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Verdant Capital finished in the top three in DealMakers Africa corporate finance league table for East Africa

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  Verdant Capital finished in the top three in DealMakers East Africa corporate finance rankings. Verdant Capital, a specialist financial advisory firm operating on a pan-African basis, in 2018 completed high profile transactions in Southern Africa, Central Africa and East Africa. In East Africa Verdant Capital achieved its highest ranking, finishing second by deal volumes and third by deal value. In a competitive market for mergers and acquisitions advisory in Africa, the firm is differentiated by its global reach. Verdant Capital is the IMAP partner firm for Africa and, along with its partner firms in Morocco and Egypt, have eight... 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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Banking on the Future (DRC)

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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a country with significant resources. Its surface area of 2.3 million square kilometres (km) spans the equivalent of two-thirds of the European Union. Despite its vast expanse, the country remains virtually unconnected due to the lack of basic infrastructure, agricultural production, and notable industrial base. As per the CIA World Factbook, only 2,794 km of paved road exists along with only 4,000 km of railways leaving the country disconnected and the population without access to affordable domestic transportation. In contrast to this reality, the DRC, with 80 million hectares of arable land and... 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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