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AfCFTA delay presents new opportunities for construction, manufacturing

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AfCFTA Secretary-General, Wamkele Mene

The delay in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which was scheduled to launch in July this year, could provide much-needed breathing room for Africa’s manufacturing and construction sectors.

This is according to Duncan Bonnett, Director Market Access & Research at Africa House – a research partner of the bauma CONEXPO AFRICA trade exhibition, organised by Messe Muenchen South Africa. Bonnett says several sectors now have an opportunity to better prepare for the implementation of the AfCFTA.

The implementation, pushed out until 2021 because of the impact of Covid-19, could have the potential to increase growth, raise welfare and stimulate industrial development, according to studies by the likes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). However, there have also been concerns that some countries could suffer revenue losses and other negative effects from premature liberalisation.

Speaking ahead of the bauma CONEXPO AFRICA trade show, Bonnett says: “This gives companies and countries a bit of breathing space, even though changes brought about by the agreement would not have been immediate, and certain duties are already zero or near zero. The delay in implementing the agreement, along with the pandemic down time, allows companies to reinforce what they have been doing to get systems in place, and better prepare to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

At a strategic level, it allows them time to assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sector, and on companies in the global north. In countries badly affected by the pandemic, a lot of the industrial capacity is in small to medium sized companies which have been incredibly badly impacted, so this may present new opportunities for African companies to look at where they can take space in that market.”

Also Read: Lockdown Bozza: Developed to simplify the lockdown regulations in South Africa

Bonnett notes that the pandemic highlighted supply chain issues, which continental free trade could help to mitigate. Across Africa, there were disruptions in the supply of goods and services out of Europe and elsewhere in the global north. “There were impacts on the cost of building materials, for example. When China shut down, the cost of building materials in Kenya rose by 5 – 10%. This may not have a major impact on a residential project, but it becomes prohibitive in a billion dollar infrastructure project. This reinforces need for better intra-regional trade linkages.”

African companies – particularly in key east and west African markets – now have a real opportunity to position themselves to compete globally and build resilience into the pan-African supply chain, he says.

Suzette Scheepers, CEO of bauma CONEXPO AFRICA organisers Messe Muenchen South Africa, says there is optimism across the construction sector that enhanced pan-African trade will help the industry overcome recent challenges. “We believe collaboration and the application of new models and technologies will help the sector capitalise on emerging opportunities across the continent,” she says. “bauma CONEXPO, traditionally bringing together key decision-makers from across Africa, will focus on highlighting opportunities and boosting collaboration among stakeholders.”

bauma CONEXPO AFRICA, sub-Saharan Africa’s Leading Trade Fair for Construction, Building Material, Mining, Agriculture & Forestry Machines, Machinery and Vehicles, will be staged in Johannesburg from 13 – 16 October 2021.

Issued by ITP Communications on behalf of Messe Muenchen South Africa

Press Release

Eksab Raises $500,000 Investment for its Daily Fantasy Sports Platform

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Eksab co-founder and CEO, Aly
Mahmoud (Source: Eksab)

Cairo, Egypt: Eksab, the leading Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) platform in the Middle East and
Africa, announced an investment of USD $500,000 from 4DX Ventures as well as other
strategic investors within the international sports and entertainment ecosystem.

“Daily Fantasy Sports and monetized competitions are a multi-billion dollar a year industry in the US,” said Co-Founder and CEO Aly Mahmoud. “Our goal is to become the premier sports entertainment company in the MEA region by offering exciting Fantasy Sports competitions as well as highly engaging local sports content.”

With over 1 billion football fans across the Middle East and Africa, Eksab’s goal is to make every match more exciting. Users sign up to the platform at www.yallaeksab.com, join both
free and paid competitions, make predictions on live international football games, collect
points based on the accuracy of their predictions and then get rewarded with prizes or cash. “We’re bringing the FanDuel and DraftKings model to the world’s largest football market,” continued Aly Mahmoud.

With the investment from 4DX Ventures, Eksab plans to scale its product to the millions of football fans in the region with the goal of launching its first paid competitions over the next year. Peter Orth, Partner at 4DX shared – “We see the region as one of the most exciting and underserved markets for a sports entertainment platform. We’ve been really impressed with Aly’s vision for a next generation and technology driven platform that is also highly tailored to local fans and their preferences. We’re excited to be on this journey with Aly and the rest of the Eksab team.”

“Our ultimate goal is to provide an unmatched daily source of entertainment, engagement
and content for the region’s football fans” highlighted Aly Mahmoud.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a football fan in the Middle East and Africa. Over the next year, we plan to work with a select group of partners to make the experience even more immersive. We’re excited to have 4DX with us on this journey.”, added Aly
Mahmoud.

Issued by Eksab

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Wuilt raises $535,000 seed round for it’s Arabic-Supported E-Commerce Platform

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Wuilt Team (Source: Wuilt)

Wuilt, a SaaS Arabic website builder where users can create their own professional websites in 5 minutes, has successfully raised a seed round worth $535,000. The investment round included the participation of a UK-based MENA Technology Fund, DAAL VC, prominent angel investors in the MENA and a follow-on funding from Flat6Labs Cairo. The new capital will be deployed to deepen its capabilities and expand its footprints in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Since its launch in 2019, Wuilt has been working to provide new and existing customers and businesses across the MENA region with easy-to-use and affordable options for launching and scaling their digital presence especially in the field of Arabic e-commerce. The company currently serves 30,000+ users in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Co-founded by Ahmed Rostom, Mohamed Hegazy and Mahmoud Metwaly, Wuilt’s website building platform was curated to have all the necessary tools and components of a professional website at one’s fingertips. Enabling even those with little knowledge of website building to easily create and manage their Arabic website.

“We came across many friends and businesses struggle to get a professional website designed to their style and design especially in Arabic. This highly motivated us as a team to bridge this gap by providing a solution and hence Wuilt was created and launched,” said Ahmed Rostom, CEO of Wuilt. Today, Wuilt’s all-in-one Arabic platform offers a range of features to fit businesses of all sizes and across all industries. Wuilt takes the hassle out of web designing and saves you time. In minutes, your business can have a sleek, and professional website.”

With the emergence and continuous spread of the pandemic, many businesses were forced to shift their operations online in order to stay active. Some of them had to either pay huge amounts to web development agencies, or had to collaborate with freelancers who may or may have not been up to the task.

“We are delighted to have leading investors believe in our business model and provide the necessary advice and support to progress our growth potentials. We look forward to working closely with them and successfully achieve our short term and long-term objectives,” said Ahmed.

“We witnessed a spike in the number of users and have seen a continuous increase in the number of users intending to shift their operations online since the onset of Covid-19. Our strategy is to provide the best solutions for all businesses in any sector, particularly, extending our platform to entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and small businesses,” continued Ahmed.

In addition to launching its e-commerce platform, Wuilt is planning to deploy some of its new funding to expand its presence in Saudi Arabia, which comprises nearly 30% of its customer base.

Wuilt joined Flat6labs’ Cairo accelerator in 2019 where they received huge support and ended the cycle by doubling their customer base. “Flat6labs has been a true partner to Wuilt,” Ahmed added. Wuilt has also been part of the MISK500 Accelerator, an accelerator powered by 500 Startups, in February 2020.

“Flat6Labs has been a true believer in Wuilt since they first pitched their business, and we’ve been lucky to partner with them early-on. The promising traction to date, the huge market opportunity in the MENA region and the amazing team behind Wuilt, were true assurances for us to increase our exposure to Wuilt in their second round. We wish the team all the best and look forward to continuing to support the business till it reaches its true potential”, said Marie-Therese Fam, Managing Partner of Flat6Labs Cairo.

“We’re really excited to be part of this journey with Ahmed, Mohammed, Mahmoud and the entire team. We believe in the early traction they’ve achieved, but more importantly the functionality and roadmap is what will make Wuilt a success in the coming period,” commented Omar Hassan, Managing Partner at MENA Tech Fund.

“OQAL Saudi Arabia has helped Wuilt a lot by connecting us to qualified and ready-to-invest angel investors,” Ahmed Rostom, CEO of Wuilt Abdulrahman Alqahtani, CEO of DAAL VC, said: “Innovative startups equipped with the right team who are focused on excelling in their journey are part of the qualities we at DAAL look for in our investments. In Wuilt we found it all. Enabling SMEs by providing them with state-of-the-art technology to create their business’ digital frontier is not an easy task. The market that Wuilt is serving is considered to be the future of most of our regional economies. With robust solutions and scalable technology, we believe Wuilt will become a great success story in the near future.”

To cope with today’s fast-paced environment, Wuilt’s automatic platform generates fully functioning professional websites for businesses and individuals almost instantly. Users can choose between different pre-designed section blocks, create a multilingual website with just the click of a button, build a beautiful website that’s free of technical and design errors, select from different style combinations and diverse section designs that are tailored to fit any field, with dozens of customizable color palettes, and multiple font combinations to build a clean polished layout that guarantees a vibrant professional website.

Also Read Closing The Gender Gap: An Interview with Dream Girl Global (DGG) Founder, Precious Oladokun

Issued by Wuilt

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Africa Fintech Network partners Findexable and Cenfri to build the first pan-African fintech census and digital map

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Africa Fintech Network (AFN), in partnership with global data analytics firm findexable and independent African think tank Cenfri, are launching the first pan-African fintech census and digital map to track fintech activity across the whole of Africa. The Africa Fintech Radar initiative will drive visibility and awareness of Africa’s fintech innovation ecosystems before a global audience of potential partners, fintech buyers and investors.

AFN President Dr Segun Aina believes that, while there are still many challenges to overcome in a market comprising 54 countries, each with a different jurisdiction and unique fintech environment, the opportunity is to create a unified, transparent African fintech ecosystem for the benefit of society at large.

at in Africa which represents nearly half (46%) of all global mobile money accounts,” explains Dr Segun Aina. “With the ongoing crisis, we at the Africa Fintech Network have an important role to play in helping accelerate digitisation which is critical for business continuity and driving post-Covid economic growth.

The Africa Fintech Radar will provide critical information to better understand and address the pain points, remove the barriers and propel Africa into becoming a truly inclusive and sustainable digital economy.” The Africa Fintech Radar will result in a 360 degree report of the African fintech ecosystem providing detailed insights into the development of individual sub-segments, the geographical distribution of fintech activity across the continent, key ecosystem challenges faced, amongst others. The findings will be supported by findexable’s real-time map of Fintech activity across Africa building a dynamic bridge between local fintech talent, innovation and opportunities, and potential investors, partners, customers and employers across the globe. The Radar project is now calling upon all Africa-based fintechs to join by completing a short (anonymous) survey online (Survey link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1QBb2TU04S3pfABobssadQutCKNAeqZzkl3LQ-fahw7o/prefill).

“Despite having the highest level of mobile phone and internet penetration in the world, only 10% of all payments and transactions in the continent are being made digitally,” says Mr Simon Hardie, CEO of findexable – the company building the platform. Hardie believes that fintech is ideally placed to serve as a crucial steppingstone that will propel Africa into becoming a truly digital economy.

“To realise the promise of fintech in improving the social and financial wellbeing of all citizens, requires accurate, up-to-date and unbiased data. We believe much of this promise is currently overlooked, and indeed lost, because of geographical barriers. With the Africa Fintech Radar, we aim to change this by providing visibility for every fintech in every corner of the continent. For investors and buyers of fintech this is a tool to identify innovation and to expand their portfolios to new and exciting territories,” explains Hardie.

Cenfri, an independent not-for-profit think-tank based in South Africa, which has done extensive research during the pandemic, found that rapid digitalisation has forced providers, regulators and consumers to rethink how they interact. It is critical that interventions and regulatory support considers the substantive impacts across the continent in both the short and the long term,” says David Saunders, Partnerships and Impact Lead at Cenfri.

“More coordinated regulation can help create a more integrated African market. This is important to address, as many financial services models, including fintechs, are dependent on scale for feasibility. The Africa Fintech Radar initiative can help highlight which fintechs have been able to find business models that are able to function within this and other local context restrictions,” concludes Mr. Saunders.

Issued by Findexable

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