Kenya-based financial technology (FinTech) firm Pezesha has won first place at the 2020 AFI Inclusive FinTech Showcase, after impressing AFI members and the panel of expert judges with an online pitch on how their solution is leading innovation in financial inclusion.
Pezesha, translated as “financial empowerment” from Kenyan Swahili, provides a digital platform where micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) can tap into finance after being matched with investors – including banks, microfinance institutions and other retail lenders – seeking to foster productivity and growth among small businesses.
Hilda Moraa, Pezesha’s founder and chief executive officer, connected via live feed to spotlight her company’s work in helping MSMEs across sub-Saharan Africa reach vital capital needed to grow their businesses.
“We are tackling the USD328 billion financing gap for MSMEs across sub-Saharan Africa … and the more than 50 million businesses that have been excluded and underserved,” she said.
Focusing on underserved markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, Pezesha, the competition’s second winner uses alternative transactional data from suppliers and partners to produce credit scores that give them access to credit for purchasing additional inventory. This is financed by investors using algorithms that aim to diversify risk by enabling lending to more secure small businesses.
Last year’s inaugural showcase event was won by OKO, which provides agricultural insurance to smallholder farmers in Mali.
“Everyone benefits in our value chain ecosystem: lenders can optimize their capital; suppliers can increase their network of merchants; and merchants can grow their inventory,” Moraa told the panel.
MSMEs can also use the platform, she explained, to learn about ways to increase their credit score by transacting through digital platforms and creating a digital presence. Its tools, she added, improve the knowledge and skills of customers by educating them on how to increase cash flows and safely expand their business.
Pezesha’s work also has strong links to several key AFI themes, having created a customer base that 80 percent youth and 60 percent women. According to Moraa, Pezesha has connected more than 20,000 youth MSMEs with working capital, leading to the creation of more than 1,000 formal sector jobs and 5,000 informal sector jobs.
Since its launch in 2017, Moraa said that the Pezesha has funded more than 75,000 loans to MSMEs, educated more than 200,000 MSMEs and disbursed more than USD2 million across Kenya.
Pezesha has also partnered with companies such as Google, PesaPoint, Mastercard and Letshego to expand its reach, including to groups frequently excluded groups, such as persons with disabilities and victims of gender-based violence.
Moraa hopes that strategic collaboration will help address the challenges of harmonization and that by speaking the AFI network, she will learn about ways forward on a regional and global level, as well as contribute her own experiences in going through sandbox processes and expanding her business into other countries.
Watch Pezesha’s winning pitch here!
Second place in this year’s competition went to Idemia, a France-based multinational technology company, which uses digital identification to aid in the enrolment and disbursal of funds, including government subsidies to low-income and vulnerable population. Its platform captures biometric data – facial and fingerprint identity – to create digital identities that can be used to access a range of financial services, including branchless banking.
Arifu, a Kenya-based social enterprise, came in third with its smart personal learning assistant and content marketplace that offers advice and financial skills training to vulnerable groups, including farmers, youth, women and MSMEs, through mobile phones. Users of both smart and feature phone can learn via SMS, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to develop new skills, discover products and services and earn rewards. According to the company, more than 1.5 million people have accessed Arifu’s services.
First, second and third placed finalists will be invited to participate in select activities of AFI’s Public-Private Dialogue platform and be awarded a one-year membership to Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), which provides practical training, education and research services for the FinTech community.
Congratulations to our top three finalists!
Below is a list of the remaining FinTech finalists (listed in alphabetical order):
Founded in 2013, Beyonic provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and other organizations with a digital payments toolbox that provides an alternative to cash payments. It promotes business continuity and sustainable growth through remote payment and collection functionality in over nine markets in Africa through a range of last-mile delivery channels that include unstructured supplementary service data for feature phones and open application programming interfaces for apps.
Circulo de Credito
Circulo de Credito, a registered credit bureau in Mexico and Peru, empowers lending companies to reach markets that are not traditionally included for financial services. Recently, it created advanced analytic models to help lenders personalize lending solutions depending on a consumer’s financial maturity profile, a score that extends family-level credit behavior to include typically financially-excluded women as well as digital and legal biometric signatures to help disadvantaged groups sign up for loans through their phones.
cLabs is the team that developed Celo, an open blockchain platform that facilitates access to financial tools to mobile phone users. Its digital currency, the Celo Dollar stablecoin, can be sent to any phone number and aims to be accessible to all. Among the use cases developed on the Celo platform, Earn focuses on matching micro-work with integrated micro-payments.
One of the last year’s FinTech showcase finalists, KlickEx offers payments infrastructure focused on reducing settlement risks for central banks and providing cross-border transfer services dedicated to financial inclusion. Launched in 2009, the platform targets the formalization of remittances and informal development flows in the Pacific region, focusing on mobile money systems for the unbanked and retail sector services, including compliance.
Mosabi’s platform blends FinTech and education technology with artificial intelligence-driven business and life skills electronic learning for underserved citizens and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets. Through gamified lessons and unique journeys, users can learn about managing their business and money. Mosabi also connects users with relevant partner financial providers and platforms.
My Cash Online
MyCash Online is a Malaysia-based e-market that provides online services for migrants, including the purchasing of bus tickets, airline tickets, mobile top-ups and international reload or bill payments.
People’s Pension Trust
People’s Pension Trust, another of 2019’s finalists, provides pension products to people working in the formal and informal sector with the aim of reducing old-age poverty across Africa. A subsidiary of the Netherlands-based People’s Pension Holding, its goal is to provide affordable pension products to four million people in the informal sector by 2027.
Proto‘s conversational artificial intelligence solution automates consumer protection for central banks and financial supervisory authorities across Southeast Asia and Africa. Proto, another of last year’s finalists, aims to overcome the manual limitations of complaints processing and financial misconduct monitoring. It uses SMS and social messaging apps to provide channels for bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers.
From its operations hub in Jordan, Tanda offers access to alternative financial solutions through the introduction of online savings clubs via a mobile application. Tanda works with payment service providers to enable the transfer of payments electronically.
All 12 finalists will be featured in a special AFI report highlighting how their solutions contribute to financial inclusion and COVID-19 response, which will be disseminated across the AFI network, the wider financial inclusion community and beyond. Furthermore, they will be invited to a special dialogue session with AFI members hosting the Pacific Regional Regulatory Sandbox, the world’s first regional sandbox, and have access to a mentoring and training on pitching to investors and presenting business models provided by LHoFT.
The event is an initiative under the 2018 Sochi Accord, in which AFI’s membership committed to “create and participate in platforms for systemic dialogue and partnership among regulators and policymakers with FinTech companies and technology providers”.
It is supported through AFI’s Multi-Donor Financial Inclusion Policy Implementation Facility, with participation of French Development Agency (AFD), the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Ministry of Finance of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Watch all the finalists pitch their innovative solutions here!
Possibilities of Making Profits On Crypto, Risk-Free
Over the course of the last decade, cryptocurrencies have experienced unprecedented growth and garnered a lot of interest across a range of demographics from all over the world. Interest in digital currencies is spiking globally and search terms such as “how to buy Bitcoin” have seen an uptick in interest according to Google trends. This is just one of many indicators that suggests a notable influx of people are entering the blockchain space and looking to explore the crypto ecosystem.
While the market cap of digital assets has varied extremely with price fluctuations, it, however, grew from about US$10 billion in 2013 to about $237 billion in 2019. Also, in the last 5 years, the increase in Bitcoin (BTC) private accounts and trades has averaged about sixty percent every year. Currently, the market cap for digital currencies is just above $2 trillion.
Even though many people have made early gains in digital assets, the cryptocurrency space is still in the early phase of development. The Internet for example, was created in 1969 and the “worldwide web” was designed in 1989 and subsequently the first web browser in 1990. Compared to those revolutionary technologies which massively transformed the communications landscape, blockchain technology is nascent and cryptocurrencies have only been in use for only a decade.
Crypto goes mainstream
Social media has exposed a lot of people to the crypto industry. The mass media is quick to broadcast the movements in bitcoin prices, leading to FOMO and FUD or the hysteria that sometimes characterizes crypto markets. Overall the ever growing coverage has done more to spur further development of new innovations within the space.
The price increase of cryptocurrency will probably be boosted by increased cryptocurrency adoption. While many institutions have started to invest and buy Bitcoin, there are still a lot of firms waiting in line to invest and buy Bitcoin. The average volume of digital assets transacted on any given day is just one percent of the FX trade. Regardless of cryptocurrencies increasing to more than $2 trillion in market cap according to Coinmarketcap, digital assets are still a tiny fraction of global equity trade ($34.8 trillion in 2020) and worldwide debt trade (over 281 trillion in 2020) according to Bloomberg.
With more institutional adoption of Bitcoin and other digital assets, traders and investors are presented with more chances to make money in the digital asset space.
How to make money with crypto
There are several ways of making profits with digital assets. Given that digital assets are basically volatile, many digital assets involve a great level of risk while some need greater expertise. It is important to have prerequisite knowledge about digital assets before you buy bitcoin.
One of the ways of making profits with cryptocurrency is through investing. This is generally for long-term purposes. It requires you to buy Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies and hold them for a chosen period of time. This can be done via different traditional crypto exchanges or P2P platforms like Remitano. Digital assets are usually well-suited to the investing practice of buying low, holding and then selling high. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile in shorter timeframes, however, they typically and have historically offered a much more lucrative upside over long periods compared to traditional investment vehicles.
Studies have also shown that most BTC profits are realized in the ten best trading periods of the year.
Due to cryptocurrencies being naturally volatile, investing for a long period is one of the ways of making profits with cryptocurrency. Just like with any type of investing, risks have to be thoroughly considered and expectations of rewards have to be managed well.
Another way of making profits with cryptocurrency is to trade digital assets. The most notable difference between investing and trading is the general time frames between entering and exiting positions. Investing is for a long period, while trading is basically to leverage opportunities over a short period. To trade digital assets successfully, it is important to know the basic fundamentals and have the capability to conduct technical analysis in order to avoid making costly mistakes.
Making profits via trading cryptocurrencies is more about knowing the price trend and pattern and utilizing it to forecast future value, many times over a short period. Find out the 20 best platforms to buy Bitcoin and other digital currencies in South Africa.
What is the possibility of making profits on crypto, risk-free?
Trading digital assets sounds relatively easy, however, due to the highly volatile nature of crypto assets, it involves a lot of risks. One of the ways to make profits on cryptocurrency with relatively low risk is by doing cryptocurrency arbitrage. This trading method exploits price and demand gaps between different digital asset marketplaces. But, the trades have to be done almost instantaneously to realize gains.
Crypto arbitrage involves exploiting price differences on different crypto exchanges for your benefit. This method is effective in places where bitcoin price varies from one exchange to the other like in South Africa and Nigeria. The price differences could be a result of several factors.
Arbitrage trading involves buying bitcoin or other digital assets from one exchange and selling it on other exchanges at a higher price. Selling the asset after the purchase must be done relatively quickly to avoid price movements narrowing margins or leading to loss at times.
Exploiting the price difference using the cryptocurrency arbitrage technique requires a cryptocurrency market that has price discrepancies depending on the supply and demand in the different markets.
Another way to make money risk-free is with Remitano Invest. Remitano invest allows you to buy and invest in cryptocurrencies without putting your capital at risk.
With the Stop Loss and Take Profit features, your crypto asset will be liquidated to USDT (a stable coin) to prevent loss and maximize your profit. You simply set the auto sell price for the Stop Loss and Take Profit. When the asset you have invested hits your Take Profit price, Remitano Invest converts it into USDT to secure your profit. However, if the asset’s price falls to your Stop Loss price, the system will convert it into USDT to help you secure your capital and prevent further loss.
Risks and benefits are an intrinsic part of most money markets and they go hand in hand. Risks cannot be eradicated but they can be managed. Some risks can be managed by utilizing effective risk management practices. Personal risks like wallet hacks, coin theft, and loss of access to funds can be offset by making sure you implement good security practices.
Article & Image source: Heath Muchena
How to Make Money Online by Buying and Selling Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that doesn’t require much introduction. It is the leading digital asset in terms of market cap and a top trend that has been around for a while. With increased popularity and adoption comes the debate around the best way to make money with Bitcoin. There are several ways to make money with the asset, it all depends on your investing approach or trading strategy. Buying and selling bitcoin or called bitcoin trading is one of the ways you can make money with the digital asset. But if you want to buy bitcoin and sell with the aim of making a profit, there are certain evaluations you have to make.
Trading simply means buying and selling, mostly with the aim of making profits/money. So bitcoin trading means buying bitcoin at a reasonably low price and selling it at a much higher price. Bitcoin trading depends greatly on how effective you are at gathering intelligence, analysing the market, and taking calculated risks. Having a good risk mitigation strategy and a profit taking plan is also crucial. Below are some of the strategies traders implement when crypto trading.
Day trading entails taking trades within short timeframes. The method involves a careful reading of the market, spotting the small opportunities to make profit, and making the most of those opportunities by taking decisive action. So basically, you buy bitcoin at a low price, wait for a little positive swing in price and then you sell. You are taking advantage of the daily volatility in the price of BTC and those price market movements. Although the gains could seem relatively small especially when trading with modest capital, over time those smaller profits accumulate into quite significant gains. When implementing the day trading strategy, you can open and close several trades daily. Traders implementing this strategy spend a lot of time closely monitoring their positions. Some experts believe that day trading is the most effective way to make profits from bitcoin trading since the market is highly volatile.
Swing trading mainly involves a trader buying an asset at a low price, then waiting for that asset’s price to appreciate before selling it off at a higher price. In essence, this type of trading involves taking advantage of swings in crypto asset prices. Swing trading may require waiting a long time compared to day trading, but not as long as when you are implementing the HODL strategy. Basically, you buy BTC at a low price, wait a while for a positive price swing, and close your trade at a higher price. Swing traders don’t spend much time looking at their screen as they can wait for weeks or sometimes months before closing a position.
This simply means taking advantage of varying bitcoin prices on different digital currency exchanges rather than within the same exchange. This method is effective in places where bitcoin price varies from one exchange to the other like South Africa. So you buy bitcoin from an exchange at a low price and sell on another exchange at a higher price.
Buying and HODLing
HODL is just a play on the word HOLD that has become a common word within the crypto community. HODLing simply means buying bitcoin and then holding with an expectation that the price will go higher in the future. Although the concept of the strategy might sound easy, it nonetheless requires patience and emotional stability. Basically, there are two factors that make trading quite difficult, the first is FOMO which is the fear of missing out, and FUD – fear, uncertainty and doubt. Traders who cannot keep their composure when markets are volatile typically end up buying or selling as a result of either FOMO or FUD which means they buy above the market price or sell at a loss.
In conclusion, bitcoin trading can yield amazing results when done correctly, however, it can also be risky when you don’t have an idea of how to properly make your profit out of it. The rule of thumb is always to only invest or trade what you are prepared to risk losing.
Bitcoin can be a highly volatile asset, and its price actions can be unpredictable at times. While its price movements can be exceptionally high and sometimes low, no one can time the market for certain as there are always many forces and factors that determine the trajectory of market performance.
That’s one reason why risking large amounts of money on a single trade is never recommended. Even if you think you’ve done enough research, making extremely risky moves such as leveraged trading when you don’t have the know-how to properly risk manage could result in massive losses which is never a good idea.
It is important to maintain your composure and to take a level-headed approach to trading. Knowing the fundamentals and understanding that sometimes a cryptocurrency can drop in price sharply but also rebound massively can help you avoid panic selling at a loss. However, also holding on to an asset that continues to poorly perform can sometimes be even worse. It’s ultimately about following through on your chosen trading strategy and adapting as you learn new information in order that your decision making and action taking are always aligned with your objectives. Find out more about 20 of the best platforms to sell or buy Bitcoin in South Africa.
Article & Image source: Heath Muchena
Lami, Kenya-based Insurtech secures $1.8 million to accelerate digital insurance in Africa
Lami team and press release (Source: Eva Barasa/Lami Tech/medium)
Lami Technologies, a Kenyan insurance technology (insurtech) company that aims to democratize insurance products and services for low-income Kenyans, announced today it had raised $1.8 million in seed funding.
The round was led by Accion Venture Lab’s seed-stage investment initiative that provides capital and extensive support to innovative fintech startups that improve the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved.
Founded by Jihan Abass in 2018, Lami is a digital insurance platform that enables partner businesses — including banks, tech companies, and other entities to easily and seamlessly offer digital insurance products to their users via its API. Lami can also be used by partner businesses to manage their own insurance needs. Lami connects partner organizations, such as the e-commerce platform Jumia, with underwriters and allows them to offer a superior customer journey. Through its API, users can get a quotation for motor, medical, or other tailored insurance products in seconds, then customize the benefits and adjust the premium to suit their needs, get their policy documents instantly, and claims are paid in record time.
Lami’s services are enabled by its flexible insurance rating engine and direct integration with several parties and insurance companies. Lami co-designs innovative products with its underwriting partners to enable businesses to offer unique insurance products to their underlying customer base, with flexible options that meet their needs and cash flows, such as monthly medical policies for startup employees.
Jihan Abass, CEO & Founder of Lami (Source: Eva Barasa/Lami Tech/medium)
Jihan Abass, CEO, Lami, said: “This funding will allow us to invest in hiring more people, improving our technology, and growing our presence across Africa as we can continue to address the persistent insurance gap. At Lami, our vision is to help improve the financial resilience of millions by making insurance products more accessible and affordable for underserved populations. By enabling our business partners to offer customized insurance solutions, we are helping them provide more value to their customers while enabling large volumes of users to access insurance, often for the first time.”
Africa’s insurance market currently stands at a 3 percent penetration rate, except for South Africa, and is facing modernization and innovation challenges. Most insurance providers on the continent fail to offer flexible, affordable and tailored insurance coverage to provide a safety net for the African consumer. Low insurance uptake is partly due to the traditional distribution and administration of policies, mainly relying on brick-and-mortar channels where policies are sold and processed manually. This results in a longer processing cycle, poor customer satisfaction, and higher distribution costs.
Lami’s digital insurance platform leverages cloud computing, automation, and third-party service providers such as emergency and valuation, or identity and asset verification databases, to offer a comprehensive ecosystem for the businesses they partner with to develop, distribute and manage highly streamlined and competitive insurance products that are designed to meet their customers’ needs.
Since its inception, the insurtech startup has sold more than 5,000 policies and has partnered with more than 25 active underwriters, including Britam, Pioneer, and Madison Insurance, distributing more than 30 products available including medical, motor, employee benefits, and device insurance. As an innovator in the digital insurance space, Lami aims to continue diversifying its business by looking for new partners and building on its core technology.
Michael Schlein, President and CEO, Accion Venture Lab, said: “Ninety-seven percent of Africans lack access to insurance — a financial safety net that can help them build resilience against economic shocks. Lami helps address this need for consumers across Africa through its innovative approach that leverages technology and partnerships to help any business develop and sell insurance.”
“At Accion Venture Lab, we’re excited by how Lami is using technology to create a pathway for customers to purchase insurance that is specific to their needs. By embedding customized insurance within businesses that customers know and trust, Lami is making insurance accessible for underserved populations in Africa and enabling them to build financial resilience. “said Ashley Lewis, Africa Director, Accion Venture Lab
This investment highlights the strong commitment of all organizations to ensuring that financial services are made accessible and affordable for the underserved.