African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced the appointment of Ms. Marlene Ngoyi as the Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Export-Development in Africa (FEDA), the Bank’s development-oriented subsidiary. Mr. Emmanuel Assiak has been appointed Chief Investment Officer.
Ms. Ngoyi, who hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has over 17 years of experience. She has worked with social enterprises, private companies, public-private partnerships, and governments across Africa to raise multi-billion-dollar debt, bonds, equity, quasi-equity, and foreign direct investment via bank syndication, capital markets, or private equity transactions to finance strategic investments.
Ms. Ngoyi has also served as the CEO of BGFI Investment Banking where she led the company in raising more than US$4 billion of capital and foreign direct investment for private and sovereign clients. Additionally, she was CEO of a commercial bank in the DRC, for two years, leading a financial turnaround by restoring its financial profitability. Under her leadership, the bank also became one of a select few banks in sub-Saharan Africa to complete and obtain an anti-money laundering 30000 certification for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
Ms. Ngoyi graduated magna cum laude from Bentley University with a B.Sc. in Economics and Finance and holds a Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
For his part, Mr. Emmanuel Assiak, who has been appointed FEDA’s Chief Investment Officer, joined FEDA a subsidiary of Afreximbank in 2019 as a director. As a pioneer staff, he played a key role in setting up and operationalising the organization. This includes putting in place the required service infrastructure (people, processes and systems) and leading the execution of FEDA’s first four equity deals and commitments in other strategic investments and partnerships amounting to about US$300 million. In his over 15 years of private equity experience, Mr. Assiak has played active roles in raising and deploying over US$1.5 billion in funds and equity transactions.
Mr. Assiak holds a First-Class Bachelor’s degree and a Masters in Economics from the University of Cross River State and University of Lagos, Nigeria respectively. He also holds an MBA with Distinction from Manchester Business School, United Kingdom. He is a Certified Accountant and an alumnus of the Coller Institute of Private Equity, London Business School.
B.TECH, Fawry expand Partnership to avail easier access to finance for Customers
Mastercard and OPay strategic partnership to grow cashless ecosystem and advance digital financial inclusion for millions
Mastercard and fintech giant OPay today announced a strategic partnership, which marks a significant boost for wider financial inclusion and economic prosperity by opening up digital commerce to millions of people across the Middle East and Africa. The collaboration enables OPay consumers and merchants in the region – including Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa and the UAE – to engage with brands and businesses anywhere across the globe, thanks to a Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to the OPay eWallet.
This partnership is the latest milestone in Mastercard’s emerging market strategy where the technology company is collaborating with growing Fintech’s such as OPay to expand access to digital payments, enable multiple lifestyle services, create new pathways to financial inclusion and support the next generation of super-apps. Consumers are increasingly looking for seamless user experiences on a single platform offering easier interactions to complete various day-to-day needs, including sending and receiving money, ordering food and groceries, organizing transport, lending, investing and listing items they wish to sell.
In the initial phase of this partnership, OPay customers will benefit from the Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to their OPay wallets, to shop at well-known global brands for leisure, travel, accommodation, entertainment, streaming services and more. The service is available regardless of whether or not the customer has a bank account. It also allows small business owners to purchase from suppliers abroad and pay with the secure virtual payment solution.
Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President for Market Development, Mastercard EMEA, said: “At Mastercard, our innovation strategy is rooted in partnerships to support inclusion at scale. Our partnership with OPay demonstrates our commitment to supporting payments providers across the world to create an interconnected global payments ecosystem that benefits an array of consumers with unique needs.”
Yahui Zhou, CEO of OPay, said: “As the leading fintech in the Middle East and Africa, we are delighted to be partnering with Mastercard as we continue on our journey to promote financial inclusion, helping to open up the global economy to more consumers and businesses across Middle East and Africa.”
Since its operations started in 2018, OPay’s active users have grown to 15 million in dozens of markets in which it operates. The company processes millions of transactions per day on average. In Nigeria alone, where OPay takes significant market share, users have saved billions of US dollars in the last four years through credit-linked savings accounts from their mobile wallets and small loans from lenders that use its platform.
Plans are in place to launch OPay services in other markets in the next three to five years, significantly driving the growth of digital inclusion and digital commerce, while at the same time widening OPay customer inclusion into the global economy. Mastercard has made a worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses – with a focus on 25 million women entrepreneurs – into the digital economy by 2025.
OnePort 365 secures $5 million Seed Funding to Digitize Freight Management in Africa
OnePort 365 Team (Image: OnePort 365)
OnePort 365, a digital freight forwarding company that makes it easier to move cargo to, from and within Africa, has raised $5 million in seed funding to drive the end-to-end digitisation of freight management in Africa and support its expansion into new markets across the continent. The seed funding round was led by Mobility 54 (the Venture Capital arm of Toyota Tsusho and CFAO Group), with participation from SBI Investment, Flexport, ODX, a Singaporean syndicate fund and other strategic angel investors. Samurai Incubate also re-invested after participating in the previous round.
With active operations in Nigeria and Ghana, and ongoing explorations in other markets, OnePort 365 is building an operating system for cross-border trade in Africa, helping traders to manage their freight processes through a digital platform that enables seamless freight forwarding and other value-added services. With this new funding, OnePort 365 is positioned to further improve efficiency and lower overheads in cross-border trading across the continent, as well as deliver a wide range of new services that will increase profitability across the board.
Africa contributes an increasingly significant amount to global maritime trade, with a reported 12 percent of the 811 million containers handled at ports worldwide. Africa’s clearing and forwarding market is also growing, with latest figures suggesting a market size of $4.2 billion and a projected 12.5 percent growth with new services emerging. However, a wide range of challenges including congestion at ports, difficulty with accessing effective service providers and complex payment systems have resulted in increased costs, inefficiencies and many missed opportunities for traders.
With OnePort 365, traders no longer have to wait up to two weeks to compare the best rates from different service providers. With pre-negotiated rates, they can explore competitive offers on the platform and book freights in 30 seconds or less. Traders can also connect with shipping and inland transportation vendors and manage the entire process (from booking to payment) on one single platform. Traders get GPS-enabled, real-time visibility of their shipments and they can view all documents relating to the shipment via the platform, eliminating the laborious process of physically retrieving these documents from offices or shipping line centres. The platform also leverages advancements in payment technology and the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) to power instant payments.
The platform covers air freight, ocean freight, inland haulage (trucking, barge, and rail), as well as Pay-As-You-Go warehousing, marine insurance, customs brokerage and more. Since OnePort 365 started operations in 2019, it has increased the number of twenty-foot equivalent unit containers (TEUs) by 140 percent and grown its revenue by more than 420 percent.
Commenting on the new funding Hio Sola-Usidame, CEO and founder of OnePort 365 said “we are super excited to have these investors onboard to support our mission to optimize cross-border trading across the continent. With new regulations like the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement creating the potential for a new era of trade on the continent, we want to make it easier for traders to maximise the opportunity. We believe managing freights should be as easy as booking a flight or ordering a ride-hailing service and we are building the operating system to make this possible.”
Takeshi Watanabe, CEO of Mobility 54 Investment SAS said “we are delighted to support Hio and the OnePort 365 team as they embark on the journey of digitizing the end-to-end freight management process in Africa. There is great potential to unlock significant commercial opportunities across the continent by addressing the longstanding challenges that have made it difficult to move freights into and around the continent, and we are confident that OnePort 365 has what it takes to succeed.”
Rena Yoneyama, Managing Partner at Samurai Incubate Africa said, “since the first day we joined the company as an investor in 2020, we’ve believed that this team is the one that could build a cross-border trading platform tailored for the African continent. We’re very happy to back OnePort 365 again”.