African fintech Paycode on a winning streak
Biometric identity and digital payments fintech, Paycode, has been selected as one of the Top 4 Finalists in the Women’s World Banking Fintech Innovation Challenge and will be competing live at the 2023 Making Finance Work for Women Summit in Mumbai in May. Selected from a pool of 98 highly qualified applicants across 34 countries, Paycode were judged based on rigorous criteria by an expert Advisory Committee that evaluated several factors, including product innovation, gender inclusivity, financial viability, scale potential, team experience and diversity.
Speaking about the Challenge, Marina Dimova, Global Head of Financial Industry and Network Advocacy for Women’s World Banking said, “Fintech founders develop new solutions when they see an unmet need or an underserved community, and low-income women are absolutely an underserved community. By calling on fintech innovators from around the world and inviting them to present their best ideas at the Fintech Innovation Challenge, we aim to advance women’s financial inclusion and scale growth. We look forward to seeing our finalists presenting their exciting solutions live in India this May, bringing us closer to achieving an inclusive economy for all.”
The announcement builds on Paycode’s winning streak which started in May 2022 in Mozambique after winning the Mondato Award for Digital Finance Innovation. This was followed by the UK-based Payments Association Pay360 Award where Paycode won Best Financial Inclusion Payments Initiative. Paycode was then named 2nd Runner Up in the Ecobank Fintech Challenge in October 2022 in Togo and a Top 10 Semifinalist in the Women’s World Banking Fintech Innovation Challenge in December.
The common theme across all the competitions was the need for robust financial inclusion solutions that serve people living in deep rural areas. In Africa alone, almost one billion people cannot access basic financial services due to lack of identity, lack of connectivity, and high fees. Paycode’s biometric identity and digital payments solution works offline in real-time, overcoming these barriers to financial inclusion.
Paycode CEO, Gabe Ruhan, commented, “Paycode is delighted to be a Finalist in the Women’s World Banking Fintech Innovation Challenge and we look forward to presenting our solution to the judges at the Making Finance Work for Women Summit in Mumbai later this year. We are proud to be recognised as a leading fintech in Africa, and we look forward to building on our success to drive financial inclusion for millions through our world-class digital identity and payments solution.”
Telkom Partners with Clickatell to Launch Mobile Messaging Payments in South Africa
Telkom, South Africa’s largest integrated communications company has partnered with Clickatell, the Chat Commerce and business messaging leader to launched their Chat 2 Pay feature. Telkom’s millions of customers can now make payments in WhatsApp, the country’s largest chat channel. Responding to the growing demand for fast, digital, self-help services, Telkom now deploys to its customers the Chat 2 Pay pay-by-link capability in WhatsApp, providing them with the convenience of safe and effortless mobile payments. Telkom post-paid and prepaid customers can pay their phone and xDSL/fibre bills, and buy airtime, data and SMS bundles by simply sending “Hi” on WhatsApp to 0811 601 700.
Currently, Telkom’s chatbot offers customers mobile support by accessing their accounts and billing information, plus allows them to view sales deals, check for mobile or fibre upgrades, do cancellations, make directory inquiries and more. With the addition of Chat 2 Pay, customers benefit from a convenient and personalized service to pay bills and VAS top-ups via Mastercard and Visa debit and credit cards.
“User behaviour has shifted, and organizations are relying more and more on digital channels for revenue generation. But, asking customers to make payments through a different channel creates a break in the customer journey and challenges companies to convert sales,” said Werner Lindemann, Clickatell’s Senior Vice President Enterprise Sales, Growth Markets. “Payments in chat give telcos the tools they need to help their customers complete payments simply and safely in the channel they already know and trust, significantly boosting customer experience and revenue.”
With Chat 2 Pay, the payment process is exceptionally simple. Telkom customers can transact by simply making a menu selection to trigger a payment request. A link is then sent to the customer in a WhatsApp message. When they click on the link, they access a fully hosted checkout page. The customer then can securely enter payment details and submit, receiving a confirmation of the payment and receipt in a chat message.
“Telkom continues to look at ways to advance our customers’ digital experiences, and our digital channels are core for future delivery,” said Gugu Mthembu, CMO at Telkom. “Chat 2 Pay helps us optimize our payment channels and payment collection. What’s more, the ease of and availability of VAS services is expected to further boost revenue opportunities.”
“With 93% of conversations transpiring on Clickatell’s Chat Commerce Platform and ending in a transaction, Chat Commerce, including Chat 2 Pay, is especially relevant for telcos that are looking for new revenue channels and better efficiencies. Chat Commerce doesn’t just respond to your customers’ needs, it fulfills many of your shareholders’ needs too,” said Lindemann.
Fawry partners with My Fatoorah to provide FawryPay reference code service
Fawry, the leading company in the field of banking technology and electronic payments, celebrated the signing of a cooperation agreement with ‘My Fatoorah’, the leading provider of online payment services in the GCC region, in order to provide FawryPay reference code service for My Fatoorah‘s customers and merchants in the Egyptian market. The agreement was signed in the presence of Mr. Bassem Lotfy, Head of Acceptance at ‘Fawry’, and Bola Saad, ‘My Fatoorah’ Country Manager.
The cooperation comes in light of the increasing demand in the Egyptian market among users towards electronic payment solutions and options, which have become an integral part of citizens’ lives, coinciding with the digital transformation and financial inclusion that the world is witnessing in the recent period, as well as merchants’ awareness of the need to enhance their electronic services to customers.
‘Fawry’ works to support and enhance the operations of electronic payment companies that seek to enter the payments market in Egypt. It also works hand in hand with regional investments towards advancing the economy, in addition to Fawry’s continuous efforts towards supporting and enhancing the payments market through an innovative and new package in the field of banking technology and high-level technologies in the field of electronic payment, which would develop the digital economy.
Bassem Lotfy, Head of Acceptance at Fawry, said: “We are very pleased to cooperate with ‘My Fatoorah’, as it specializes in providing a wide range of electronic payment solutions at the regional level, which in turn will enrich the payments market with many advanced services and technologies in terms of digital payment solutions”. He also indicated that this cooperation confirms Fawry’s interest in supporting and developing companies in order to advance the digital payments market”.
Bola Saad, My Fatoorah Country Manager, said: “Based on its leading role in the field of banking services and financial technology, we chose ‘Fawry’ to use one of their distinguished services by paying via FawryPay reference code, which makes it easier for merchants and the public to have multiple payment options suitable for all categories.
He added: ” Therefore, our partnership today represents an exceptional opportunity to support and accelerate the growth of all our businesses in the Egyptian payments market, especially since’ Fawry’ has a wide spread in the Egyptian market.
LEAP23 Becomes World’s Most Attended Global Tech Event
LEAP23 has shattered benchmarks once again after confirming 172,000 attendees this year, making it the world’s largest technology event by attendance. Organisers of Saudi Arabia’s LEAP – the world’s most visionary, and now most attended, technology event have revealed next year’s edition, which will run from March 4-7, will move to a new home to ensure the pioneering platform continues to accelerate the Kingdom’s digital transformation.
After two game-changing outings, LEAP24 will transition to a 120,000 square metre capacity venue next year, enabling the third event to double in floor size and cater for even more innovative future technologies, digital entrepreneurs, tech startups, and high-profile guest speakers.
Powered by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in conjunction with Tahaluf – a strategic joint venture co-owned by Informa PLC and SAFCSP – LEAP’s expanded new venue will further enhance the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s position as the largest digital market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
“Momentum continues to go into orbit. In its first edition, LEAP22 enjoyed the largest debut of any technology event in history. In its second year, LEAP23 has rewritten the rule book once more to become the world’s largest technology sector event by attendance,” said Michael Champion, who heads Tahaluf, organisers of LEAP.
A core enabler in Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030, the four-day LEAP23 saw an unprecedented 300,000-plus visitor registrations from more than 100 countries, and welcomed a high-profile faculty of 1,000 global investors – up from 350 last year. Comprising major investor groups, sovereign wealth funds, private family groups, as well as major venture capital and private equity funds focused on technology, LEAP23’s investor faculty boasted assets under management totalling US$2 trillion.
With on-event transactions exceeding US$9 billion – a 32 per cent year-on-year increase on the US$6.8 billion in deals announced in 2022 – LEAP23 has injected fresh foreign direct investment impetus into Saudi Arabia’s rapidly evolving digital ecosystems and startup economy. Major announcements this year have included mega infrastructure investments and multiple new data centres nationwide, a raft of billion-dollar-plus public-private partnerships, and new academies to foster and upskill homegrown talent.
During the closing remarks of LEAP23, Champion added: “There is no limit to the ambition of this event, or this nation. While the on-event investment announcements are truly unprecedented, the legacy of this year’s show will extend further and deeper than anyone can truly comprehend.
“There are 380,000 technology professionals currently working in Silicon Valley – the world’s tech capital – and there are 340,000 employed in Saudi’s technology industry. We are still only seeing the tip of the iceberg and when we consider that technology investment, adoption, innovation, and entrepreneurship are key pillars in the Kingdom’s ambitious economic diversification strategy, the potential for LEAP to power Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation and galvanise growth across the international technology arena is unlimited.”