(Image credit: Mbulelo Mpofana)
At the start of each year many of us take the time out for the important task of goal setting for the year. A general tip is remembering that our quality of life is not normally determined by knocking off one huge goal in a year; but by making steady progress on small, achievable goals over a long period of time. Our ambitions often include financial goals, given the impact the state of our finances has on our day to day living standards.
Common financial goals include things like:
- Becoming debt free;
- Improving credit score;
- Create and stick to a budget; and
All these goals are fantastic and can lead to a better life by increasing your disposable income and funds available for emergencies or goals, but we’d like to challenge you to include one other powerful financial goal this year-INVESTING!
Why Invest? Investing is important for several reasons, most important of which is that it builds real wealth. This is mainly due to two factors: the first being because the returns you make on your investments commonly exceeds the rate of inflation over the long term.A former American president Ronald Regan once said, “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.”
Inflation erodes the value of one’s earnings and savings over time; when your rate of return is higher than inflation it not only protects the value of your money but makes you better off financially. Added to this is the powerful effect of compound growth.
Compound growth refers to when one earns addition returns from reinvesting your prior returns i.e. making more money off the money your earned from your investments. Over the long-term compound earnings significantly increase the rate at which you can grow your asset base.
At this point I’d just add that if you have high interest rate debt, it is generally advisable to prioritize settling those debts as interest rates can be higher than the return one could earn on investments – this is usually the case, but specific circumstances need to be taken into account.
According to Old Mutual’s Long-Term Perspectives, investing in shares as an asset class has proven to be the best way to create wealth over time, as equities have consistently been amongst the best performing asset classes. Investing in equities remains the best way to build wealth and importantly ensure one reaches retirement with enough money. For example, 1 dollar invested in Berkshire Hathaway when Warren Buffett became CEO, would be worth around 7,000 dollars about 50 years later. Investing, and compounding, really are powerful when done correctly.
The main reasons people hold on to cash rather than investing in shares is the fear of losing money. This is also a key reason people stay away from investing in individual shares. Credible allegations of fraud and dishonesty by management is one of the main causes of severe irrecoverable losses in company share prices. There are many recent cases on the JSE like Steinhoff, EOH and Tongaat Hullett.
Even where a company recovers, when one factors in the value of time and opportunity cost it becomes clear that investors still lost out. Investsure’s investment insurance product protects investors from exactly these types of losses; enabling investors to transfer this hard to assess investment risk to a trusted insurer.
So there is a way for you to benefit from investing in shares without having to worry about suffering large losses due to fraud committed by management.
Good luck with your New Year’s resolutions this year and remember – Invest Safely!
By Mbulelo Mpofana, Co-Founder of Investure
Zapper is disrupting card-based payments and loyalty
Zapper is driving ambitious change in payments and loyalty currently dominated by card-based systems.
We have restructured our business to focus on building our platform, to scale our footprint and expand our strategic partner networks.
We have a suite of low cost, deeply integrated QR payment and loyalty solutions for any industry, including restaurants and hospitality, fuel and convenience, parking and retail, e-commerce and more.
Our aim is to drive the adoption of lower-cost, simpler and more integrated mobile solutions, with in-depth customer insights, to ultimately replace traditional outdated card-based payment and loyalty systems, irrespective of device, operating system or financial institution.
We also offer a robust suite of developer APIs for partners to white-label Zapper services and integrate them into their branded apps and systems.
Popular technologies such as ‘tap-and-go’ are convenient; however, they only address the payment component of the consumer journey, the equivalent of anonymous cash or card payments. The merchant remains blind to who their customers are and in order for consumers to earn loyalty points or qualify for discounts, they are required to present some form of identity – in most cases one of a myriad of plastic store cards – in addition to their payment method. This is an unnecessarily ‘clunky’ and sub-optimal customer experience.
Zapper provides a truly convenient mobile experience. Just scan and pay. Loyalty points are accrued and discounts deducted, in real-time. Simple.
Credit: Brett White
Mangwee: Our Story
Mangwee is a mobile money transfer platform aimed at increasing the rate of financial inclusion especially in rural areas and propelling Zambia and Africa to cash-light economies this is done through the provision of an easy secure and affordable payment platform. The Mangwee platform is not just a mobile money transfer platform but an ecosystem of applications aimed at making people’s lives easy. We have an assortment of innovative applications targeted at improving the lives of the Women, Farmers, Youths and people who are excluded from accessing financial products and services.
Launched in May 2018 after being issued with a designation license by the Central Bank of Zambia, Mangwee provides a range of services including online payment gateways, bill payments, and mobile money services. Mangwee Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder Inonge Imasiku Kampamba started Mangwee with two other Cofounders with a vision for the unbanked to provide them with a quality payment system that is secure and affordable.
Mangwee promotes the use of user-to-user transfers, which it hopes will increase the adoption of mobile money in Zambia. To date Mangwee has registered over 2000 users and has recruited 36 agents who are operating around Zambia. Mangwee charges a fee for every transaction processed on the platform and agents earn a commission for every transaction they successfully process on the platform.
Over two years Mangwee has been in operation, Mangwee payments has gained local and global recognition as a disruptor of electronic payments. The Zambian startup was selected to represent the country at the Women In Africa (WIA) 54 Project Third Annual Summit Edition, which took place in Marrakech on 27th and 28th June 2019 led by the Startup CEO Inonge Imasiku Kampamba.
Currently Mangwee has a women empowerment programme dedicated to empowering women especially in rural communities giving them access to finance and tools to help them set up their businesses. In November 2019 Mangwee signed a partnership with an NGO based in France and Benin called Hirondelle de l’Avenir to pilot a Women Empowerment Program in Zambia which will also be implemented in Benin. The project is justified by the fact that the majority of women are excluded financially because they lack collateral and stable sources of income.
In January 2020, Mangwee was among five Zambian startups that were selected to take part in the FinTech4U Accelerator Programme, which offers prototype funding and access to mentors and business support.
The progarmme was launched via a partnership between the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and Lusaka-based incubator BongoHive. The six-month programme, is broken up into three months of dedicated programme and three more of business support and prototype funding.
Mangwee currently has a team of five employees who are professionally qualified in Finance, accounting, information technology, business development and marketing.
2020: Paxful, A Global Crypto Giant Sets Top 3 Priorities For Africa
Paxful Co-Founders, Artur Schabak & Ray Youssef (Source: Paxful)
By almost every metric, Africa has been central to the Paxful story; company shares about their top 3 priorities for Africa
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa- Global peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin marketplace, Paxful, believes that the world has much to learn from Africa about the future of the crypto-economy and that 2020 will be a landmark year for the African crypto and blockchain industry.
With millions of users globally and Africa being the fastest-growing region, Paxful reported that the company processed almost $1.6 billion (R23 billion) in trade volume globally in 2019; the result of a steady increase of 25%+ trade volume growth year-on-year on the platform since the business’ inception in 2015. Paxful currently hosts over three million wallets, 45% of which are from Africa.
Deepen our relationship with our African users
While the peer-to-peer marketplace has enjoyed tremendous success on the continent, the company is not complacent. Paxful leadership intends to spend a lot more time in Africa over the next few years. The aim is to continue to learn from its customers and provide them with the best possible peer-to-peer finance marketplace.
With Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya already among the leading markets, the company also expects to extend its customer base in many more markets where it is seeing a steady increase in trading volumes on the continent like Zambia and Uganda. African trading volume on the Paxful platform grew by over 57% in 2019 and the company hopes to accelerate trading volumes further this year.
Reflecting on the rapid growth of the blockchain and bitcoin sector, research from the professional networking platform Linkedin shows that blockchain tops the list of most in-demand hard skills for 2020. For this reason, another important consideration for Paxful is engaging talent in Africa. The company believes that Africa can become a leader in bitcoin skills development. Paxful hopes to expand African participation in the company’s Global Peer Programme – an initiative to encourage bitcoin users around the world to educate each other about the opportunities offered by the crypto-economy.
“We are very, very bullish on Africa and believe it is critical to the future of the crypto-economy overall. While many parts of the developed world are fixated on speculative activity in the crypto economy, people in Africa are teaching us about the true use cases of bitcoin and the opportunity it presents for greater financial inclusion of the under-banked. As a company, we want to do what we can to ensure that our platform continues to be a bridge to the global economy for our customers” Says Artur Schaback, Co-Founder and COO of Paxful.
In December 2019, Paxful and Binance, the leading global cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume and users, announced its strategic partnership in which Paxful serves as a fiat-to-cryptocurrency on-ramp for Binance, providing numerous payment methods for purchasing Bitcoin to Binance’s global user base.
Paxful has also partnered with many other strategic players in the crypto economy – including the likes of BitMart, BSpin, AirTM, and CoinLogiq – who offer a variety of complementary services to make it as possible for its users to take advantage of the power of P2P finance. Paxful hopes to work with African partners as well.
“Africa has tremendous potential and partnerships are essential in this pivotal time within the cryptocurrency industry. We are actively looking to join forces with African-born crypto players who share our passion and vision for the global crypto-economy and to join our efforts in bringing bitcoin to the unbanked masses across the continent to fundamentally help alleviate poverty, boost economies and create jobs,” says Ray Youssef, CEO and co-founder of Paxful.
Making education and social good a priority
“With bitcoin’s original mission of financial inclusion in mind, Paxful is committed to reaching as many people as possible to help them better understand the opportunities presented by the crypto-economy. With this in mind, education and social development will always be a priority for Paxful,” adds Youssef.
Last year, Paxful undertook an education drive focused on Universities. Beginning with Universities in East and Southern Africa, the initiative has reached over 1000 youths. The education workshops provided key, practical insights to the true use cases of Bitcoin, how to avoid falling prey to bad actors in the crypto-space and served to counter the over-emphasis on Bitcoin speculation. This type of education will continue to reach the youth.
In the same year, the company also launched the aforementioned Paxful Peer Program, a platform encouraging users to educate and support each other as they navigate the bitcoin-economy. The Peer Program was trialed in South Africa and has been extended to include many other markets on the continent and Asia.
To support grassroots education, Paxful will continue to invest in its #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative which has demonstrated how the cryptocurrency community can contribute to social good. Established in 2017, the initiative had raised over R3 million for charities across Africa and the Middle East by 2019.
In January 2020, the company announced that they will be building a third school in its 100-school initiative to bring quality education centers to emerging countries throughout Africa. The third school, which will come fully equipped with a state-of-the-art water well system, will be built in Machakos County, Kenya for children ages 3-6 years old and will kick off with over R400,000 donation from Paxful. The first 2 schools were built in Rwanda.