The current COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need to embrace innovation NOW in order to create durable systems that can withstand future pandemics . The only certainty is the world post covid19 would be different from what we left behind.
In the Fintech world where Pezesha operates, COVID-19 crisis has impacted SMEs ability to access capital. Borrower’s ability to pay has been severely impacted by lockdowns, curfew and proximity-based restrictions notwithstanding the measures Pezesha is taking to support the underserved SMEs during this time. To alleviate these impact on the most vulnerable businesses and communities, in addition to strengthening the overall economy, data accessibility and mobility has to be prioritized.
The current pandemic has accelerated the need for digital channels. Instead of a customer going to a local bank branch they can instead access financial services from online or mobile banking. Instead of waiting for a collections or customer service agent to call to remind customers of their loan repayment due date, they can get an automated AI driven bot notifying them on their due date 2 days in advance.
In Kenya, some news channels announced the temporarily closure of bank branches in an effort to curtail the spread of Covid19. Some other news channels have asked how fiscal stimulus programs will reach the most vulnerable. To answer these questions brings into focus digital mobility, digital accessibility, which would be powered by an open banking infrastructure.
The premise of open banking involves standardizing data and systems, ensuring their mobility and interoperability and making them available to third parties. This makes it possible for financial institutions to expand their addressable market, achieve product diversity, personalization, real time KYC and commercialize core systems.
Below is a summary of what Hilda Morara, the founder and CEO at PataScore believe will drive a successful open banking and API economy.
1. The future is choice, affordability and convenience
Her 18 year old cousin, still has to go to the bank to fill in forms in order to open a bank account. She however has delayed this process because of the current COVID situation and the need for social distancing. With open banking capabilities, and from the comfort of her home, she would be able to open a bank account, deposit money and start transacting immediately. 75% of Kenya’s population are youths who are looking for choice, affordability and convenience at their doorstep.
Providing mobile solutions and digital on-boarding for new account holders needs to be the norm as Cash and ATMs have become a casualty of covid-19 and we are now seeing an upwards trend towards digital currency through mobile money driven by M-pesa who have gone a step further to waive transaction fees in wake of coronavirus.
2. Financial literacy to optimise the value of open banking and API economy
This entails educating the customers on transparency of pricing, availability of services terms and conditions. Financial literacy in the end will also drive financial health and prosperity for customers. During this period, financial education value add is needed more than ever to reduce debt stress and debt traps and promote financial wellbeing for life.
Pezesha recently launched FREE open financial education chatbot APIs, which financial institutions can leverage to build their own personalized inductive content and reach their existing customers to educate and retain them with the hope that their personal financial health and financial position will turn out much stronger post COVID-19 and customers will now make better informed financial decisions.
3. Data aggregation and ownership will be key
DATA is the new currency for consumers and financial institutions. On one hand, customers need to own and have control of their data and ability to give consent rights on who, why, what, when and how their data should be accessed at any given point during a credit decision at the same time understand the value of their data. On the other hand, financial institutions have access to complete data sets (instead of scraping off from SMSes) to ensure accurate understanding of holistic customers behaviour and build superior credit scoring models.
For example Patascore is playing a pivotal role by providing enabling assets and an API infrastructure that unifies all data analytics and help drive interoperability across the board.
- Patascore as an enabling assets: provides digital identity, consent management, financial literacy layer, access management and data analytics
- Patascore as an API infrastructure: provides complete and centralised mobile money APIs, 3rd parties data APIs, extractions APIs and ability to integrate with banks and other apps.
Around the world, organisations are entering into agreements to share financial data through channels including APIs, for instance in the case of Visa acquisition of Plaid. As the world continues to evolve and payments become increasingly digital and mobile, consumer yearns for the flexibility, convenience, and simplicity that they have come to see as usual, for their financial services.
As Fintechs in Kenya continue to explore ways to ensure they survive the current pandemic and unforeseeable regulatory directives, it’s imperative that innovation will be inexorable. It is apparent that without the standard data APIs to better understand customer behaviour and their holistic credit scores, will continue to hinder the growth and long term win of Fintechs during and post COVID-19 period and by extension financial inclusion to ensure no one is left behind.
4. Collaboration, Agility and Regulation
In the end, for the API economy to succeed, there is an urgent need for consolidation and collaboration from banks and Fintechs to bring to reality, what we envisioned as the future innovation in financial services. The future is NOW as the world is already moving in the direction of open banking.
Now, is the time for financial institutions and governments to show their agility and quickly implement digital solutions to meet people’s needs and allow for distribution of wealth to vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19. The firms who have shown willingness to collaborate already have a leg up on their competitors when it comes to competitive pricing, alternative wider data sources and deeper customer understanding.
To catapult sanity in open banking solutions, regulation will be key to help streamline data sharing approaches by providing guidance and policies on how data can be accessed, retrieved, ingested and shared in a standard format while ensuring consumer protection at all times as open banking comes with risks of cyber security, information security, data protection, data privacy and system risks among others.
As a result of the rapid growth in mobile penetration and mobile money economy driving digital transformation in Africa, then open banking opportunities and case studies is just a matter of time.
Thabo Mashegoane Appointed As Chairman of the Africa ICT Alliance (AfICTA)
The President and Board Chairperson of the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA), Thabo Mashegoane, has been elected as Chairman of the Africa ICT Alliance (AfICTA).
Formerly the Vice-Chairman of AfICTA, he succeeds Engr. Hossam Elgamal from Egypt to become the third Chairman. AfICTA, a private sector-led alliance of ICT Associations, multinational corporations, companies, organisations and individuals in the ICT sector in Africa, aims to fulfil the promise of the digital age for everyone in Africa by encouraging dialogue and fostering ICT enabled development.
During an electronic election at the AfICTA Annual General Meeting on 25 November, Mashegoane was elected chair, while IITPSA Past President and Non-Executive Director Ulandi Exner was also elected AfICTA Vice-Chair for Southern Africa.
The election named the following board members and officers: Paul Rowney, Deputy Chair; Opeyemi Onifade, Treasurer; Dr. Waudo Siganga, Vice-Chair for East Africa; Engr. Assem Wahby, Vice-Chair, North Africa; Adetola Sogbesan, Vice-Chair, West Africa; and Eric Sindeu, Vice-Chair, Central Africa.
Thanking his predecessors for their service and leadership in the Alliance to date, Mashegoane noted that AfICTA was an organisation with a vast network, impact on critical policies, and reputation that took years and hard work to build. “Mine is to take the baton and continue where the honourable Engr. Hossam Elgamal has taken this organisation to. Of importance is the platform to enable African countries to collaborate and share best practices and lessons learnt with an objective of not leaving anyone behind in development. This is a vision we will continue to uphold. We stand in a critical position to influence attainment of Sustainable Development Goals 2030 through ICT.”
Speaking after the election, Mashegoane said digital inclusion and ICT-enabled development was also a key mission for the IITPSA in South Africa. “The IITPSA shares the vision and ethos of AfICTA. IITPSA has also stated that we need to step up efforts to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which, among other things, seeks to bridge the digital divide and harness technology to address major global challenges such as poverty, climate change and conflict, we need to work harder. At IITPSA, we believe this means we have to collaborate across industries, across countries, to deploy the benefits of ICTs for the good of all,” he said.
Baller Syndicate: Building Europe’s First Elite Athlete Angel Syndicate
Baller Syndate Founders – Koen Bosma (r) and Jason Esseboom (l) (Source: Baller Syndicate)
Baller Syndicate is an exclusive network of elite athletes that are looking to get into entrepreneurship and investing. An initiative by Koen Bosma and Jason Esseboom, two former athletes who were better at startups, than playing football. They played together in a youth academy and crossed paths in the world of startups and innovation. Koen and Jason share a passion for sports, entrepreneurship, and investments.
Over the past few years, they have worked with hundreds of startups and invested in 20+. Most of those startups are trying to break into the sports-, health-, and entertainment industry. During this time, Koen and Jason had the privilege of working closely with founders, which gave them great insights but also a first-row seat to startups’ biggest pain point.
Startups in the sports-, health, and entertainment industry have a disproportionate mismatch with angels that can truly accelerate their journey, compared to startups in other industries.
When Koen and Jason looked closely, they spotted a trend in the USA of elite athletes making tech investments cool and accessible to the world. Athletes like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Serena Williams are building their own family offices, venture funds, becoming LP’s or doing direct or syndicated angel investments. So they asked themselves the question: why is this not happening in Europe?
This led to starting Baller Syndicate.
What Baller Syndicate do
“Our vision is to unlock athletes’ capabilities as accelerators for the growth of startups. When we started having conversations with active-, and retired athletes about their post-career activities, we truly learned a lot. Simply mentioning the term “investment” to an athlete in Europe turns all signals to red and makes their alarm bells go off! We could hear them thinking: “are these guys trying to take my money!?” said Jason Esseboom.
“The interesting thing, however, was that when we took the conversations a layer deeper, we learned athletes actually get approached for investment opportunities quite regularly, but always ‘through a guy’. When athletes don’t totally understand the concept, the default is to rely on someone they trust.” Jason Esseboom.
We learned that athletes “solve” their lack of knowledge about investment opportunities by putting their trust in a person they know well.
Baller Syndicate goal is to decrease the knowledge gap by educating athletes with understandable content. Education is liberation and that’s how they will help athletes change the narrative!
How does our education work?
I’ll break that question into three pieces. There is so much good content out there, that navigating it can be tough, or even overwhelming. Our vision towards education is to aggregate the most relevant content and translate it into a language athletes understand. We don’t see ourselves as professors but as translators.
Our first approach is to make an online course with actionable and engaging videos. This is the theory part. Secondly, we interview athletes that are active in entrepreneurship or investing to provide valuable case studies for athletes that are new to it. Everything is online, so the athletes determine when and where they want to learn. Of course, we dream of a big live event where we connect the worlds of startups and athlete investors, but that’s not happening in a world governed by a pandemic.
The last point is that we are lean startup evangelists at our core. We start our educational program with selected athletes and truly learn if our translations resonate with them. Starting with a small group and learning where we need to improve so we can move forward.
In our education, we have three principles:
- We skip jargon or break it down
- We logically structure content, tested by elite athletes
- We facilitate group learning through our community
We believe this structure puts athletes at an advantage to learn how they can make independent investment decisions.
When ask how they make money from Baller Syndicate. Jason responded by saying… “Right now, we don’t… We invest our time and money to make Baller Syndicate into something valuable for athletes and startups. The sportstech ecosystem really needs to grow, and we believe we need to give first, and hopefully get something in return later. Baller Syndicate is our way of building the sportstech ecosystem. Our educational platform will run as a foundation, where athletes are required to pay a small fee as a yearly contribution. Secondly, we are attracting corporate sponsors that have a similar vision as ours, to pitch in a bit.”
For the athletes that have learned they want to go start with tech investments, Baller Syndicate operate as a typical angel syndicate. Their business model is based on carried interest, which means they only make a buck when their athletes are making profits. But they have some strict “rules” for their members to start with tech investments.
If the athletes don’t know how to activate an investment, there is just waste. So before any tech investment is considered through the Baller Syndicate platform, they ask these five questions below:
- Does the startup have something special that fits the profile of our members?
- Can we add value beyond money (and the obvious Twitter post)
- Are multiple athletes on board?
- Do the interested athletes know they need to create a balanced portfolio of startups, and not ‘bet’ on 1 or 2
- Is there a lead investor (in case of large investment rounds)
According to Jason, there are a ton of other factors to consider, but these are key questions we ask to help elite athletes de-risk their startup investments. Our goal for 2020 is simple too. They are building our educational content and testing it with a selected group of 10 athletes. Primarily footballers, but also professional golf- and tennis players.
“Building this syndicate is as tough as it gets, but we are up for the challenge. Motivated to the core on the big vision we have: unlocking athlete potential as accelerators for startups’ growth.” said Jason Esseboom.
Visit Baller Syndicate
Legacy Global Summit 2020: Positioning Africa for profitable partnerships
The premiere edition of the Legacy Global Summit organised by Legacy Premier Foundation held on the 5th and 6th of November 2020. The virtual event hosted business leaders, investors, educators and distinguished men and women from different sectors and works of life as they shared practical insights on several topics.
The conference, through panel discussions and plenary sessions, focused on nurturing and strengthening long term business relationships between US and Africa, opening up channels of sustainable business opportunities, supporting growing African businesses, fostering mutual business interests, and building a formidable ecosystem of trade and investment, that will enhance ease of doing business between the United States and Africa.
Day 1, Thursday 5th Nov. 2020
The event kicked off with the opening remark by Dr. Remi Duyile, Founder of the Legacy Premier Foundation and the convener of the conference. She stated the importance of intergenerational collaboration and partnership and how the future of Africa must be preserved. She spoke about her faith in the future of Africa and highlighted the possibilities of greater outcomes as regards to trade and investment in Africa.
Special remarks to the six continent participants was followed by John C. Wobensmith, Secretary of State of Maryland , USA
The opening remark was followed with a brief orientation of the virtual teleconferencing platform by Dr Wendy Brisley Executive Director of M3Linked , and a SUPER networking session by Dr. Richard Kaye from CEO space International.
Brian Castleberry, the Regional Manager – Middle East, Africa & India Office of International Investment and Trade moderated the first panel session titled “Doing Business In The UAE” which had business personalities from Dubai – Sheikha Abdulla AlNuaimi, Executive Director of Marketing and Sales Ajman Free Trade Zone UAE and Arshi Zaveri, CEO TrustwithTrade Group as panelists.
They highlighted the possibilities of doing business in the UAE and also mentioned that there are no barriers to foreign investments from diverse sectors. Sheikha Abdulla AlNuaimi pointed out that the creation of the free trade zone has become one of the biggest drivers for business growth in the UAE. In response to the question of gender inclusion in the business community of the UAE, Arshi Zaveri stated that the leadership of the UAE has ensured that women-owned businesses are supported and women are welcomed even in executive positions.
The second panel session ‘Access to capital’ was moderated by Jeannine Scott, the Founder and Principal of America to Africa Consulting, LLC (A2A). The panelists were: Alan Beard, Roshanda Johnson – Business Development Specialist US International Development Finance Corporation Brian Castleberry, Nicole Woods – Business Development Expert Export-Import Bank of the United States and Femi Akinrebiyo – Global Manager, Upstream manufacturing Agribusiness and services IFC
The discussion was centered around the issues faced by SMEs as regards getting capital for their business or projects.The essence of capacity building for business owners was also discussed in order for businesses to measure up to the requirements of financing institutions.
One of the panelists, Alan Beard, from Interlinks spoke about how important it is for business owners to have high quality financial statements before seeking capital.
Femi Akinrebiyo, global manager IFC enjoined entrepreneurs to know where to go in order to get capital or funds. He mentioned that every financial Institution has specifics, as regards what kind of idea or project they invest in.
Nicole Woods, a business development expert spoke about the role relationships and partnerships play in giving entrepreneurs access to real opportunities. She advised business owners to have a good plan and strategy before meeting with any investor or financial institution.
Rashanda Johnson from DFC stated the willingness of the dfc towards entrepreneurs to scale their business or project.
Jeannine Scott concluded by saying that the ability to be flexible and to move quickly is very important for business success.
The third panel, titled ‘Doing Business in Africa’ was moderated by the Chief Commercial Officer of Mixta Africa, Rolake Akinugbe-Filani. The panelists included: Dipo Adesina, Dr. Olawanle Akinboboye, Esther Dassanou, Hon. Idris Mohammad, and Gregory Simpkins.
The discussion centered on the importance of good government policies and how it affects the flow of business transactions. Each speaker shared their thoughts on the question asked – ‘Is Africa still a choice destination for doing business?’
Esther Dassanou highlighted the fact that Africa has the largest percentage of women entrepreneurs and business owners and she believes Africa is still a choice destination for doing business with opportunities, waiting to be explored.
Dipo Adesina, a serial entrepreneur envisaged the population strength of Africa (which is 1.2 billion people) as a pointer that Africa is still a choice destination for business. He also mentioned that entrepreneurs must continue to look at which continent is constantly growing in population so as to understand where to invest.
Dr. Akinboboye, a business leader in the tourism industry took a step by step approach to highlight the fact that Africa has a 30.2 million square kilometer area with a population of 1.2 billion people.He made his point clear that with all Africa has, Africa is still a choice destination for doing business.
Gregory Simpkins also shared insights on the goal of AGOA to increase Intra-Africa trade, and connect business people together. He mentioned that one of the benefits was the creation of scale.
In between the panelists were standalone global impact thought leaders and influencers such as Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao , Max Sutherland and Delegate Darryl Barnes who spoke and moved people to action.
The “Public-private-partnership: A Fundamental Key To Developmental Growth” panel session engaged participants and co-speakers on the wide range of discussions, from international public-private partnerships to foreign investments in the African continent. Moderated by Shavon Smith, Principal, the SJS Law Firm, the session was an eye-opener to foreign partnerships and global business opportunities available for African business owners, as well as possible limitations. The panelist drove their points home by highlighting a few key factors influencing the Public-private-partnership ecosystem globally, amongst which are local and international policies, leadership, market accessibility, local talent and public perception.
Special remarks were also made by the State Attorney for Prince George’s County, Aisha N. Braveboy, the U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, Congressman Anthony Brown and Honorable Darryl Barnes, the Representative of the 25th Legislative District in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Friday, 6th November 2020
The second day of the event kicked off with a presentation on ‘Sustainable Ecosystem for African businesses’ by Guest Speaker Otunba Bimbola Ashiru, former Commissioner of Commerce and Industry and Director of O’DUA Investment Company Limited
He highlighted the potentials of the African market and laid emphasis on the fact that Africa is recognized as the next business hub waiting to be harnessed. “A bright light shines on the African tech ecosystem” said Otunba Bimbola.
The event continued with a Guest session anchored by as Dr Menna Demessie who spoke on the topic “Leveraging Policy and Policymakers for International Trade Relations”. Dr Menna extensively impressed the need for business owners, particularly the locals to get accustomed to the policies and laws – local, state, federal and international – that would help facilitate ease of doing business.
Hon. Aisha Braveboy
Honorable Aisha Braveboy, earlier in the event, gave a special remark acknowledging the great work done by Dr Remi Duyile, the convener of the program. She expressed in joy in the vision of the Summit, wholeheartedly, and appreciated the Speakers and participants who availed themselves on that day. Honorable Aisha also anchored the graduation ceremony of the HERISE Global Internship program.
The first panel for the day came up shortly after Dr Menna’s session. Tagged “Going Global: Understanding International Trade and Development,” the session featured Global thought leaders from various works of life namely; Tisa Clark, President, J.D. Clark Professional Services, L.L.C. (JD Clark); Don Williams, President and CEO of Princeton Healthcare International; Dr Kamaladevi Baskaran, Head of Industry Relations & Faculty, Department of Management & Commerce, Amity University, Dubai; Denise Cortês-Keyser, Entrepreneur, Motivational speaker, Finance and Investments Adviser Founder, DCK GLOBAL. Dr Kavita Kapur, an Assistant Professor at the College of Business, Bowie State University moderated the session.
The panel discussions was deeply engaging, as conversations centered on cross-disciplinary collaborations and partnerships, exploring global talent exchange, international trade processes and attracting the right investments/investors.
Mrs Toyin Sanni, CEO, Emerging Africa Capital spoke on the “Women Empowerment through Trade and Investment” She approached the topic keenly from her experience as a Financial Markets Expert and Gender Leader. Mrs Toyin, during her session, highlighted the importance of creating opportunities for women, as they are responsible to many grass root business establishments on the African continent. She went further to propose key solutions that could help promote gender empowerment and parity across the continent. Education, easy access to funding, and promotion of gender equality were some of the key solutions she mentioned, with the promotion of gender equality on the very top of that list.
Afterwards, Denise Cortês-Keyser gave an expose on The African Union’s African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) uncovering key details on the scope of the agreement. She touched on historical data, the vision of the trade agreement which is to allow free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent; and the current number of countries who have both signed and approved ratification of the AfCFTA Agreement – which currently stands at 30 countries, as at the time of her session. Denise stated 2 major issues posing as bulwarks to the AFCFTA. Issues such as unified trade policies and markets, cultural gaps, and manufacturing pose a great challenge to the implementation of the agreement. She further suggested seven namely: trade finance, trade facilitation, and trade policy, trade related infrastructure, trade information, productive capacities, and a factor market integration.
Victory Oluwasegun, CIO of Jamborow and COO/Co-founder of SpringPort Technologies moderated the next panel session ‘Generational Bridge-Building for Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs’ with panel members: Josephine Agbeko, Dayo Israel and Lara Abiona.
They addressed critical issues that stand as barriers between different generations. They highlighted the fact that all generations have something to offer and more would be achieved if each generation can leverage their strengths, and collaborate instead of compete.
In response to a question on the challenges of intergenerational gap, Josephine Agbeko described the younger generation as a set of people who will always ask “why” and sometimes such characteristics might be in contrast with the perception and attitude of the older generation and vice versa. She affirmed the importance of collaboration between generations. Lara Abiona also affirmed that the younger generation are willing to provide answers for their future. Victory Oluwasegun chimed in with the phrase ‘In the long run it’s not what we do that matters but why’.
The ‘Diplomatic Round table session’ followed immediately, anchored by Dr. Lawrence Mcneil the Dean of Bowie University. The panel members were Lawrence Manzi, Amb. Pradeep K Kapur, and Kayode Alabi.
Amb. Kapur, while speaking on trade and investment stated the impact Africans in Diaspora can have on Africa if they decide to build and invest in Africa. He acknowledged the achievements of Africans in Diaspora in different sectors and suggested that it’s important that Africans in Diaspora begin to create a legacy in Africa as their heritage.
Also Mr. Lawrence Manzi highlighted 3 pillars responsible for the growth of Rwanda – Unity as a people, Accountability and thinking big.
Mr. Kayode talked about the efforts made by the Kwara State Government in Nigeria as regards trade and investment in different sectors
The last panel session was titled ‘Entertainment: Tool for Nation Building’. The session was moderated by Kemi Ajumobi with Rozina Negusei and Audi Maikori as panelists
During the session the successes and achievements of the entertainment industry in Africa and the global impact was highlighted.
Audu Maikori talked about how African content enjoys more streaming and downloads from international audiences.
Rozina Negusei also mentioned that African entertainment is now the best next thing after playing soccer drawing the attention of music lovers worldwide.
The two-day event ended with an Award session, launch of the ‘Legacy Colossus Coaching for women and also the ‘Legacy Global Network’ – a platform to connect global entrepreneurs and business leaders that will serve as an engine of growth for emerging leaders.
The summit will ultimately impact business interactions between nations, creating a bridge for investors and entrepreneurs to meet and create innovative value. The 2021 edition is scheduled to hold in the UAE.