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Patascore, a Kenyan based digital platform is enabling Open Banking through its interoperability APIs

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Patascore Team

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.

Pezesha Marketplace

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.

Also Read: These two Africans are helping businesses and individuals spend less time doing expenses with Xpensi

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.

Visit: PataScore

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Investment

CreditFins, Egypt’s first Credit Card management platform, closes a pre-seed funding round

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CreditFins Team 

CreditFins, a Credit Card management and financial wellness startup and the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa(MENA), closed a pre-seed round of investment led by Flat6Labs, AUC Angels, and TA Telecom Holding. Other Angel Investors with backgrounds in technology and investment participated in the funding, which CreditFins is deploying towards developing the product and acquiring users.

“Credit Fins has developed a cutting-edge financial technology solution to alleviate bank customers’ financial struggles, kicking off in Egypt and expanding to new markets. Add to that their solid founding team who continue to grow their business, is a sure recipe for success. Flat6labs is proud to be part of their success journey.” said Albert Malaty, Managing Director of Flat6Labs Cairo Seed Program.

CreditFins helps users repay their Credit Card debt while saving money. It is a cheaper, more convenient solution for debt repayment through fixed, lower monthly installments as part of a plan that can be easily tracked. CreditFins’ customers save 20-50% of the interest they would have paid with their bank.

“CreditFins stood out amongst their cohort because of a clear strength in the team. The diversity in their experience, and their resourceful approach to addressing the problem they’ve identified, was apparent to investors. We look forward to witnessing the growth and pivots they will go through in their mission to empower their user base through enhanced financial tools.” said Mariam Kamel, Manager of AUC Angels.

As total outstanding credit card debt in Egypt stood at more than $2 billion as of 2019, CreditFins is on a mission to grant its customers financial freedom. CreditFins is aware that falling into the vicious debt cycle is due to inaccessibility of information and lack of awareness, a gap the startup seeks to fill.

The startup is actively working to launch “CreditFins Alpha” card, introducing more features to its solution, as it strives to make its credit card management platform more compelling and to widen its customer base.

“Credit card debt is a moving target that’s hard to settle. At CreditFins, we work with our customers to settle the debt they have in a faster and cheaper way, along with providing them with financial information and empowering them with the right tools to be financially liberated” said Sherif Radi, co-founder and CEO of CreditFins.

The company is founded by a team with extensive experience in innovation and product building. Co-Founder and CEO Sherif Radi has over 17 years of experience in innovation strategy. As former CEO of TA Telecom, his work focused on innovation, customer-centric solutions, and building new products. Co-founder and CPO, Gamal Sadek, is a tech-entrepreneur with over 11 years of experience in entrepreneurship, during which he co-directed the Founder Institute chapter in Egypt and co-founded Bey2ollak, Egypt’s number one mobile app for crowdsourcing traffic information used by over 1.3 million commuters in Egypt.

Co-founder and CCO Norhan El Sakkout, was previously an investment associate at LimeVest Partners and Beltone Private Equity, having worked at Endeavor Egypt on accelerating high-impact SMEs, then at TA Telecom; she brings the know-how in investment, finance and business continuity.

 

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Press Release

João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, The President of the Republic of Angola To Speak At The Angola and Turkey Business Forum

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João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, The President of the Republic of Angola (Image: Claudia Padayachy)

The President of the Republic of Angola, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, will give the inaugural speech at the Angola-Turkey Business Forum, to be held at the Ato Congresium Conference Center in Ankara, Turkey, today, 28 July 2021, at 9:00 am local time.

President Lourenço, who will address the Turkish business community, will take this opportunity to highlight Angola’s economic potential and the opportunities that the country offers. He will also discuss his government’s commitment to economic growth and development through the private sector as well as the multiple initiatives that have been adopted to improve the business environment.

This Forum is part of the official program of President Lourenço’s visit to the Republic of Turkey and is the perfect opportunity to inform the local business community and investors of Angola’s new business environment. Numerous ongoing reforms and support policies for private investment and the diversification of the economy have been put in place.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of AIPEX, António Henriques da Silva, will present the numerous investment opportunities in the Republic of Angola.

Turkey’s Minister of Commerce, Mr. Ahmet, and the President of DEIK, are also expected to present at the Forum. 

Around a hundred Angolan and Turkish companies from various sectors are expected to participate in the event.

The Angolan and Turkish business communities will soon enjoy closer ties, with the launch of two direct weekly air connections between Luanda and Ankara through Turkish Airlines.

The  Angolan presidential delegation comprises Manuel Nunes Júnior – Minister of State for Economic Coordination, Edeltrudes da Costa – Minister and Cabinet Director of PR, Tete António – Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Ernesto dos Santos – Minister of National Defense and Homeland Veterans, Sérgio dos Santos – Minister of Economy and Planning, Ricardo Viegas de Abreu – Minister of Transport, João Baptista Jorges – Minister of Energy and Water, Manuel Tavares de Almeida – Minister of Public Works and Spatial Planning, Diamantino de Azevedo – Minister of Mineral Resources , Oil and Gas, António Francisco de Assís – Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Victor Fernandes – Minister of Industry and Commerce and Antonio Henriques da Silva – Chairman of the Board of Directors at AIPEX.

Over the last 18 years, Turkey has significantly increased its presence in Africa, going from 12 embassies and investments of around USD 100 million in 2003 to 42 embassies and around USD 6.5 billion in direct investments in 2021.

From 2003 to 2019, Turkey’s trade with Africa increased about five times, and now some 51 African cities are served by Turkish Airlines, which plans to start flights to Angola soon. (Source: issafrica.org and AIPEX).

To date, Angola has registered around USD 200 million in investments of Turkish origin, especially in mining and steel. President João Lourenço’s visit to Turkey will boost economic relations between the two countries and, in the medium term, an increase in Turkish investment in Angola is expected in priority sectors, namely, industry, mining, energy, tourism and transport, in addition to trade, where the two countries already have strong links.

The trade balance between the two countries is unfavourable for Angola, data from the General Tax Administration (AGT) indicate that from 2015 to 2020, Angola’s imports from Turkey was around USD 1,702,737,951.00, while exports from Angola to Turkey in the same period were only 41,960,419.00 USD.

 

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Press Release

Wärtsilä to modernise power generation at Nigeria’s oldest and largest food company, Flour Mills Nigeria

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Wärtsilä will enable leading Nigerian food company to modernise its power generation facilities to meet everyday production needs

The technology group Wärtsilä will supply fuel-flexible dual-fuel engines to extend, improve, and modernise power generation for a captive power plant at Nigeria’s oldest and largest food and agro allied company, Flour Mills Nigeria. The company’s Lagos-based power plant is needed to ensure sufficient capacity and a reliable electricity supply around the clock to meet its food production requirements, and commitments to its customers. The two received orders were booked by Wärtsilä in March and June. 

The first order comprises a 9-cylinder Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engine generator set and is an extension to the existing generating capacity provided by a similar Wärtsilä engine generator set that has been successfully operating since 2017. The second order comprises a 12-cylinder Wärtsilä 34DF engine generator set and is intended to replace an existing inefficient mono-fuel generating asset in the plant with efficient dual-fuel generating capacity as part of Flour Mills Nigeria’s captive power plant modernisation plans. The Wärtsilä engine generator sets will be delivered during 2021 and are expected to become fully operational in early 2022. 

The multi-fuel capability of the Wärtsilä engines, which can switch seamlessly from natural gas to liquid fuel mode while running at full load, facilitates continuous supply of electricity to critical loads in the event of uncertainties in the quality and quantity of the gas supply. In addition to maximising the availability and reliability, this inherent capability provides a valuable hedge against fuel price increases, and lends itself to accommodating future fuel infrastructure developments. 

Also Read Wärtsilä Optimised Maintenance agreement supports growth ambitions of a privately-owned Nigerian supplier of energy to the national grid

“It is always gratifying to receive repeat orders from a customer, not only because it signifies their satisfaction with our solution, but also because it cements the relationship between our companies. Operational flexibility and efficiency, which are features of the Wärtsilä engines, are becoming key issues in energy production, and are especially relevant for production facilities with a critical need for a reliable electricity supply,” commented Marc Thiriet, Energy Business Director, Africa West. 

The Nigerian government’s 30-30-30 vision document for the power sector aims to achieve a capacity of 30,000 megawatts of electricity by the year 2030, with at least 30 percent being supplied from renewable energy sources. The selection of fast-starting and stopping Wärtsilä engines means that should the customer have access to solar or wind power in the future, these engine generator sets can provide smart back-up generation to balance the fluctuating supply from renewables.

Wärtsilä has a leading position in supplying flexible power generation to West Africa with 4792 MW of capacity installed, of which 667 MW in Nigeria. Wärtsilä has operated in the country since 2010 and has about 90 employees locally.

 

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