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.
ILLA, an African asset-light FMCG Logistics Company Raises $2M Investment Round
ILLA Team (Image: Supplied)
Cairo-based FMCG Logistics company ILLA secures a $2M investment round to boost its growth in the market and diversify its offering to the FMCG value chain. The round was co-led by Watheeq Financial Services and Golden Palm Investments. The round saw participation from Loftyinc Capital Management, Kepple Africa Fund, Cubit Ventures, AUC Angels, Oqal Angel Network and FLat6Labs Cairo doubling down on its investment in ILLA for the third time
Founded in 2019 by Mahmoud Elzomor, Alaa Jarkas, Ahmed Sakr, and Hossam Saraya, and shortly joined by a well versed management team with Mohamed Emera as Director of Growth, Mohamed Kamal as CFO, and Khaled Elzomor as Commercial Director ILLA aims to optimize post-production supply chain activities for FMCG brands, starting with middle-mile delivery services, being the most fragmented part of the value chain.
By focusing exclusively on the FMCG market, ILLA was able to capture the business and trust of over 65 clients in its portfolio, with household names to the likes of Coca-Cola, P&G, Danone, Nestle, Juhayna, and Pepsico.
Since 2019, ILLA has been delivering on its core promise of moving goods with efficiency on behalf of FMCG brands, spanning over 5,000,000 KM and completing over 250,000
transactions, across 27 governorates in Egypt leveraging its tech platform to power delivery
Before ILLA, FMCG brands had to rely on a variety of owned and outsourced assets to manage their delivery operations, and that adds to the pain of a fragmented logistics cycle, which gave way to the value offering of ILLA to those brands; a streamlined value chain with visibility, control and growth potential for each individual brand, with ILLA acting as an asset-light logistics company, leveraging its tech platform and operational intelligence to deliver an unparalleled experience to FMCG brands.
“ILLA will use the funds to fuel its expansion and growth in Egypt and disrupt the traditional route to-market for FMCG companies and SMEs, while building more around its tech platform to deliver more value to its clients and drivers alike”, says Mahmoud ElZomor, Co-Founder and CEO of ILLA
“Mahmoud and the team are tailor-made for ILLA, bringing decades of diversified experience to help drive efficiency into the $15 trillion global FMCG market. With the onset of covid, the global supply chain management industry is suitable for modernization, and ILLA is uniquely positioned as an end-to-end execution platform. In addition, ILLA’s smart logistics solutions also play a crucial role in providing a full stack of operational solutions that will disrupt the sector, and will change the behavior for all stakeholders within the FMCG market,” said Khaled Zaidan of Watheeq Financial Services.
“Middle-mile logistics is one of the most underinvested segments of the global supply chain market. ILLA has identified this massive opportunity in MENA and is offering a full-stack B2B supply chain management platform enabling FMCG brands to reach retailers directly at the lowest cost per case. Mahmoud and team are utilizing the trucking logistics shared economy and tech automation to innovate within a large and fast-growing market.” – AJ Okereke, Partner, Golden Palm
Africa’s CEOs to empower youth for the digital age at the All4Youth Regional Alliance flagship event
All4Youth Regional Alliance Senior leaders (Image: All4Youth SSA)
We aim to support 1 million young people to find work and plan their transition to the digital economy between now and 2022 through a flagship event of All4Youth Regional Alliance, “CEO & Youth Connect”. A collaborative intervention led by various multinational companies dedicated to reduce youth unemployment across Sub-Saharan Africa. Senior leaders from the alliance will meet on November 8, 2021, to discuss skills of the future required in their organizations as well as share programs, training, and initiatives designed to prepare youth for the digital era.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an economic crisis, forcing tens of millions of people out of work. As economies continue with the reopening journey, some jobs may not come back, yet we continue to see a rise in the number of youth joining the job market. “We have therefore put the best of our resources to support this recovery, including using data to understand the most in-demand roles, supporting with skilling and reskilling needs for job seekers and job creators. Partnerships such as this will play a critical role and will support us to scale us to more youth and increase the impact across the African continent” noted Ghada Khalifa, Director for Microsoft Philanthropies for Middle East and Africa.
Bruno Olierhoek, Chairman and Managing Director at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region emphasized the importance of senior leaders taking keen interests in the development and ultimate successes of the youth. “We are driven by our inspiring purpose that is so relevant in our East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) and we want to do good by addressing societal challenges such as climate change, sustainability and youth unemployment. To help contribute to these major challenges, we realize the need to work in an ecosystem which is entrenched around long-term thinking, with immediate actions. Through our involvement in different programmes supporting the youth in Employment & Employability, Entrepreneurship and Agri-preneurship we are committed to continuously define projects that are fully integrated in our value chain for them to be viable over the long term and be able to make a real meaningful impact for the community and us.”
“The youth of today are the builders and leaders of tomorrow. As Adcorp we know that enabling agility, focus and skill in the youth of today is the key to unlocking their potential for tomorrow ‘’ highlighted Dr John Wentzel, Chief Executive Officer, Adcorp Group.
In the last two years, alliance partners have reached over 150,000 young people, empowered over 3000 young people through employability and mentorship programmes. Giving high potential young talent access to a network of high performing industry professionals that accelerate opportunities, career and personal development goals.
We encourage young people to register for the upcoming event to click here and learn more about in-demand skills, insights to future of work and opportunities alliance partners have available for youth.
Fawry Invest in Sudanese Classifieds and Marketplace Platform alsoug, Marking First Overseas Venture
Fawry CEO Eng. Ashraf Sabry (Image: Supplied)
Fawry establishes strategic partnership with Sudanese consumer platform with an eye to scaling up technology platform beyond Egypt.
Fawry (the “Company”, FWRY.CA on the Egyptian Exchange), Egypt’s leading provider of e- payments solutions and digital banking services, announced today that it has finalized an investment in alsoug.com, Sudan’s largest online classifieds platform and marketplace, to help build out alsoug’s new fintech platform, Cashi. Fawry has acquired a strategic minority stake in the alsoug.com/Cashi holding company, marking the Company’s first venture capital investment outside of its Egyptian home market. The investment comes as part of Sudan’s first announced venture capital funding round.
Fawry played a leading role in ensuring the success of the USD 5m round, with the Company’s presence catalyzing involvement from other strategic Western VC players. As a strategic investor in alsoug, Fawry intends to leverage its long track record with white label technology solutions to help the platform expand in scale, enhancing the platform’s merchant acquisition operation, refining its go-to-market approach, and providing valuable insights that inform high-level strategy across all segments of the business.
Founded in 2016 by a world-class team of technology entrepreneurs, alsoug is now Sudan’s leading consumer internet platform and its largest digital marketplace. Alsoug is one of Sudan’s most downloaded apps on the Google Play app store with two million downloads and is a platform where sellers can list everything from real estate and cars to services and commodities.
Despite the political and economic headwinds experienced by Sudan as it goes through a transformative political transition, the platform has grown rapidly since 2016, reflecting alsoug’s highly skilled team of in-house developers, comprehensive coverage by its on-the-ground teams, as well as Sudan’s promising economic fundamentals. Moving forward, and building on the strategic partnership with Fawry, alsoug will significantly expand its service offering by building a new payments network capable of serving customers across Sudan, one of the largest countries on the African continent.
“We’re delighted to be kicking off our partnership with alsoug, one of Sudan’s most exciting prospects and a Sudanese leader in tech innovation. This is our first investment foray outside of Egypt in our thirteen years of operation, and we’re confident that our story with alsoug and Cashi will be a special one. Fawry’s investment in alsoug delivers on our plans to venture into underserved international markets by leveraging our technology and teaming up with strong local players. This investment will provide us the opportunity to strategically expand our footprint into Africa and transfer the experience we’ve gained in the dynamic Egyptian market to neighboring Sudan, an economy with major potential across several sectors and with a significant pool of entrepreneurial talent. Meanwhile, Fawry’s strategic partnership with alsoug leaves it ideally placed to help guide the platform’s rollout of a countrywide payments system, a feat which Fawry has already managed through a scalable, robust, and best-in-class technology platform.” said: Fawry CEO Eng. Ashraf Sabry
“This investment marks a significant milestone not just for alsoug, but for the nascent tech space in Sudan as a whole, which has until today been essentially shut out of the global capital markets. I hope this investment is the first of many and that the huge potential of the tech sector in Sudan is fully realized in the coming years. We are looking forward to working with Fawry, and our new strategic shareholders, to continue our expansion from the classifieds and marketplace space into payments. We will build a payments platform that will deliver financial inclusion to all Sudanese.” said Alsoug co-founder and CEO Tarneem (Nina) Saeed
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