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SA Motor Lease joins the FlexClub Network

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SA Motor Lease, a division of PACE Auto Group, will become the latest leasing company in South Africa to offer long-term car subscriptions on the FlexClub network. This follows Avis Fleet launching its own long-term subscription offers earlier this year. FlexClub has created a vehicle subscription account that enables customers to easily subscribe for vehicles online, from a network of rental and leasing merchants. Customers with an account avoid prohibitively expensive security deposits, complex applications and can earn cashback on their monthly vehicle subscription spend.

This comes almost a year after PACE Car Rental, the car rental division within the group, joined the FlexClub network to offer their month-to-month car subscriptions. FlexClub members can use their accounts to shop online for a car that can be delivered to their door within 7 days, from an expansive network of merchants across the country. 

According to FlexClub, merchants on the network have made more than 40,000 vehicles available to members for subscriptions, on contracts ranging from 1 month to 36 months. Since its launch, more than 20,000 people have created a FlexClub account to easily subscribe for vehicles online from the network of merchants. 

SA Motor Lease becomes the latest merchant in South Africa to join the network in a bid to expand the reach of their long-term car subscriptions, joining major brands on the network such as Avis, Europcar, Green Motion and Bajaj. SA Motor Lease has vast experience in the consumer leasing industry, having spent the last decade serving customers looking to lease a vehicle instead of finance. “By partnering with FlexClub, we’re now able to serve a wider range of customers that want an online shopping experience or are looking for more accessible payment options”, says Grenville Salmon, the founder and CEO of PACE Auto Group. 

Car subscriptions continue to rapidly grow in popularity across South Africa, as an increasing number of consumers seek out alternatives to the traditional 6-year vehicle finance offerings that currently dominate the local auto industry. The long-term subscriptions being offered by SA Motor Lease will range from 6-months to 24-months, at a price that will be cheaper than the month-to-month subscriptions already offered by the group via Pace Car Rental. The launch will feature select vehicle models which have already proven to be in high demand from members with a FlexClub account. 

These long-term subscriptions are expected to directly challenge the total cost of ownership provided by traditional vehicle financing and will fill a void left by the limited number of private leasing products available in South Africa. Globally, more consumers are demanding greater flexibility from mobility products and South Africa is not expected to be an exception given the sophistication of the local automotive industry. Market statistics already highlight the fact that the average new car buyer in South Africa trades in their car after 3 years, despite the majority of them committing to 6 year vehicle finance contracts. 

“This mismatch between available products and consumer needs has never been more glaring and we’re starting to see leaders of the largest financial institutions recognize the market readiness for car subscriptions in South Africa”, says Papi Melamu, Business Development Executive at FlexClub. 

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“The other elephant in the room is how much less accessible cars will become if the auto industry will rely solely on traditional vehicle finance, making the increased accessibility of subscriptions even more appealing to industry stakeholders”, adds Melamu. According to FlexClub, almost 50% of the members using their accounts to pay for vehicle subscriptions from the network of merchants are considered “thin file” customers. This means that there is little or no information on their historical financial activity being held by credit bureaus. As a result, these are customers who would have ordinarily been forced to consider more predatory alternatives to traditional vehicle financing. 

Much like the existing month-to-month car subscriptions offered by Pace Car Rental, these long-term car subscriptions from SA Motor Lease will be all-inclusive, negating the need for additional maintenance, insurance, or tracking costs. The FlexClub accounts enable members to seamlessly shop for the vehicle of their choice, select their preferred subscription terms, arrange delivery to their door and continue to manage their subscription all online. While there are no penalties for cancelling or pausing the month-to-month subscriptions at any time, early termination of long-term subscriptions may incur an additional fee. 

“Initially, these long-term car subscriptions from SA Motor Lease will only be available to consumers in Johannesburg and Pretoria. We will be working with SA Motor Lease to support them with a wider rollout, making their subscriptions available to members across the country”, concludes Melamu.

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Cellulant and Money Q Collaborate to Make it Easier for Africans Living Abroad

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Cellulant Vice President of Global & Regional Merchants  Richard Gesimba and Amit Shrimali – Founder and CEO, Money Q

Cellulant, Africa’s Leading Payments Solutions Provider has partnered with Dubai-based fintech solutions company to enable expatriates to seamlessly pay for bills and recharge airtime for their beneficiaries across Africa. These customers will be able to make these payments through KrosPayz, Money Q’s Africa-wide digital payments platform that enables online payment for transactions and value-added services at the point of sale.

Mobile remittances present a unique opportunity for millions of people to access the formal financial system, bringing financial services and prospects for revenue generation closer to their communities. According to estimates, Sub-Saharan African remittances increased by 16.4% in 2021 but only by 5.2% in 2022. The average cost of sending $200 over international borders remained high in the second quarter of 2022, at 6%. Mobile operators offer the best rates (3.5%), but less than 1% of transactions are made through digital channels. Remittance services are now much quicker and less expensive thanks to digital technologies.

The KrosPayz digital wallet, which is set to go live first in Malawi this April, will enable customers to pay for national and international utility bill payments, airtime recharge, execute their domestic fund transfers to individuals and companies, and also pay in the local markets for their purchases via QR code.

“Remittances are the single largest source of foreign exchange for many developing economies, and they are stable and resilient in the face of economic downturns. They have been described as developing countries’ most stable, abundant, and secure sources of foreign aid. This partnership reaffirms our commitment to enabling businesses, banks, and consumers to make fast and efficient payments across Africa. By leveraging Cellulant’s presence and partnerships on the continent, Money Q will be able to provide its services throughout Africa” stated Richard Gesimba, Cellulant’s Vice President of Global & Regional Merchants.

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Money Q’s goal is to ensure that no African should be deprived of using the digital channels on the continent. Commenting on the partnership, Mr Amit Shrimali, Money Q’s Founder and CEO stated “I am very excited with this partnership as it helps me to go a step closer to the vision of Money Q which is to make sure that none in the countries, we operate are deprived of using the digital medium to transact. The partnership between MoneyQ and Cellulant will indeed complement one another in growing the market share of both the companies in the African continent.”

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Shelter Afrique unveils new five-year strategic plan

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Shelter Afrique new Managing Director and CEO, Mr Thierno-Habib Hann

Pan-African housing development financier, Shelter Afrique has unveiled a five-year strategic plan to restore the Institution’s performance, competitiveness, and value creation for the long term.

Shelter Afrique unveiled the plan during a Ministerial and Board retreat in Nairobi, which was also attended by the Shareholders’ Bureau represented by Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Rwanda who currently serve as President, First Vice-president, and Second Vice-President of the Bureau, respectively. Development partners such as the African Development Bank, and investment partners such as Actis, Mi Vida and Shapoorji Pallonji (India) were also in attendance. Side discussions were held with Bilateral partners such as CDC, now known as BII (British International Investment), one of the initial shareholders of the Institution.

The new 2023-2027 strategic plan, dubbed the ‘New Dawn’, is expected to position the Institution for growth through improved governance, operational and financial performance. 

The plan focuses on building relationships with various stakeholders to deliver strong and impactful business performance based on a new corporate structure fit for purpose.  

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Refocusing the business

Speaking at a retreat organised by the Institution in Nairobi to appraise the Board of Directors, shareholder representatives, and business partners, Shelter Afrique Chairman Dr Chii Akporji said the unveiling of the new strategic plan was an important milestone for the Institution.

“The new strategic plan that we have dubbed the ‘New Dawn‘ has laid the foundations to refocus our business on growth and impact, while creating sustainable returns for our shareholders and all our stakeholders. It has the board’s unanimous support and provides the Institution with a clear compass,” Dr Akporji said.

Dr Akporji welcomed the new Managing Director and CEO, Mr Thierno-Habib Hann and thanked the board for showing a great sense of responsibility and collective support to the new leadership paving the way to “creating conditions necessary to enter this new phase confidently”.

Echoing the Chairman, Shelter Afrique’s new Managing Director and CEO, Mr Thierno-Habib Hann said it was imperative for the Institution to refocus, deliver and scale up, following the successful conclusion of its restructuring program.

“The past 20 years provided us with some vital lessons which have been critical in developing the new strategic plan – a plan centred on sustainable and competitive growth while delivering consistently and enhancing shareholder value.” Mr Hann said.

Mr Hann added that the new strategic plan offers the Institution an impetus to focus more on clients, business performance, and staff; provides a framework for upscaling engagements with various stakeholders; offers a motivation to bolster the institution’s corporate governance credentials; and creates the momentum to introduce new product lines.

“While driving Mobilization and Syndication, we will be focusing on four business lines, namely (1) Funded and unfunded lines of credit to financial institutions to finance housing solutions, (2) Project Finance for large-scale housing initiatives; (3) Affordable Housing PPPs structuring and (4) Thematic Housing Fund Management and Advisory Services. The new strategic plan envisages a streamlined approach, which allows us to reach the end users by establishing new product structures such as Employer Staff Housing Funds, Green/Resilient homes and Rent-To-Own financing”, Mr Hann explained.

New organisational structure 

The unveiling of the new strategy has necessitated the re-alignment of the organisation and the introduction of a new organisational structure and operating model designed to support the Institution’s innovation, growth, and productivity ambitions for the next five years.

Effectively, the Institution has created new units which will focus the business on financial institutions, project finance, fund management, and public-private partnerships. Additionally, the Strategy, Policy, research and partnerships functions will also be driven from the CEO’s office.  

“We believe the new organisational model is central to the successful implementation of our new strategic plan as it will make us more agile and competitive, enhance client focus, unlock significant potential across the business, and drive value-creation through operational efficiencies,” Mr Hann concluded. 

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Ghana Fintech Awards 2022: DPO Pay Fintech Discovery of the Year

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Leading African digital payments company DPO Pay wins the Fintech Discovery of the year award in the 2022 Ghana Fintech awards. As an initiative of Arkel Limited – a Fintech research and management consulting firm – that is supported by the Ghana Fintech and Payments Association, the awards acknowledge the fintech products and services, technologies, fintech firms and dynamic doers in the fintech ecosystem.

DPO Pay’s Country Manager of Ghana, Frank Anwelle, said: “We are very proud and humbled to receive the Fintech Discovery of the Year Award. Our Team at DPO Pay extends their appreciation to the Ghana Fintech & Payments Association for recognising the hard work and commitment we hold to growing African businesses on a local and global scale. Our innovative approach to simplifying payment processing across Africa continues to drive the core objective of DPO Pay as a merchant-focused solution.”

The award judged international fintech companies operating in the Ghanaian Fintech space on providing best-in-class infrastructure for the deployment of fintech solutions and the ease of integration with third parties to offer financial and non-financial services. The Fintech Discovery of the Year Award recognizes international fintech companies, working within the local Ghanaian ecosystem to provide multiple choices to the industry and clients, ranging from payments infrastructure, credit and debit cards, mobile money, merchant acquisitions, and other payment methods, leading to an integrated financial sector.

Throughout 2022, DPO focused on bringing payment solutions closer to local businesses in Ghana. As part of its efforts, the company has partnered with Mastercard to enable thousands of businesses in Ghana to offer their customers greater choice and convenience by pivoting online and accepting digital payments. It has enabled enable merchants to safely, seamlessly and securely accept a wide range of digital payment methods including mobile money and via e-wallets – both locally and from abroad – in the currency of their choice.

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In addition, at the end of 2022 DPO released a new version of their payments app, DPO Pay Mobile. With several new features, DPO listened to merchant feedback to redesign and redevelop DumaPay. The app, previously DumaPay, now offers a variety of new features to allow for easier, more convenient transactions no matter where in Africa their businesses are. The new mobile payments application allows businesses to securely transact in multiple currencies across Africa.

Founded in 2006, DPO has developed integrated payments technology to support businesses of all sizes in over 20 countries and accepts payments securely and swiftly in all currencies and through many payment methods, including virtual cards, mobile money, and e-wallets.

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