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World Bank okays project worth $200 mln to support SMEs in Egypt

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CAIRO – 18 April 2019: The World Bank gave its final approval to a new project worth $200 million for supporting reforms aimed at securing further jobs for young people and women in Egypt.

The project is meant to increase the volume of credit to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), for being a key source of economic growth.

In a statement released on Thursday, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said the project comes within the framework of ongoing cooperation between the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry and the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise Development Agency (MSME), with a view to backing entrepreneurs, especially women.

“Our partnership with the World Bank Group aims to enable women and young people to become successful entrepreneurs. This investment provides several opportunities for improving Egyptians’ standard of living, through creating jobs and establishing a strong foundation for the country’s economy,” the statement quoted Nasr as saying.

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The project targets increasing seed capital and early-stage capital, as well as capital risk available to innovative startups facing higher risks and newly-established SMEs with great potential for growth and job creation, the statement read.

ِUnder the project, around USD 50 million will be directed to private-managed risk management institutions, such as investment funds, business accelerators, venture capital funds and investment companies, for the purpose of outlining the initial stages of the Egyptian investment system, the statement noted.

For her part, Marina Weiss, Regional Director of the World Bank office in Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, said “Egypt has shown a strong commitment to reforming its economy. Its reforms have begun to bear fruit, enabling the private sector to secure jobs which is an integral part of achieving a sustainable and overall growth”.

Also, she added that the WB is proud to support entrepreneurs across the country, notably women and young people.

The new program hinges on the success of the existing project “Promoting Innovation for Financial Inclusion”, which enables SMEs to get access to funding and promotes job creation in the private sector nationwide.

-Egypt Today

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Press Release

Mastercard partners with NAPS to drive innovation across Morocco

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Mastercard and NAPS, a leading Moroccan fintech company, have initiated a collaboration to develop innovative payment solutions for individuals and businesses. The partnership consolidates the strong historical relationship between the two entities. NAPS is on a mission to expand the horizons of digital payments in Morocco. NAPS benefits from the 30+ years of expertise of M2M Group in software for electronic payments and biometric identity. As Mastercard’s partner, NAPS benefits from access to its extensive network, expertise and wide-ranging portfolio of products and services, powered by innovative and secure technologies.

In line with NAPS’s long-term strategy, the collaboration will boost the company’s innovation capabilities through Mastercard’s advanced technology and optimize time to market for its upcoming digital offerings.

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“At Mastercard, we are committed to supporting a global network of innovators with the aim of building a more accessible and sustainable digital economy. We serve as a trusted partner of pioneering fintech companies across all stages of development, helping them achieve agility and speed. We are delighted to share our technological expertise with NAPS to pursue our common objective of advancing inclusive growth,” said Mohamed Benomar, Country General Manager, MENA West, Mastercard.

“The partnership with Mastercard will reinforce our position as a market-leading fintech company and support the culture of innovation that is at the core of everything we do. By accelerating the development of digital payment solutions in Morocco, it will also contribute to cementing the country’s status as a premier fintech hub in the Arab world,” said Hassan Ghellab, CEO, NAPS.

NAPS and Mastercard aim to create new ecosystems of digital services in Morocco to unlock the full potential of digital payments and provide users with an enhanced experience through innovative services in order to promote financial inclusion. These digital ecosystems will enable the development of high-value applications and explore new service opportunities, contributing to innovation and the digital transformation of the sector.

The CGAP report Fintechs Across the Arab World, issued in December 2020, highlighted Morocco as the third-largest fintech hub among the 22 member countries of the Arab League. High mobile coverage, a large unbanked population, an abundant supply of talent, infrastructure upgrades and government initiatives encouraging the uptake of digital financial services, coupled with enabling regulations, are among the key drivers of growth in this space.

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Press Release

MoCaFi, founded by Nigerian Wole Coaxum, raises $23.5M funding to end racial wealth inequality

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MoCaFi Founder and CEO, Wole Coaxum (Image: Wole Coaxum)

Mobility Capital Finance, Inc. (“MoCaFi”), a turnkey fintech platform leading financial empowerment for traditionally underserved communities, announces $23.5M in Series-B financing, led by Commerce Ventures. MoCaFi provides Financial Services as Infrastructure™ to various levels of government to improve the efficiency of providing financial and other resources to underserved communities across the country.  The company’s mission is to help excluded communities create wealth through better access to public, private, and social capital. 

Founded in 2016 by Wole Coaxum, a Black former Wall Street Executive who was inspired by the 2014 murder of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, to address stark social inequities by closing the racial wealth gap. MoCaFi advances a vision of socioeconomic justice by creating pathways to financial empowerment for millions of unbanked or underbanked Americans. With over $100 million of financial resources disbursed to underserved communities across 15 cities and counties across the country, MoCaFi is utilizing its capital to fulfill that vision and scale. 

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“Commerce Ventures has been unbelievably impressed by MoCaFi’s passion for helping underserved communities access high-quality, affordable financial services,” said Dan Rosen, Founding Partner and Head of Fintech Investments at Commerce Ventures. “MoCaFi’s scalable payments platform enables government agencies (Federal, State and Local) to disburse benefits directly to vulnerable populations in some of the country’s largest municipalities, including Los Angeles, CA, St. Louis, MO and Birmingham, AL. We’re excited to see the company deliver similar value to the next dozen municipality clients while also enabling the under-banked to get access to digital banking services and pathways to accessing credit and building wealth.”  

“We are pleased to be joined by new investment partners with such valuable expertise. MoCaFi has established unique government partnerships that are capable of creating dramatic impact at scale, for millions of Americans currently unable to access quality financial services and benefits.”, said Tom Hutton, lead Series A Investor and investor in the Series B round, MoCaFi Board Member and accomplished Fintech venture capitalist. 

Billions of dollars in public benefits are left unspent due to various complexities and inefficiencies in disbursement methods. MoCaFi’s platform provides governments with a solution that increases adoption and delivers benefits efficiently while reducing fraud. 

“MoCaFi has been the perfect partner for the City of Birmingham. Over the last three years, we have delivered almost $20 million in emergency assistance to thousands of families – keeping them in their homes and keeping the lights on, and we couldn’t have done it without MoCaFi. More than just a payment processor- the MoCaFi team has been a fully engaged thought partner from conception through execution. We are incredibly appreciative of their support and hope to work with them again soon!” said Kelvin Datcher, Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Birmingham.  

“We are excited to welcome the new investors to the MoCaFi mission, and appreciate the support of our existing investors, many of whom continue to show their trust by participating in the latest round . This Series B round allows MoCaFi to scale quickly and validates our unique business proposition. With this capital and more importantly, support from these terrific strategic investors, we can continue to innovate and bring our products and services to more municipalities, government entities and community partners – ultimately helping more people.” said Wole Coaxum, MoCaFi CEO & Founder. 

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Economy

Angola becomes ATI’s 21st Member State, pays USD25m in capital subscription fees

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The Republic of Angola has become the 21st African Member State and the 1st Lusophone Member State of pan-African insurer, Africa Trade Insurance Agency – ATI, after paying a capital subscription of USD25 million. The membership was funded the Angolan National Treasury resources and proceeds from the landmark BITA water project – a strategic public investment for the construction of infrastructure for the treatment, supply and storage of drinking water that will benefit 2.5 million people in Angola.

Welcoming Angola’s membership, ATI’s Chief Executive Officer, Manuel Moses, noted the country’s demonstration of its commitment to diversify its economy through ATI’s trade and investment risk mitigation solutions.

“We are happy to support Angola in its quest to economic diversification and becoming an agricultural powerhouse on the African continent. Angola’s membership is timely as ATI’s risk mitigation and credit enhancement services will act as a catalyst for strengthening and diversifying Angola’s economy, supporting both increased investment, exports and trade under Africa’s continental framework of the AfCFTA,” Mr. Manuel said.

Under this one of a kind blended finance and guarantee innovative structure, the Republic of Angola – along with the lenders covered by ATI under the transaction – agreed for the use of proceeds under the syndicated loan to also include the financing for the purpose of Angola becoming a member of ATI. ATI provided guarantee and insurance support for this World Bank’s partially guaranteed facility to the Government of Angola for the expansion and improvement of water supply service in the urban and peri-urban belts of Luanda.

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Current exposure

ATI’s gross exposure in Angola, the largest country in Southern Africa Region, currently stands at USD467M mainly in construction, energy & gas, trade & transport, water supply and wholesale & retail sectors, with transactions valued at USD1.4B.

“This development was made possible because of ATI’s pan African mandate that allows the organization to cover transactions in Angola and beyond, despite ATI non-membership.  Now that Angola is a fully-fledged shareholder of ATI, the country can fully access more of ATI’s guarantee solutions to attract more Foreign Direct Investments and boost its internal and external trade across the region,” Mr. Manual explained.

Angola’s economy is mainly driven by its oil sector but the country seeks to pursue new growth models for economic diversification through the agricultural sector and private sector development.

With ATI’s support, Angola is on the path to fiscal consolidation, manage their debt ceiling, increase in public and private investment, in order to resume the ascending curve of sustainable and inclusive economic growth as well as human development.

ATI has grown from a small African start-up in 2001 into a pan-African institution with presence across Africa and with a significant global reach. Besides Angola, other member countries include Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Institutional members include African Development Bank, African Reinsurance Corporation, Atradius Group, Chubb, CESCE (Spanish ECA), Ministry of Finance India (represented by ECGC), SACE SIMEST, The Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Trade and Development Bank (TDB), Kenya-Re, The PTA Reinsurance Company (Zep-Re), and the UK Export Finance.

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