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Banking and Mobile Money News

The M-Pesa mobile-money service, founded in 2007 by Vodafone and Safaricom, is used by over 200,000 African businesses to make payments. COVID has had a big impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for about for about 40% of Kenya’s GDP. M-Pesa has announced a consumer “lifestyle” offering aimed at assisting SMEs to track and manage their cash inflows and payments, as well as support them in accounting, inventory and supply-chain management. The offer, planned within the next 12 months, will probably be launched first in Kenya and then extended to other African markets.

Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) went live this month with their new SME banking platform and mobile app, JuicePro using the Backbase platform. The mobile platform for SMEs will cater to growing customer demand, provide a smoother and bespoke banking experience, and then be replicated across all business lines using the Backbase Omni-channel banking platform. More than 100 large financials around the world use Backbase’s omni-channel, Digital-First Banking Platform. The flexible nature of the platform allows them to drive product innovation to respond to emerging customer needs and pressures from competitors and regulators alike.

Data Integrated, a tech firm from Kenya has developed a passenger counting, booking and cashless payment system that aims to reduce overcrowding and the need to transact with cash when using public transport in Kenya. It’s innovation has recently won 2nd prize in Brilliant African Innovations.

After years of being focused on serving Middle East clients, Network International the Dubai-headquartered payments giant, has acquired for $288 million the Kenyan based DPO Group, a payments services provider for African businesses.  The acquisition will see DPO Group continue to operate under the same brand while being wholly owned by Network International.  The DPO Group already provides payments services to nearly 50,000 merchants across the 19 African countries. Early projections show Africa could account for 40% of Network International’s annual revenues by 2024.

Meanwhile SmartAfrica is planning to introduce a cross-border payment system, spearheaded by Ghana, in 2021. It is also working on an e-ID solution. AfriLabs and the EFA held a joint meeting recently with SmartAfrica, a pan-African initiative based in Kigali which groups 37 countries as well as leading businesses.

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Alastair Tempest

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