Africa’s fintech startups are rapidly expanding beyond their host countries’ borders to tap into the anticipated surge in trade and investments with the opening of the world’s largest single market, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA.) In the last month alone, several startups have either raised growth funds, bought another player present in regional markets within the same vertical, or tapped top talent in the telecoms industry. Their intention appears to be the targeting of small industries and traders seeking cross-border opportunities in new African markets. Kenya’s Asante Financial Services Group helps support micro, small and medium-sized businesses and has raised $7.5m to help SMBs in Kenya and Uganda access new markets.
Meanwhile, mobile technology startup Tala, which has operations in Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania, has launched a “Rebuild Fund Business Program” to help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Kenya recover from the COVID pandemic. This programme comes just weeks after Tala raised $145m in Series E funding, noting at the time that it would use the capital to expand outside of Africa, while also focusing on helping the continent’s unbanked population. According to the World Bank, the annual SME credit gap in Sub-Saharan Africa is around $330m, with many brick and mortar lenders avoiding smaller traders due to lack of collateral and higher costs
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