Business

Ringier’s BrighterMonday & Cheki close their Uganda offices

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In December 2016, TechMoran learnt that One Africa Media’s Cheki and BrighterMonday had closed shop in Tanzania and Rwanda respectively as Ringier One Africa Media grapples with strategies to run profitable ventures across East Africa.

Today, we have learnt that the firm has also pulled a plug on its physical operations in Uganda and will be running Cheki Uganda and BrighterMonday Uganda remotely from its Nairobi offices in a move expected to cut the firm’s operational costs. Sources close to the firm say only one or two people will be on ground in Kampala, Uganda and they will work closely with the Nairobi office.

This is happening just days after Jumia Market shut its operations across Africa, signifying how hard venture-supported classifieds business is especially in markets with low consumer purchasing power.

The tough shake up is not a surprise to many since the death of One Africa Media boss which forced the group to sell itself cheaply to Ringier to form Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM), a pan African classifieds group away from its Ringier Digital Publishing arm. The closure of several arms of Ringier One Africa Media businesses in various markets will help it focus on growth in its key markets such as Kenya and Nigeria and will help it bolster its revenues and eventually profits. Conquering Africa is not on ROAM’s table yet.

TechMoran assumes both these businesses had paying customers in Uganda and the little revenues could have kept them afloat but a big team can be a huge strain on a firm’s resources hence the move. Unlike Naspers which has burned millions of dollars OLX in Africa, ROAM is not ready to spend such an amount of money and is keen on sustainability. It’s likely that it will take nearly a decade for the group to expand across the region again and the increase in Internet penetration won’t help if the demographic has a marginal propensity to consume.

Cheki Kenya and Nigeria will survive being ROAM’s core markets while on jobs BrighterMonday Kenya, Jobberman Nigeria and Jobberman Ghana will carry the day. ROAM recently added to its portfolio BuyrentKenya and will now have to invest more resources to grow its classifieds ventures and fill the gap left by Rocket Internet which bundled its classifieds verticals into the Jumia brand name.

Classifieds is a long-term business and ROAM’s go slow strategy might work for it and it wont have to rob a bank to stay afloat. However, both ROAM and OLX should be afraid of the growing number of users turning to Facebook Groups which have proved to be preferred marketplaces allowing people to sell and buy stuff due to trust and mutual connections.

Fenix raises over $4m from MTN, Swedish Embassy & USAID to launch pay-to-own solar home systems in Zambia

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Fenix International, a venture-backed pay-to-own home solar system technology and and financial services firm has raised funds from MTN, the Swedish Embassy in Zambia and USAID to launch pay-to-own solar home systems in Zambia.

The funding together with MTN’s distribution networks will help the firm reach unbanked and off-grid customers then later connect them to smart phones, financial services among others.

According to Lyndsay Handler, CEO of Fenix International, “Over 90 per cent of rural Zambians lack access to electricity and have no options other than dangerous candles and kerosene lanterns to light their homes. This is the harsh reality of the situation which we are working to change. Our solar home systems not only provide light and energy, but our unique Fenix credit score makes upgrades and additional life-changing products accessible to committed customers as their needs and incomes grow. Ten years from now, we hope to eliminate the use of candles and be an important part of our customers’ lives across Zambia.”

Though the amount MTN is committing has not been made public but might be in millions of dollars if its distribution network is valued. The Swedish Embassy is committing nearly $3m (SEK 24,750,000) to Fenix in Zambia between now and 2020 while USAID will contribute an additional $750,000 Fenix.

The launch in Zambia represents the first step in Fenix’s expansion across Africa with their flagship product, ReadyPay Power, which provides off-grid customers access to ultra-affordable solar power and already popular in Uganda. Approximately 15 million Zambians live without access to the electrical grid, representing 80 per cent of the total population and 95 percent of rural residents. Fenix will extend its own proven model for making solar power accessible and affordable, which has doubled the company’s Ugandan customer base in just 12 months. With backing from the Swedish Embassy and USAID, Fenix expects to reach 850,000 rural Zambians by 2020.

ReadyPay Power is an expandable solar home system designed to provide power to households and small businesses that the grid has failed to reach. Customers make instalments of as little as $0.20 per day via MTN Mobile Money until they have paid in full. Fenix uses these continuous micro-payments to generate a credit score, enabling customers to access additional system upgrades or financial services.

“The transformative relationship between MTN Mobile Money and off-grid energy has been an exceptional revelation. MTN Mobile Money now sits at the heart of many households, who use these simple and secure services daily to light up their lives. For us, this is all part of the mission to create mobile solutions which make a difference,” said Wane Ngambi, Head of Mobile Financial Services, MTN Zambia.

Funding from the Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka is provided as part of the Power Africa: Beyond the Grid Fund Zambia (BGFZ) initiative. This is managed by REEEP (the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership). BGFZ aims to bring basic clean energy access to 1 million Zambians and accelerate private sector growth in clean energy generation and distribution in the country. USAID’s additional $750,000 support is provided as part of its Scaling Off-Grid Energy: Grand Challenge for Development, which aims to create up to 20 million new connections in off-grid communities across Africa.

 

 

Unigram Will Help You Discover Your Desired University in Africa

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Unigram, founded by Akinbola Asalu is a university and lecturer rating platform that lets users sign up anonymously and rate their lecturers and universities they attend.The platform is designed to help prospective undergraduates know which particular university to attend that would help them grow in knowledge and in other aspects of life.

Through this platform it is hoped that unigram can create accountability for Nigerian universities, by alerting potential students about any activities taking place in the school, in particular any corrupt ones. Corruption has slowly, but steadily permeated the university system in Nigeria. As a result, corrupt practices of diverse forms are now perpetrated by university lecturers.  This negligent and deterrent behavior is thought to be responsible for the decline in student’s grade; especially in federal and state-owned universities.

By helping students, parents and faculty make informed decision, Unigram is hoping that they can promote transparency in the Nigerian university system.

Unigram is currently available in 53 African countries, and is Africa’s largest website for lecturer and university ratings. The site includes over 2000 schools, 14,000 lecturers, and over 6,000 ratings.

The platform allows past and present students to signup anonymously and rate and comment on their university and lecturers.

University ratings are based on facilities, accommodation, security, a school’s quality of education research, and innovation. For lecturers, ratings are based on attendance, quality of teaching, student engagement/communication, teaching methods, and knowledge of the curriculum. Users who cannot find lecturers on the website can manually add them thereto.

Founder of Unigram Akin Asalu, decided to create the platform when he got back from Canada after finishing his first Bachelor of Science and decided to pursue another one, but could not find a platform that would help him decide which university would suit him or any crowd-sourced information about any particular university.

He also had a problem with lecturers while in university, not knowing how to interact with them to get good grades. So a platform where students could let prospective students know about the school and lecturers was what he wanted to create.

Unigram also uses a ranking algorithm to determine the top universities in each country. The Staff at Unigram compile and release the top universities in Africa yearly. For more information click here.

 

 

 

Riovic is the Uber of Insurance

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Riovic is an on-demand insurance platform founded by Phiwa Nkambule. It works like Uber and Airbnb. Consumers who do not have insurance policies can buy protection where and when they need it without the assuming of responsibility to pay monthly premiums that comes with insurance policies.

Instead of paying monthly insurance premiums you can’t afford which also cover when protection is not needed, you can simply get protection when you need it. The insurance product is instantly accessible when you need protection. There are no unnecessary waiting periods between requesting a quote, getting a response, making your payment and signing your policy involved.

The policy is built by you as the customer. You choose the risks you need to cover for that period and only get charged for them.

It released its on-demand platform for financial services, labeled the ‘Uber of Finance’ in November 2015. The platform provided financial advisers, crowd investing and peer-to-peer insurance.

In 2016 the company became the Lloyd’s of FinTech and successfully launched this revised model to eliminate insurance brokers and companies in the underwriting process by directly connecting risk managers and risk underwriters. Also labelled the “Uber of Insurance”, Riovic pioneered “private investor backed insurance” where a private investor (or group of private investors) essentially steps into the financial shoes of the insurer, accepting a stream of certain cash flows in exchange for an uncertain future liability.

Riovic had a collaboration with New Zealand’s PeerCover and was admitted into South African Rand Merchant Investment Holdings’ (RMIH) incubator for next generation financial services companies which provides the company with working space. It is also a member of Facebook’s FBStart accelerator programme.

In April 2016, it got nominated as the only insurtech company in the African FinTech Awards and also got listed on the African FinTech 100 list.

For more information click here.

PINC is an App That’ll Better Help You Understand Your Neighborhood

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Chuka Ikokwu, a tech enthusiast, realized  that the mobile and tech space experienced technology gaps between continents. It is well-documented fact that the African continent has not kept pace with technological advancement. Africa’s technological gap could be the source of its increasing economic deterioration because other developing regions are constantly upgrading their own technological capabilities, and the global marketplace has become increasingly liberalized and competitive.

He vowed to do everything he could to use mobile technology to connect people in developing markets in order to democratize local knowledge. This is how PINC was born. PINC is a mobile company that recently launched an app that lets users from anywhere in the world ask location-based questions like “What is traffic like using the Lagos-Ikoyi bridge in the mornings?” or “Where’s a decent place to get a haircut if I just moved to Ikoyi?” They are looking to start their first major market in Naija

The reason he set his sights on Nigeria is because Nigeria has the highest smartphone penetration rate in Africa and an eager crowd-sourcing community, plus it’s a tech hub, much like Kenya.

What makes them unique is that location-based Q&A is their focus, unlike products/apps like Yelp, Google, NextDoor, and Quora. They seek fundraising and more information can be found of them here.

AkiliPay is a Digital Payment Platform and that Improves Developing Economies

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AkiliPay, founded by Juma Kapaya is a FinTech company based in Dar es salaam-Tanzania, established with a vision of helping the economic development of developing economies and improve the living standards of its people through digital payments.

The digital payment solutions provided are designed to fit developing economies lifestyle and based on smart phones, contactless smart cards, online checkout pages, and payment terminals/gadgets. They’re also meant to transform cash to digital payments among individuals and businesses, help governments cut costs on cash circulation and automate tax & levy collections from businesses, help preserve our environment by encouraging the use of digital payment receipt & tickets rather than papers, and provide Diasporas with cheap, secure, convenient and instant way of sending money back home.

The company leverage blockchain technology and use a non-bank led model to form its digital payment platform.

According to statics, in Africa and Middle East the total transaction value in the Digital Payments segment amounts to $53, 455m in 2017, while the total transaction value is expected to show an annual growth rate of 15.9% resulting in the total amount of $96,557 in 2021. As more people rely on digital payments, jobs become more flexible and available, while time is cut and efficiency is increased.

For more information click here.

PayDunya Makes Online Payments Easier for Senegalese

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PayDunya is an easy-to-use universal multichannel payment gateway. A young Senegalese by the name of Aziz Yerima created the same because he wanted to revolutionize the e-commerce sector in Senegal and Ivory Coast. PayDunya allows African Internet consumers to make payments through mobile money, money transfer and credit cards. It’s API accepts payments anywhere in the world from all African mobile money wallets (80% of people) and credit/debit cards.

Aziz came up with this concept because when it comes to online payment in Africa, there is no way to pay without a credit card. Mobile money however, provides access to financial services for the unbanked population (80%) in Africa. New services and professions that generated this digital revolution are mainly based online. Africa is still a continent where everything remains to be done and the digital market could be the solution to the increased unemployment experienced by the African populations today. Africa has missed the turning point of the industrial revolution, and should not miss the turn of the digital revolution.

Paydunya proposes a solution to the problem of African Internet users to be able to pay on Internet and we hope that Paydunya will encourage the launch of new startups and business opportunities in Africa.

PayDunya acts as an intermediary, a third party who deals with the connection between the e-business or e-business and its customer for the payment of a service or property on the internet.

Through a partnership with mobile money operators (Orange Money), money transfer services (Wari, Joni Joni, etc.) and banks, national and international payments on the internet are easily carried out. For example, you can go to fabellashop.com to buy cosmetics or on marketcastor.com for your food orders and many others.

If you are a merchant, you can use the PayDunya APIs to charge you directly on your website by your customers. For those who do not have a website or those who want to make sales on social networks, PayDunya offers the Clic and Pay(CnP), which is easy to use to make sales in 1 click and finally if you do services, you can use the Payment Request (DmP) to send an invoice to your customers.

Businesses using this can increase their customer base since they are upto 7,500,000 Internet users. They can also avoid false orders by charging their customers before delivery; avoid problems of insecurity, currencies and counterfeit notes. Enjoy quick cash-flow, automated accounting, and more cash to manage while avoid queues in banks.

For more information click here.

Taxify Partners China’s Largest Ride-Sharing Company, Didi Chuxing

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Taxify has announced a strategic partnership with China’s mobile transportation platform, Didi Chuxing to accelerate its growth.

The company revealed in a statement that under this partnership, Didi will invest in and collaborate with it to support its future growth and innovation across its diversified markets

Didi Chuxing said the partnership will contribute to cross-regional smart transportation links between Asia, Europe, and Africa.

“Taxify will utilise this partnership to solidify our position in core markets in Europe and Africa,” said Taxify CEO Markus Villig.

“We believe Didi is the best partner to help us become the most popular and efficient transport option in Europe and Africa.”

Taxify operates in 18 countries, including South Africa, Kenya, and Hungary, and provides ride-hailing services to over 2.5 million users.

Didi Chuxing is considered the world’s leading mobile transportation platform. It offers a full range of mobile tech-based mobility options for over 400 million users, including Taxi, Premier, Express, Hitch, Luxe, Bus, Minibus, Chauffeur, Car Rental, Enterprise Solutions and bike-sharing.

1mambu Wants to be the Angolan Equivalent of Facebook

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1mambu.com, created by Jose Soba, is a virtual community on the internet, created especially for Angolans and is available in both English and Portuguese. 1mambu.com is the virtual bridge connecting Angola to the world and the world to Angola, with innovative applications that guarantee a different and fun social network experience. It allows members to share diverse content such as multi-media content (Videos, Music, Photos), comments, SMS, PDF documents, blogs, and questionnaires, similar to uploads and shares made on Facebook and Twitter.

One very interesting feature is the possibility of sharing content with the world’s 100 best social networks and search engines through the Social Share application, created by the team and that will help in the expansion and dissemination of national content on the internet.

Basically 1mambu is an online community based on communication, fun and e-commerce between Angolans around the Globe.

1mambu believes in a strong need to unite Angolans online and increase the volume of digital content from Angola available on the internet, for example brands, local artists, tourism info, local scientific studies and more.

Besides social networking, it also provides tools for business which include official pages to promote any type of company, and enable exposure of product or service a user might want to showcase. 1mambu also offers the possibility to sell digital goods that can be easily downloaded into any device after purchase for example music, audio lessons, e-books, manuals, video lessons, software and other digital content from Angolan professionals.

It even gives credit points to users from the activities done on imambu such as post comments , take questions , post photos videos and so on. Users can use these to send virtual gifts and buy products in the imambu store.

For more information click here.

Tuteria Helps You Find High Quality Tutors Quickly and Easily

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In 2005, Godwin Benson taught a man’s two children Mathematics for a month. He was extremely good at teaching Math, so he taught them well, yet didn’t get paid a dime out of the N9,000 fee he had agreed on.

Moreover, this man’s house was approximately 10 minutes’ walk from his, yet it took him almost 2 months to find Godwin, meaning he had lost 2 months of active tutoring. And progressively, Godwin realized that so many people wanted to learn various things but had no easy or reliable way to find someone who can teach them, even when that potential person stays nearby. Those who find a tutor usually get only one referral without the ability to compare and hire their best fit at the right price, and sometimes they don’t get quality service they would have asked for.

This realization resulted in the commencement of Tuteria, an online platform that connects people seeking to learn anything with those willing to teach, as well as ensures safety, accountability and quality service delivery. They help people find and book private lessons with competent local tutors, instructors, coaches and mentors for whatever they wish to learn – from academic subjects, to various exams and even skills like dance, swimming, and photography.

Firstly, they manually review every tutor applicant as well as schedule an interview to ensure that they have the kind of high quality in personality, passion and communication that can succeed. Those who don’t pass this stage are not approved, and cannot re-apply till after 3 months.

Tutors go through various stages of verification and evaluation before they can teach any particular subject; and are also continuously evaluated to ensure they maintain high quality while on the site. The app has a ratings system, and allows students to book lessons using an upfront online payment system.

Tutors are then paid once the lessons have been confirmed, and Tuteria takes 15 to 30% commission for each paid lesson.

The same platform was awarded prize money worth $32,000 in the Engineering Innovation Awards, of which Benson beat 16 participants.

The ultimate goal is to widen Tuteria’s offering well beyond Nigeria, while including online classes and video courses as well.

For more information click here.

Easypr.ng, Africa’s First Digital Content Distribution Platform Debuts In Lagos

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Easypr.ng, an online marketing and media content distribution platform has launched in Lagos.

Through the platform, individual and corporate organisations in need of public relations and other marketing services can customize required service to suit their budget plans.

It provides access to hundreds of newspapers and online news publishing platforms across Africa.

Companies and individuals looking to distribute press materials such as such as Press releases, news features, interviews and photo news, can create the contents and distribute through the platform by paying a fee depending on the number of media platforms required.

Users can also through the website, www.easypr.ng buy other marketing services such as digital marketing solutions including social media, advertising services, content writing and consultancy services.

Speaking about the solution, Co-founder, Easypr.ng, Afam Anyika said: “Our intention is to make sure that we deepen access to marketing services and at the same time make the process as seamless as possible.

“Through our solution, companies and individuals especially those without an idea on how to start, could get everything that they require from the platform without leaving the comfort of their homes or business places.

“For startups and individuals looking to get their word out there, there is dearth of marketing information available to make informed marketing decisions. That is the gap we have bridged with Easypr.ng. We understand the deep importance of SME’s to the nation and Africa’s economic growth. Put side by side the scarcely available marketing know-how for these businesses, our service aims to bridge the divide with a mission to significantly scale the SME sector in our part of the world, with success being the direct impact on varying economic/ market indicators.

“We not only provide these information, we give you the leverage to run a marketing campaign from the comfort of your house or office without wasting time on meetings and additional fees as seen with marketing agencies. It is more of a Do-It-Yourself for marketing.

“More so, this is the first time we are having an Afrocentric press distribution platform. We have access to hundreds of newspapers and blogs across Africa. And we provide access to these platforms at very cost effective rates. So, no one says you cannot launch a product in Ghana or Kenya while you are still here in Nigeria and at little or no cost. We simply want to sell Nigeria/Africa to the world.”

 

Izyshop is an E-commerce Platform Breaking Boundaries in Mozambique

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Over 300 million small and medium-size farmers across Africa and other emerging markets rely on agriculture to survive. However, due to their size, they have no direct access to traditional retail channels and as a result are forced to live on less than 20USD per month. On the other side, thousands of customers are looking to buy these fresher and naturally grown products but are faced with so many inefficiencies on the process, ranging from bad traffic to long lines in stores or the big mess on the street markets that turn buying fresh and vegetables a highly inconvenient experience.

Noting these concerns Titos Munhequete founded Izyshop, a multi-awarded online supermarket, connecting local producers and service providers to consumer markets through a simple, convenient and trustworthy platform with home delivery, changing the way people shop for groceries and improving the lives of small and medium farmers and producers.

Today with Izyshop, not only are customers ordering online locally grown fresh and vegetables and receiving them in their homes in the same day, but the platform has helped farmers move to over 100USD of monthly income.

The site was launched in 2015, and had seen massive growth in short span of time. While other e-commerce platforms such as Jumia required funding to be able to operate on a large scale, Izyshop has been operating with founder funding. It gained 1,000 plus customers in one year, holds about 60 per cent of its own inventory and runs its own delivery service. This allowed the startup to turn up a profit in its first year.

 

More recently Izyshop had sought aid from African VC and advisory firm HAVAIC to assit the startup raise funds of up to $3000.

 

In addition to gaining high demand in Mozambique, the startup has left its mark in various competitions such as the Seedstars Maputo competition in July 2016 where it took second place. It was also selected as one of 17 African startups to participate at the Global Impact Accelerator (GIA) held at the Slush event in Helsinki, Finland in December last year.

For more information click here.

 

EXCLUSIVE: Ringier acquires 100% of BuyrentKenya

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BuyRentKenya has now been fully acquired by Ringier One Africa Media and will phase into ROAM (a joint venture in the making between Ringier and One Africa Media) in a move to build Africa’s largest classifieds group.

Speaking exclusively to TechMoran, Jamie Pujara, Co-founder and CEO BuyRentKenya said he and his co-founder will be leaving the company to focus on new challenges and Lizzie Costabir (who is the current marketing manager will take over the firm under ROAM.

“Nico and I are extremely pleased that BuyRentKenya will be fully integrated into ROAM. We believe with their leadership, expertise and experience we will take a giant stride forward in realizing our vision of making property search and listing easier and more transparent in Kenya,” Jamie told TechMoran.

Founded in 2012, by Jamie Pujara and Nicolas Adamjee, BuyRentKenya.com’s vision was to make property search and listing easier, more credible and more transparent. In March 2014, the firm raised an undisclosed amount from One Africa Media for a minority shareholding after a series of suitors failed to match the founders demands.
In the 5 years since the two started, the site has had over 5 million visitors, has partnered with over 500 agencies, listed over 50,000 properties online and raised investment from One Africa Media (OAM) all of which have been significant milestones.

ROAM  had earlier acquired assets of One Africa Media in Kenya, Nigeria and several other parts of Africa such as Cheki and but One Africa Media only had minority shareholding in BuyRentKenya and PrivateProperty South Africa. The two property verticals didnt agree to ROAM’s early valuation of their assets and operated independently inside the new outfit. PrivateProperty found a buyer in Naspers. BuyRentKenya has now been fully absorbed into ROAM and this is good news for both the team as well as for ROAM. BuyRentKenya needed a partner to compete effectively compete with Jumia House formerly Lamudi and the several new players eying the East African property market after PropertyLeo died.

“Today I’d like to announce a new chapter in our company,” said Jamie. “BuyRentKenya has been acquired by ROAM (a joint venture of Ringier and OAM) Africa’s largest classifieds group. The ROAM team brings a wealth of experience in the classifieds business, synergies with other businesses and expertise in technology which we believe will place buyrentkenya in a better position to succeed.”

“I am incredibly grateful for what we have accomplished in growing from a small startup to now being part of ROAM. I have no doubt that this move is in the best interests of the company and will help to achieve the vision that Nicolas and I had set out in 2012. I will be watching and supporting buyrentkenya from the sidelines as Lizzie and the ROAM management team lead the company forward,” Jamie concluded in a letter seen by TechMoran.

For ROAM, this is a great move after a botched Ghafla acquisition.

E-commerce Website 9jmarket, Wants to be the Next Jumia

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9jamarket, founded by Nelson Ugochukwu, is an online market platform where sellers can offer their products or services online by simply uploading the necessary pictures accompanied with a description and contact information.

Initially, 9jamarket started out as a classified ads website but as it grew, it gave birth to four subdivisions.

Today, 9jamarket Company has 5 main services they offer and each of these services are offered by a subdivision of the company.

The services include:

  • Platform for posting of free classified ads: Here you can advertise your product, what you do and other classified ads without having to pay anything.
  • Platform for buying and selling of freelance services:  they provide a platform where Nigerian freelancers can sell their services and people can buy from them in a safe and secured platform that is scam and fraud-free.
  • Platform for creating your own online store: We also provide Nigerian sellers with the option of creating their own online store with ease. Within minutes, one’s online store will be created and they can add as many products they want. Customers can then make orders and pay directly to the site.

Statitics show that just in the Middle East and Africa,  revenue in the e-commerce market amounted to $16,779m this year, with revenue expected to show an annual growth rate of 12.3% which will result in a market volume of $26, 685m by 2021.  With continued growth in this sector, it’s no surprise that 9jmarket want a piece of the pie. They seek to bridge that gap between Nigerian sellers and buyers and become the largest online classified/e-commerce website in Nigeria.

For more information click here.

E-pocket is an International Online Payment Platform Born Out of a Lack of Proper Banking Facilities

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While Somaliland is a self-declared state of four-million people, it is not internationally recognized as an independent state. As a consequence, its currency, the Somaliland shilling currently has no official exchange rate.

This makes purchasing anything online, using the dollar or any other foreign currency basically impossible.

Mohamed Dahir, the founder of Epocket, experienced difficulty in buying goods or services online since there is no international bank, MasterCard or Visa. This made it particularly hard paying for online advertising on Facebook to market his businesses.

Part of the problem is Somaliland’s low banking penetration. Mobile money, however, is widely used and relies on US dollars. So Dahir came up with a solution, called ePocket that connects mobile money wallets to international prepaid cards.

Once you have ePocket account you can activate an international prepaid card and load your funds to that account to enable international purchasing and selling.

Customers can reload their international prepaid cards at the comfort of their home, office or wherever they are whenever they need to, so that they can shop (products, entertainment, education, etc), send, receive, pay and get paid online.

ePocket, while still in the product development phase was one of 12 ideas selected to participate in the 2016 Innovate Accelerator programme and competition. While it did not win, Dahir received major exposure and networked with potential investors.

For more information click here.

Swappaholics Aims to Digitalize Batter Trade

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Swappaholics, founded by Francis Obirikorang, is an interactive portal that empowers individuals and businesses to exchange products, skills or services in a mutually beneficial social setting. Swappaholics encourages cashless trading and enables everyone to trade irrespective of their financial status.

Swappaholics is registered as an incorporated offshore company with its headquarters in the British Virgins Islands. The startup was birthed in Ghana, and rapidly extended into the Nigerian, Kenyan and UAE markets.

Swappaholics creates a swapping culture where products and skills become ones social currency. It reinvents the ancient barter trade into a 21st century online platform that empowers individuals and businesses to connect and swap products, skills and services in a social setting that doesn’t require any money. The site focuses on three different aspects; product swapping, skills swapping and car swapping.

This was the first ever African Startup to make it into the Dubai based seed accelerator, TURN 8, which was a major achievement for the startup.

Swappaholics is changing the status quo to trade; introducing a new paradigm shift that eliminates the need for physical cash; empowering people to use their skills, product or service to trade.

People are often prevented from trading because they always don’t have cash-on-hand, goods and services are quite expensive and it costs an arm and a leg to sometimes hire freelancers and skilled professionals. Businesses also wish they had easier ways of trading their services or products for other things. Offline swapping of goods, skills and services is already a booming market across Africa. All they have done was bring this experience online, making it feature-rich yet very simple, with a social twist.

For more information click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Strategic Partnerships and New Products Key to eTranzact’s Continued Profitability

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Premier e-payments solution provider, eTranzact International PLC held its 13th annual general meeting at the Civic Center, Victoria Island, Lagos on the 27th of July, 2016.

In attendance at the AGM were the executive and non-executive members of the board led by the Chairman, Mr Felix Ohiwerei, OFR; Mr Valentine Obi, Founder and CEO; and other members of the board.

The AGM had increased shareholder attendance and participation with general excitement about the company’s continuous profitability position and consistent dividend sharing in spite of the macroeconomic realities of the country in 2016.

Profitability and Dividends

eTranzact consolidated its dominance in key sectors of the industry in 2016, improving strategic partnerships and launching new products.

Gross revenue for the year 2016 was N10.4bn representing a 20% growth compared to 2015. Operating profit was 620m and Profit before tax(PBT) was 449.4m.

The board of directors approved the payment of a 10 kobo dividend to shareholders for the period.

Growth drivers

The key drivers of eTranzact’s growth in 2016 were strengthened collaboration with partner banks, major innovations across its mobile banking suite, new product releases and strategic alliances.

The Future

eTranzact has taken steps to increase profitability of new relationships, enhance and deepen existing ones, and explore new partnerships locally and internationally.

Speaking on the company’s performance for the period, Mr Felix Ohiwerei, OFR, Chairman of the Board, said “As a company we continue to demonstrate our understanding of the benefits of strategic alliances and the potential business opportunities these can create. We have fostered new relationships, enhanced and deepened existing ones and explored newer opportunities within our ongoing associations with existing partners. Our alliances contributed significantly to some of the improved financial performance we achieved in 2016.

I would like to take this opportunity to inform you all that this will be my last AGM as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and as a member of the Board. From the beginning, the Board in collaboration with the management team, have worked hard to build a world class organization with global operating standards. We have made a lot of progress over the years and we keep getting better

We are poised and committed to be a regional leader in the medium term and in the long term, a global leader in the electronic and mobile payment industry. To this end, we will continue to deliver secure, cost effective and innovative electronic and mobile payment services that are compliant with globally recognized standards”.

Also speaking, the Founder and CEO, eTranzact International Plc, Mr. Valentine Obi said:

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of the eTranzact board, Mr Felix Ohiwerei, OFR for his outstanding service and commitment to the vision, mission and values of our company.

Mr Ohiwerei has over the years shown us the true meaning of value based leadership demonstrating a continuous commitment to excellence, strategic planning and hard work. He leaves a strong legacy that we will work hard to keep up with and we will continue to execute our long term strategy and deliver on the mission and vision of the company.

I will also like to appreciate the board, management and staff of eTranzact for their doggedness continued innovation, drive and commitment to the vision and mission of the company.

2016 was a year that required special focus as we launched new products and extended our philosophy of making payments simple to other more complex industries as part of our innovation drive.

The rewards of our efforts have stayed consistent with an annual revenue growth rate of 70% that we hope to continue.

We promise to continue to make payments simple, and innovating and creating solutions that transform the lives of people in Africa”.

 

 

Total And Worldline Partner With African Fintech InTouch To Support Guichet Unique Deployment

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 Total and Worldline have signed binding technological, commercial and financing agreements with African fintech InTouch .

Under the agreements, Total and Worldline will support the deployment of the Guichet Unique solution in eight African countries — Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, the Republic of Guinea and Senegal.

Guichet Unique provides retail networks with a unique customer-friendly device that makes it possible to securely and seamlessly accept all means of payment, including mobile money, payments through private label cards and cash, and to distribute third party services, such as subscriptions to media content, bill payment, money transfer, card top-up, banking and insurance.

Already deployed in more than 170 Total service stations and more than 600 independent points of sale in Senegal, the Guichet Unique platform manages more than 30,000 transactions per day in that country.As part of these agreements:

  • Total and Worldline will fund the first phase of deployment of the Guichet Unique solution in the above-mentioned eight countries and become shareholders in InTouch, alongside its founder, Omar Cissé.
  • Total will deploy the Guichet Unique solution in its service station network in these eight countries, with possible further deployment in another 30 African and Middle Eastern countries. This initiative aligns with Total’s overall strategy of offering innovative solutions to customers and facilitating their journey.
  • InTouch is targeting deployment of the solution in more than 5,000 retail network and independent points of sale in each of these countries.
  • Worldline, on top of supporting InTouch through its payment expertise, will provide a secure and industrial hosting infrastructure to enable the pan-African deployment and run of Guichet Unique.

Timing of the Transaction

Closing of the transaction is subject to the approval of the competent anti-trust authorities.

Targeted Training for Business Reporters to Curb Conveyor Belt Journalism

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The recent past has seen the rise of conveyor belt journalism in most news entities across all platforms of radio, television, online and newspapers. Just as its name suggests, it involves conveying news from the source to the audience just as it is. No interrogating facts as presented, no getting the story behind the story, no analysis, or spin-offs from the original story. Just the good old press release that is most likely to cover the topic at hand for that particular time. All these lead to generic news being out there for the audience consumption.

One of the casualties of this kind of journalism has been the Business news which most people think is not popular as compared to the heated noise generated by categories such as politics. It has however, been established that this is not entirely true as business conferences and personalities that have come into the country have generated so much interest from members of the public as evidenced by the raving and sharing on social media platforms.

Some of the cases that come to mind are the coming to Kenya by the founder of Alibaba.com Jack Ma who is the richest man in China. He came with 38 investors eager to invest in the country. The other one is the Global Entrepreneurship Summit that saw Former US president Barack Obama jet into the country with investors.

The reading of the budget is not just a boring monologue by a minister as we used to take it either. Nowadays members of the public keenly follow the proceedings.

Given the interest in business news by businessmen, investors, a techno savvy public, consumers, governments the money and economic stakes involved, it therefore, follows that business reporting should be done well and given the amount time it deserves.

 

Conveyor belt journalism will not work here and this means that the reasons why journalists prefer this kind of reporting need to be interrogated. If it is just plain laziness then that can only be handled at the company level. However, if it is about lack of know-how, stakeholders will have to come together and handle this issue to ensure that there is quality and not just quantity when it comes to news reporting.

Kenya’s technology giant Safaricom noticed this gap and launched the Safaricom Business Journalism Fellowship at the Strathmore Business School. The program is a mid-career professional training that takes in 15 of the best business reporters and takes them through a three-modular program for eight months. At the end of the program, the journalist will be expected to have completed a 30-hour credit course before graduating.

Thanks to this program, journalists are able to interpret the budget on their own without being reduced to parroting the cabinet secretary of finance during its reading every year. Data journalism is also growing as people are able to interpret data which entails hundreds of stories which can determine the current business environment in the country.

They can decipher the current state of the economy which many people quote but have no idea what it means. Sometimes it can be hard for the layman to understand business language and with their journalism skills; it will now be easier to tell the story in a simpler way and have everyone in the living room long after the politics stories are done.

Things become easier when you know what you are doing and just being pulled from the politics or sports desk to go cover the latest stories and getting frustrated in the process because they do not understand anything. Specialization ensures that journalists have a total grasp of what they are reporting and will use press releases to write the skeleton of what they want to report about particular stories while filling the body with in-depth analysis and background.

Well done stories will ensure that the public knows what is going on in their country and accordingly. Visitors will also know where to invest their hard-earned money.

 

 

 

 

Rethink Education Allows You Access Your High School Textbooks Directly on Your Phone

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Forty Three Percent of South African high school learners do not have access to textbooks or academic content; however the majority of these learners do have a feature phone.

Rethink Education, based in South Africa and founded by Storme Magee is a web app which currently provides 10 textbooks worth of Maths and Science content in a single mobile application. The content is CAPS aligned and is designed in an easy to read chat-style format for interactive learning. This learning tool can be used alongside teaching and tutoring. Their teacher dashboard allows teachers and tutors to track their student’s progress and engagement on the platform. Their platform is incredibly data lite (1 chapter uses under 100KB) and does not compete for any storage on students phones.

Douglas Hoernle, co-founder of Rethink Education, got the idea to commence the startup from watching university students engage with chat rooms to ask their fellow students and lecturers questions. He saw how easily a lecturer could respond to fairly difficult problems using an online chat interface.

Digestible content is more appreciated, especially when it comes to mobile phones. This is the main reason Rethink creates content, based on the high school curriculum, that’s easier to interact with.

Rethink chose Mxit as one of its platforms. The average user, of which there are 6.5-million, spends more than 90 minutes a day on the website. This method allows Rethink to reach more students via various devices, as long as they have an internet connection.

Instead of teachers naively relying on tedious handouts to keep students up-to-date and preoccupied, learners can be encouraged to study via the web application. The platform is cloud-based and can be accessed via PC, mobile or tablet.

In 2014, rethink managed to scoop up nearly 400 000 unique visits and has rolled out the product to over fifty schools across the country. The schools who’ve paid for the service range from under resourced ones to those keen on new tech solutions.

Rethink Education has been the solution for every high school learner when it comes to comprehending Maths and Science. Students have access to material from grade 8 to grade 12.  Learners have revolutionized the way they study by learning on the thing they all carry around with them all the time- their phones.

For more information click here.