MAY 16, 2022

8 min Read

African Tech Weekly Recap: May 9 to May 13th, 2022

Welcome to our weekly recap where we share the most important news of the week in the African Tech Ecosystem 🌍

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🌍 Pan-African fintech Interswitch raises $110m investment

Image from TechCrunch

Highlights

  • Nigeria-based payments company Interswitch has secured a $110 million joint investment from LeapFrog Investments and Tana Africa Capital to scale its digital payment services across the continent.
  • The news comes almost three years since Interswitch’s last disclosed funding round when Visa paid $200 million for a 20% stake in the company. At $1 billion (its last know valuation), Interswitch is one of Africa’s largest electronic payments and infrastructure companies.
  • The fintech powers much of the rails for Nigeria’s online banking system and is well-known for its point-of-sale terminals, online consumer payment platforms, Quickteller, and Verve, the biggest domestic debit card scheme in Africa, issuing over 35 million active cards since launch.

Source: TechCrunch

Our Takeaway

Africa’s tech industry is increasingly seeing mega funding rounds (above $100M) poured into growth-stage companies — like Interswitch’s latest raise — with the fintech sector leading the way. Last year, the ecosystem witnessed 14 megadeals coming from 12 companies and 48% of total equity funding went to these deals. Before 2021, only 8 megadeals had been recorded in the entire history of the African funding ecosystem.

🇪🇬Egypt’s Paymob raises $50m Series B round

Image from TechCrunch

Highlights

  • Egypt-based fintech Paymob has raised $50 million in Series B funding, led by Kora Capital, PayPal Ventures, and Clay Point.
  • Founded in 2015 by Islam Shawky, Alain El Hajj, and Mostafa El Menessy, Paymob provides online and offline merchants with digital payment solutions.
  • The new funding will be used to help the company to expand its product range, enhance its presence in the Egyptian market, and expand into new markets across the Middle East and Africa region.

Source: TechCrunch

Our Takeaway

Egypt’s huge, cash-dominated small business economy offers strong opportunities for fintech companies like Paymob, which continue to witness exponential growth in the market. The startup currently has 100,000 local and international merchants using its payment gateways and plans to reach a third of Egypt’s 3 million SMEs in the next few years. That mission will be powered by its most recent fundraising round, which is the largest ever fintech Series B in the country and brings the total funding of Paymob to over $68.5 million — making it one of the most funded companies in the region.

🇰🇪Kenya’s economy records decade-best growth in 2021

Nairobi: Image from The Star

Highlights

  • Kenya last year experienced the fastest economic growth in 11 years, according to Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani.
  • East Africa’s biggest economy expanded by 7.5% in 2021 and growth would have accelerated to 9% in 2022 were it not for challenges such as food and fuel inflation, scarcity of grains especially wheat, and the weakening of the shilling against the dollar.
  • Kenya now expects slower expansion this year due to the spillover effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Source: Bloomberg

Our Takeaway

Kenya’s official growth figures for 2021 place the country among the fastest-growing in Africa and mark a strong recovery from the previous year, when GDP fell by -3%. Furthermore, the growth reflects the resilience of African economies at a time when the impact of Covid-19 is still being felt in emerging economies globally. For this year, however, the International Monetary Fund sees Kenya’s growth slowing to 5.7% in 2022 while the Central Bank of Kenya projects an expansion of 5.9%, after the strong rebound.

🌍 Paradigm enters Africa with a $30m round for Jambo

Image from Jambo’s Website

Highlights

  • Jambo, a Congo-based startup building a Web 3 user acquisition platform has raised $30 million in a Series A funding round led by Paradigm, marking the crypto investing giant’s first investment in Africa.
  • The startup will deploy the funds into boosting its personnel strength by doubling its team across Africa to provide the critical talent required to educate the continent on the potential of Web3 technology.
  • Jambo also has expansion plans as it looks to enter 15+ additional cities by the end of the year to have over 200,000 active community members, students, and ambassadors affiliated with its educational efforts.

Source: Zawya

Our Takeaway

Africa is a fast-growing region for crypto, with a 1,200% growth in the market in the year ended June 2021 to $106 billion, according to the World Economic Forum. Last month, the Central African Republic adopted bitcoin as legal tender. In November, Paradigm launched a record-breaking $2.5 billion crypto fund, topping the prior $2.2 billion record held by Andreessen Horowitz. Meanwhile, this funding comes after Jambo disclosed a $7.5 million seed round in February, with Coinbase (COIN) and Alameda Research among the backers.

💰Africa accounts for 70% of the world’s $1trn mobile money market

Image from GSMA/Quartz

Highlights

  • Africa now accounts for 70% of the world’s $1 trillion mobile money value after mobile money transactions on the continent rose 39% to $701.4 billion in 2021 from $495 billion in 2020.
  • GSMA’s figures released recently show the volume of mobile money transactions jumped 23% to 36.7 billion in 2021 from 27.5 billion in 2020.
  • In the review period, registered mobile wallets in Africa topped 621 million, a 17% increase from 562 million in 2020. There are now over 184 million active wallets on the continent compared to 161 million just over a year before.

Source: GSMA/Quartz

Our Takeaway

Africa has in recent years seen exponential growth in digital financial services, driven by increasing mobile penetration. More than half of Africans remain without formal bank accounts but most own mobile phones through which they access basic financial services. The growth of mobile money, tracked by GSMA, indicates that the future of banking on the continent is mobile, with plenty of opportunities for mobile-focused fintech ventures and investors backing them.

💰Coinbase-backed MARA gets $23m for its pan-African crypto exchange

Image from TechCrunch

Highlights

  • MARA is a new pan-African crypto exchange looking to sit at the intersection of the emerging government- and retail-led crypto adoption in Africa.
  • The company has announced the raise of $23 million in equity and token sale from investors that include high-profile crypto and web3 investors such as Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research (FTX), and Distributed Global.
  • MARA plans to launch a suite of products, including a custodial retail crypto wallet, a pro-exchange for professional traders, and a layer-one blockchain that aims to become the go-to network for developers to build Africa-focused crypto and blockchain products. The retail app will launch in July, with the exchange coming after that.

Source: Bloomberg

Our Takeaway

According to Chainalysis, the value of Africa’s cryptocurrency market rose to $105.6 billion between July 2020 and June 2021, a 1,200% surge, despite repeated efforts by governments on the continent to stifle adoption. Considering the prevailing unfavorable macroeconomic conditions in most African countries that have so far propelled adoption by Africans persist — including weak currencies, high unemployment rates, and low-income levels — we anticipate increased crypto uptake going forward, therefore validating MARA’s vision.

🇳🇬Nigerian clean-tech startup Kaltani raises $4m

Image from DisruptAfrica

Highlights

  • Nigerian clean-tech plastic waste recycling company Kaltani has raised $4 million in seed funding to expand its recycling operations across the country.
  • Founded in Nigeria by Engineer Obi Charles Nnanna, Kaltani aims to solve Africa’s growing plastic waste crisis by promoting the circular economy and recycling best practices.
  • The startup plans to use the funding to open 20 new collection and aggregation centers across Nigeria and increase its staff strength to over 500 people. These updates will augment Kaltani’s capacity substantially, allowing the company to recycle up to 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year.

Source: Disrupt Africa

Our Takeaway

In Nigeria, the bulk of recyclable waste collection and processing is carried out by informal waste pickers and processors, with unregistered SMEs dominating the billion-dollar recycling sector. Like Kaltani, many startups have emerged looking to help these informal players manage their funds and operations; improve the waste material collection process by minimizing human interference; and mitigate typical losses involved in the supply chain. Scale may be hard to find for startups in this space but it’s a good sign to see investors back founders that are solving the crucial socio-economic and environmental problem of waste management.

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See you next week 👋

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This material has been presented for informational and educational purposes only. The views expressed in the articles above are generalized and may not be appropriate for all investors. The information contained in this article should not be construed as, and may not be used in connection with, an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or hold, an interest in any security or investment product. There is no guarantee that past performance will recur or result in a positive outcome. Carefully consider your financial situation, including investment objective, time horizon, risk tolerance, and fees prior to making any investment decisions. No level of diversification or asset allocation can ensure profits or guarantee against losses. Articles do not reflect the views of DABA ADVISORS LLC and do not provide investment advice to Daba’s clients. Daba is not engaged in rendering tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult a qualified professional for this type of service.

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