MAY 25, 2022
3 min Read
Investor Updates: May 25 2022
Egypt’s Esaal raises $1.7m to scale across MENA
- Esaal, one of the largest technology platforms for online health and wellness consultations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, has completed a $1.7 million seed funding round, led by A15.
- A15 has been backing Esaal since it was founded to solve the rising health needs in Egypt. This tranche brings the company’s total investment to date to $3M since being founded in 2018.
- The startup plans to continue to deploy this tranche of capital to scale its expansion across the MENA region, further invest in product and brand development, and increase talent acquisition.
There’s a huge unmet demand for medical consultation in Egypt due to the low supply of doctors. As of 2018, Egypt’s doctor to citizen ratio stood at 1:2,000. Since launching, Esaal has aggregated over 350 consultants covering different fields on the platform who have delivered health and wellness services to almost 1 million unique users; ensuring access to a sizable market for the health experts on the platform. Its services are currently available in 8 countries including Egypt, KSA, Tunisia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Palestine, and Iraq.
Uber hits 1 billion rides in Africa
- Global technology company, Uber has facilitated one billion trips in Africa since entering the market less than 10 years ago.
- According to the company, over 10 billion kilometers of trips have been completed, and “this is equivalent to traveling to the moon and back over 5500 times.”
- The company adds that Uber and Uber Eats have collectively reached over 30 million riders and eaters in Sub-Saharan Africa during the same period.
Uber’s one-billionth trip milestone in Africa, in less than a decade, is a testament to the huge opportunity in proferring services to the 1.2 billion people on the continent. In the past year, the ride-hailing giant has expanded to over 21 cities in South Africa, two cities in Ghana, four new cities in Nigeria, and four cities/areas for delivery in Kenya. It plans to launch in more regional towns and cities this year.
Citigroup, BII sign $100m risk-sharing lending deal for Africa
- British International Investment (BII) and U.S. bank Citigroup Inc recently signed a $100 million risk-sharing facility aimed at boosting lending to small businesses across Africa by up to four times that amount.
- The deal between Citi and Britain’s development finance institution aims to help Citi expand its supply-chain lending on the continent, targeting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that usually find it hard to access financing.
- The partnership is aimed at providing capital in local currencies to markets where lending to SMEs is risky because of an uncertain business environment and currency fluctuations.
The private sector, comprising small and medium businesses, is widely believed to be an engine capable of driving inclusive and sustainable growth in Africa and has the potential to accelerate socioeconomic transformation on the continent. However, overcoming the daunting challenges facing players in the sector, from funding to mentorship and other forms of support, is needed to realize this potential. But with an estimated trade finance gap of $81 billion in the continent, the new facility—although commendable—is unlikely to make a dent in Africa’s supply chain financing needs.