By Modupe Gbadeyanka
An easy-to-integrate Application Programmable Interfaces (API) platform designed for developers for creating digital products and solutions for Africans has been introduced by Interswitch.
The interface has internal APIs, partner APIs, and infrastructure APIs designed to empower Africa’s digital ecosystem. It also serves as a one-stop shop for innovators in the tech ecosystem who seek to build viable, market-fit products that address local needs.
To attract innovators, the firm, which prides itself as Africa’s leading integrated payments and digital commerce company, has introduced a referral system to reward developers who refer merchants to use its APIs.
At the unveiling of the API platform on Thursday, August 11, 2022, at the Zone Tech Park, Gbagada, Lagos, the Managing Director of Paymate, Interswitch Group, Mr Muyiwa Asagba, stated that the tech giant remains focused on providing digitally empowering products for developers and business owners who are crafting solutions for the everyday African.
Over time, Interswitch has continued to champion the development of the continent’s technology ecosystem through strategic partnerships and the democratization of developer and business integration tools that help tech creators and small business owners produce market-ready products within a short period.
“For two decades, Interswitch has consolidated its efforts in its support for the growth of the African tech ecosystem by availing developers with valuable resources that enable them to build commercially viable products with ease.
“Away from that, we also take seriously the need to innovate so as to stay ahead of the pack, which is a core part of who we are as an evolving technology brand,” Mr Asagba said.
On his part, the Business Development Manager for Merchant Acquisition at Interswitch, Mr Sunday Olaniyan stated that, “Developers will earn 5% of every transaction fee that Interswitch charges on their referred merchants for 5 years.”
Also speaking at the unveiling event, Abdul-Hafiz Ibrahim, Group Head, Engineering, Paymate, Interswitch, noted, “Launching our API Platform was driven by the need to make API integration seamless for developers without the bureaucratic hurdles that have characterized the API-integrating system over the past few years.
“Not only are we making products and solutions development faster, but we are also creating an interface where developers can communicate, share ideas and offer solutions at an accelerated pace.”
To expand its goal of creating a sustainable African tech hub, Interswitch remains a firm supporter of initiatives that spur conversations around the evolution of the Nigerian, and in general, African tech ecosystem. This was expressed in its recent support of the Nigerian Fintech Forum where seasoned experts across sectors including Fintechs, telcos, and banks were in the audience.
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Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN’s Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.
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By Adedapo Adesanya
US and African-based blockchain payments startup, Bitmama Incorporated, has raised an additional $1.650 million, bringing its total pre-seed round to about $2 million.
Bitmama closed this funding from a group of foreign and domestic investors 10 months after its initial pre-seed round of $350,000.
The latest round was led by Unicorn Growth Capital and Launch Africa Ventures, with participation from Adaverse and follow-on from Flori Ventures, which led its earlier pre-seed round.
New investors in the round include Tekedia Capital, GreenHouse Capital, ODBA, Five35 Ventures, Chrysalis Capital, Enrich Africa, Thrive Africa, Angellist Ventures, and angel investors including, CELO founders; Rene Reinsberg, and Marek Olszewski, and Honey Ogundeyi.
Bitmama’s new pre-seed round will be used to expand the company’s operational presence, strengthen its team across different markets, consolidate its product offerings, and plot market penetration across Africa, while rapidly scaling new use cases for cryptocurrency within the continent.
At present, the company’s major products are the Bitmama exchange, which allows users to access virtual assets and explore several cryptocurrency use cases, then Changera, a social payment solution that allows non-crypto-savvy customers to use their money without limits, from anywhere in the world.
Currently in three African markets; Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya, Bitmama’s users are able to trade several cryptocurrencies, use their debit cards for regular online payments, pay utilities, and perform transactions such as staking to hedge against currency devaluation.
Bitmama has built a distributed remote team across Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya, working to democratize the highly fragmented payment system in Africa.
The goal, according to the team, is to leverage the blockchain in building solutions to power seamless peer-to-peer payments across the continent.
Speaking on this, Ms Ruth Iselema, Founder and CEO of Bitmama Inc. while commenting on the round said ”Bitmama has made a number of strides in the past year. We’ve rolled out two products, both of which are fast closing in on 100,000 users across the African market and recording impressive daily active users across our range of product offerings despite the market dynamics.
“We are building Africa’s most user-friendly, innovative blockchain company, and we are glad to have the backing of seasoned investors and partners who have walked similar turfs. We are privileged to learn from their blended experiences across corporate and blockchain business verticals. We’re confident of the results we’ve achieved so far and we’re set to build the next big solution that the market deserves.”
Also speaking on the round, Janade Du Plessis, Managing General Partner at Launch Africa said “As a prominent Pan-African VC fund, we see our partnership with Bitmama as a way to truly allow all Africans with the ability to trade and manage cryptocurrencies, and digital assets conveniently and universally, creating a significant impact on allowing more people to trade and transact across Africa. This is something that we specifically value in our Fund and what Bitmama in particular delivers.”
Hema Vallabh, Founding Partner at Five35 Ventures said “Being a leading female-focused VC fund, we at Five35 Ventures look forward to helping Ruth and her dynamic team scale Bitmama, especially seeing the growth of Changera, the remittance platform that allows all Africans to transact internationally at much cheaper rates than established remittance companies in the market.”
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Brazilian government has barred and fined tech giant, Apple, for selling iPhones without chargers.
The South American country accused the US tech giant of “discriminatory practices” and placed a fine of 12.28 million Real (nearly $2.4 million) on the firm.
In an official notice, Brazilian authorities ordered “the immediate suspension of the distribution of iPhone brand smartphones, regardless of model or generation, that are not accompanied by a battery charger.”
The Ministry of Justice and Public Security in a statement revealed that the California-based company will pay the fine as a measure from the country’s Department of Consumer Protection and Defense effectively prohibits the sale of all iPhone 12 and 13 models.
Apple has been under investigation in Brazil since December for what the authorities say is the sale of an incomplete product, discrimination against the consumer, and the transfer of responsibility to third parties by offering iPhone 12s and newer versions without chargers for power outlets, according to an official statement.
The company has faced fines from Brazilian state agencies before, but “did not take any measures to minimize the harm and until now continued to sell the cellular devices without chargers,” the statement said.
“There is no justification for an operation which, in aiming to reduce carbon emissions, leads to the introduction into the consumer market of a product whose use depends on the acquisition of another (product) which is also marketed by the company,” the official notice added.
Apple, however, said it was working with Brazil’s consumer protection agency SENACON to handle the matter.
“We have already won several court rulings in Brazil on this matter and we are confident that our customers are aware of the various options for charging and connecting their device,” the company said in a report.
The company said it removed chargers from the retail box the company so as to cut carbon emissions equivalent to taking 500,000 cars off the road.
As of the time of the report, Apple is launching the iPhone 14.
By Adedapo Adesanya
Revenues from Nigeria’s financial technology (fintech) sector are expected to grow by 12 per cent per year until 2025 backed by an influx of funding and increasingly supportive regulatory frameworks.
This was disclosed in a report published by McKinsey which claims that Africa’s financial-services market could grow at about 10 per cent per annum, reaching about $230 billion in revenues by 2025.
According to the report, the success of fintech companies in Africa is fueled by several trends, including increasing smartphone ownership, declining internet costs, expanded network coverage, and a young, fast-growing, and rapidly urbanizing population.
The report further noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated existing trends toward digitalization and created a fertile environment for new technology players, even as it caused significant hardship and disrupted lives and livelihoods across the continent.
“Our analysis shows that fintech players are delivering significant value to their customers. Their transactional solutions can be up to 80 per cent cheaper and interest on savings up to three times higher than those provided by traditional players, while the cost of remittances may be up to six times cheaper.
“Taken together with an influx of funding and increasingly supportive regulatory frameworks, these factors could signify that African fintech markets are at the beginning of a period of exponential growth if, as expected, they follow the trajectory of more mature markets such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and India.”
While the lion’s share of value in the market (approximately 40 per cent of revenues) is currently concentrated in South Africa, which has the most mature banking system in the continent,
On the emerging markets, the report noted that Ghana and francophone West Africa are expected to show the fastest growth, at 15 per cent and 13 per cent per annum, respectively, until 2025.
Nigeria and Egypt follow, each with an expected growth rate of 12 per cent per annum over the same period.
The report concludes that growth opportunity in fintech is likely to be concentrated in 11 key markets: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda, which together account for 70 per cent of Africa’s GDP and half of its population.
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