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31 - 07 - 2019

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Nairobi-based payment services provider the Direct Pay Online Group has acquired South African payments processing service PayFast in a reported multi-million rand deal. PayFast currently enables over 55,000 South African merchants to make quick, simple payments and grow their businesses through e-commerce opportunities. This is the fifth acquisition of the DPO Group since its inception in 2006. Following the acquisition, DPO Group will now serve over 100, 000 merchants across 18 African markets as it looks to expand into 10 more including Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, South Sudan, Mozambique and Angola. As part of the deal, the PayFast management team will remain key shareholders in the DPO Group.

South African healthtech startup, Healthcent has secured a R8-million (about US$ 564, 000) seed funding from Umkhathi Wethu Ventures and investment firm, Allan Gray. Founded in 2017, Healthcent's platform Signapps allows multi-disciplinary health teams conduct conversations, share medical files and make updates easily and confidentially, from a mobile device. The startup has previously raised funding from three seed investors.

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) is pleased to announce the sixth edition of the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa 2019 (FIFAfrica19 taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from September 23–26, 2019. Register here if you'd like to attend.

Micro-lending platform, Branch International, has raised US$5 million to bolster its local lending operations in Kenya and grow its product portfolio. The latest funding brings the total capital raised locally to more than US$14 million via commercial paper issuances arranged by the Centum-owned advisory firm, Barium Capital​ and supplements the US$170 million it raised in April from top international investors led by Visa and Foundation Capital. With the growing use of smartphones in Africa, Branch is opening up financial access to people who are left out of the banking industry. Its algorithms process thousands of data points to create personalized loan options in a matter of seconds.

WhatsApp played a big role in the Nigerian election. Not all of it was bad.

Applications are open for the Kampala-based Shona accelerator programme, which is open to companies that have been in operation for at least three years and are generating annual revenues of at least US$20,000. Applications close on September 30.

MTN Nigeria's Yello Digital Financial Services Limited (YDFS) has been granted a “full super agent” licence by the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide financial services to unbanked Nigerians, estimated by the World Bank to number around 100 million. Last year, telecoms operators, the government said, would be allowed to provide banking services especially as the Central Bank works towards its goal of increasing financial inclusion rate to 80% by 2020. The teleco says it has also applied for a Payment Service Bank Licence and awaits approval by the apex bank.

The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) has announced the call for applications for its Innovating Justice Challenge 2019 to reward justice innovations preventing or solving the most pressing justice needs around Crime and Law enforcement. Applications close on the August 15th, 2019.

Global entrepreneurship and early-stage investor network, Techstars, has raised a US$42 million investment led by SVB Financial Group with participation from existing investors including Foundry Group, to accelerate its global expansion. In addition to the financing, John China, President of SVB Capital, has joined Techstars’ Board of Directors. Techstars, as a fund has US$500 million under its management while its operating business are US$100 million in annual revenue. Its investment arm now includes 49 accelerator programs in 35 cities across 16 countries. The firm says the funds will help develop seed-stage accelerators, global startup ecosystem activations, corporate innovation, and entrepreneur-focused events that will help more entrepreneurs succeed.

From TechCabal + One of the exciting features of Google's new map iteration unveiled at its Google for Nigeria event may be the incorporation of a Nigerian accent but even more useful is its new interface designed for those who travel by danfo and okada, in addition to the direction already provided for private car drivers. +  China has increasingly become interested in the African technology scene and the Alibaba Group has been much at the forefront of this growing interest, its partnership with Flutterwave being the most recent move, one that opens up a 1 billion market for African merchants through its Alipay payment platform.

That's all for today,

See you tomorrow.   - Kay
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