Can Nigerian banks and fintechs collaborate?
in partnership
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Welcome to TC Daily! In today’s digest: Facebook is projected to grow Africa’s economy by over $50 billion in five years, a Chinese firm enters Africa’s super app race, and the state of tech in DR Congo.

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In five years, Facebook would have grown Africa’s economy by $57 billion. The impact projection is based on a study published in June by Analysys Mason, a telecoms and media consulting firm based in London.

Analysys Mason estimates that Facebook’s investments in infrastructure and connectivity in Africa will increase internet traffic by 9% by 2024. They project that Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa will benefit the most due to the presence of Facebook’s Points of
Presence (places where ISPs can connect with Facebook’s internal network). The $50 billion-plus impact will proceed directly from Facebook’s investments and from multiplier effects in job creation and future growth in connectivity, the report says.

When completed, Facebook’s $1 billion 37,000km subsea internet cable will link 16 African countries to Europe and the Middle East.
For a company that generates revenue mainly from ads, it’s strategic long-term planning to harness the power of a billion people potentially buying, selling and practically living on the internet.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alipay is partnering with Vodacom to develop a super app that will launch in South Africa next year. The app will bundle services like lending, shopping, payments and money transfer on one app, following the one-stop-shop model that has made Ant Financial (owners of Alipay) the world’s most versatile (and one of the most valuable) fintech.

That’s not all. The app will be built to offer lending and insurance to small and medium scale businesses. This app, yet to be named, will be operated by Vodacom while Alipay will provide the technology.

Vodacom’s super app partnership will compete with other telcos in the country. MTN is targeting 16 million users for its version of an Africa-wide super app based on an instant messaging facility. Telkom has transformed its Yellow Pages into Yep, an online marketplace. They have signed up 500,000 SMEs as of last week.

Africa’s financial services landscape is similar to how China’s was a decade ago in that it is not as formal as in Western Europe and North America. The super app model is an inspiration for replication attempts in South Africa and Nigeria (though OPay’s mixed signals has us thinking otherwise).

It remains to be seen whether the model can truly be transported to Africa, without the political and regulatory frameworks behind China’s big fintech successes.


If you observe a battle between banks and fintechs in Nigeria, it is because both are increasingly encroaching into each other’s turf. Fintechs are bundling more services to offer variety, banks are strengthening their technology architecture to better reach customers.

But is there room for collaboration and differentiation? If yes, what are the rules?

There are no perfect answers but in a live conversation on Wednesday, the CEO of a bank that has lent more than $100 million through a barely two-year lending platform squared up with a famous fintech co-founder. Highlights of the engaging session are captured here.

Big money raises and acquisitions by startups in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt can create the illusion of an Africa transformed by technology. But when you look closely at activities in many other countries, reality knocks on the door.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest country in Africa by land area and the fourth most populous. Yet it is one of the poorest in the world and doesn’t have much to say for itself on the technology front. As of 2015, only 3% of the country was covered by 3G network. 40,000 mobile phones are sold every month in Kinshasa, the capital city, but that’s not a representation of life in other parts of the country.

It’s not all gloom however. There are tech startups in the DRC building in spite of the limitations in
infrastructure and practically zero venture capital activity. In this article, I spoke with four members of the Congo Business Network to understand the alternative pathways they explore to grow their tech ecosystem.


Digital Africa is holding the 8th edition of its annual conference & exhibition from August 25-27, 2020.

The virtual conference will feature industry experts who will discuss what’s next for the technology sector in Africa. Confirmed speakers include Prof. Joe Amadi-Echendu, Professor, Engineering & Technology Management, University of Pretoria; Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Karima Rhanem, Chief Executive Officer, Africa My Home, Morocco, and Dr. Isa Pantami, Hon. Minister of Communications & Digital Economy.

Visit to learn more and register.

While volunteering at Tala, the Los Angeles-based digital lending company with a heavy presence in Kenya, Lavanya Anand became “fascinated with the role of technology in frontier markets in South Asia and East Africa.”

Born in India, Anand has immersed herself in the world of digital technology in various sector, from entertainment to financial services. Now at VestedWorld, a firm based in Chicago, she has a direct role in supporting African startups build value in agriculture, healthcare and e-commerce. Here’s her life in tech, as told by Kay Ugwuede.


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– Alexander

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