ODPC TO AUDIT 40 REPORTED DIGITAL LENDERS IN KENYA
When Kenyan lawmakers set out to end the data menace by digital lenders in the country, they definitely meant business.
Less than three weeks after the country’s apex bank licensed only 10 digital lenders from a pool of 288 applicants, the Office of the Data Protection Commission (ODPC) has now announced a planned audit on 40 digital lenders who were reported by Kenyans for data abuse.
Backstory: Pre-2021, hundreds of digital lenders operated in Kenya without any license or regulation, and unethical practices like debt-shaming and predatory lending became rampant.
This continued until last year when the Kenyan government stepped in and overhauled the industry, requiring all digital lenders to register for new licences and operate under the central bank’s strict surveillance.
Lenders who did not meet the application deadline were barred from operating countrywide, while the majority of those who did are still waiting for a licence—or an order to cease operations.
Unlicensed and in trouble
Now, 40 digital lenders are being investigated. They are all part of the yet-to-be-licensed digital lenders who are waiting for a favourable response from the CBK.
According to the ODPC, the office received 1,030 complaints and accepted 555, out of which 299 were directed against digital lenders who had misappropriated customers’ personal data.
Zoom Out: Digital lenders have been barred from sharing customers’ information with all kinds of third parties, a contravention of which is punishable by law. If the ODPC finds truth in the complaints against these lenders, not only could they be ordered to cease operations, they could also be subject to litigious actions from complainants.
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Sendy is packing up one of its products and 54 employees.
The Kenyan startup announced that it is letting go of Sendy Supply—its product through which general retailers purchase stock at competitive prices from multiple suppliers and manufacturers. Alongside this product, it will also let go of 54 employees—20% of its 270-man team.
This is coming three months after the company laid off 10% of its 300 employees to cut operation costs.
It seems Sendy Supply was not supplying to enough people.
It wasn’t having as much market impact as the Sendy hence the change of focus to its other product, Sendy Fulfillment. Sendy Fufillment enables online brands and large e-commerce brands to store and distribute their products. With a sole focus on this product, Sendy can double down on the massive opportunities in solving challenges that businesses in the digital commerce space—warehousing, packaging and last-mile delivery.
Change is profitable
Sendy is unafraid of change, as far as profits are concerned.
Two weeks ago, it morphed into a B2B business by announcing that one of its products, Sendy Transport, will exclusively be used by businesses. At the point of this transition, its other two products, Sendy Transport and Sendy Fulfillment, were focused on businesses. Insiders say the company is evolving to increase its profitability.
PAGA REACHES $14 BILLION MILESTONE
Tayo Oviosu, Paga CEO and Co-founder
African mobile payments company Paga took to Linkedin to announce that it has processed about ₦6.1 trillion ($14 billion, using the official CBN rate of ₦433/$) since January 2012.
In the celebratory post, the UK-headquartered group demonstrated how much its processing volume has grown.
An exponential growth
Growth started slowly.
It took the company 99 months— January 2012–March 2020—to process the first ₦2 trillion ($4 billion). The company processed its second ₦2 trillion ($4 billion) over the next 22 months, hitting the figure in January 2022.
Its latest ₦2 trillion transaction processing milestone took them only eight months to hit, recorded between February and September 2022.
An award winner
Paga has built a robust payments infrastructure with significant impact in Nigeria, its first and largest market. It is on track to have about 50 million Nigerian adult users in the next five years by providing access to financial services via its online and offline channels.
Its offline channel entails over 140,000 agent points which are used by over 20 million users. Its online channels include the Paga app and a USSD code, *242#, and Doroki for merchants. Recently, in recognition of its achievements in mobile wallets and remittance services, the company was named on the CB Insights’ Fintech 250 List.
GOOGLE TO ESTABLISH DATA CENTRE IN SOUTH AFRICA
More big tech companies are bringing structures to South Africa.
This week Google, at its Google for Africa event, announced that it would deploy Africa’s first cloud data centre in South Africa. The company also announced that it would build cloud interconnect sites and link it to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos and Nairobi through Equiano.
Cloud data centres help reduce latency (delay in data transfer), which in turn improves the quality of services. Google’s is no different. According to the company, “The new cloud region will help users, developers, businesses, and educational institutions across Africa to move more information and tools online, improve access options for customers and, in turn, create jobs.”
The company also stated that the cloud region will contribute more than a cumulative$2.1 billion (R37 billion) to the country’s GDP, and will support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030.
Big picture: Google’s decision follows similar investments in infrastructure by Huawei, Microsoft, Oracle, and Amazon Web Services.
In the first half of 2019, Huawei started construction on two data centres in South Africa with further plans to expand to Nigeria and Kenya. A month later, Microsoft launched its first Azure data centre in Cape Town and Johannesburg, both in South Africa. In February 2019, the US company also signed an agreement with Telecom Egypt to develop and expand Microsoft cloud facilities to the region.
In April 2019, Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched three data centre operations in Cape Town, its first-ever African region. This year, the world’s largest database management company, Oracle, also launched its first data centre in South Africa.
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Expedia Group is inviting small businesses that have been existing for less than 10 years in the travel and hospitality industry to apply to its 6-month remote accelerator program. Among other things, selected participants will receive $20,000 in non-equiuty funding. Apply by October 21.
The Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme and the Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique of Nairobi are offering a 3 month long fellowship in France for postdoc researchers from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Eastern Congo (Kivu) who have presented their thesis from 2017. Laureates will receive a monthly stipend of €1,600 at the start of each month. Apply by December 9.
The Impact Entrepreneurship Competition is accepting applications from entrepreneurs and early-stage companies generating positive socio-economic impact in Ghana. Over $20,000 in cash prizes and more than $5,000 will be awarded to the selected entrepreneurs during the competition. Apply by October 10.
If your startup or innovation is focused on climate-smart agriculture practices, apply to the THRIVE|Shell Climate-Smart Agriculture Challenge for a chance to win $100,000, a spot in a prestigious accelerator, publicity and more. Apply by December 11.
Telecel Group’s African Startup Initiative Program is now open for applications. The 10 selected startups will receive €15,000 in cash each and benefits valued at more than €500,000, including credits from AWS, Google Cloud Services, Hubspot, and more. Apply by November 11.