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Happy pre-Friday 🎉
There’s never enough content for International Women’s Day.
So here’s some more. The theme for this year’s celebration is DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.
To speak to these values of inclusion and diversity, we have curated a series from leading women in technology across Africa who want to see a more gender-inclusive world where women are accorded equal rights as their male counterparts.
Here’s what these 7 women think empowering women in tech means.
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* Data as of 04:50 AM WAT, March 9, 2023.
NIGERIA GREENLIGHTS OPEN BANKING
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given the green light for open banking to hit the scene in Nigeria! This is touted to be a game-changer for financial innovation and financial inclusion in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Sidebar: Open banking is like giving the keys to our financial data castle to third-party financial service providers. Just like how we let social apps access our data to provide a more personalised experience on the apps, we can give permission to these providers to access our financial data from our banks. This allows for more customised and tailored financial services that suit our individual needs and preferences.
Yeah, sharing data can be risky business. That is why, to ensure our data privacy, the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation was released in 2019 as a foundational pillar for open banking.
Speaking about foundations…
The CBN didn’t just wake up two days ago and decide to break down all the walls between traditional banks and the fintech peeps.
It all started when a group of industry veterans like Adedeji Olowe formed an “open banking” working group, which ultimately became known as “Open Banking Nigeria“. They talked to banks, fintech, the CBN, and other international stakeholders. They also earned early backing from the likes of Sterling Bank, KPMG, PwC, EY, Paystack, TeamApt, Wallet Africa, and OnePipe. Eventually, other fintech operators like Mono, Switch, Lendsqr, Palmpay, Carbon, and Trium joined the crew.
Subsequently, the CBN released the regulatory framework for open banking in Nigeria on February 7, 2021. This laid the groundwork for the draft of the operational guidelines in May 2022. This draft is what has now become the law for bankers, fintech and tech companies supervised by the CBN.
Now, fintech companies such as Mono, Okra, and Stitch won’t have to contort around a maze of regulations looking for innovative ways to access and provide banking data for your favourite fintech, as getting data will feel like plucking low-hanging fruit.
Zoom out: With this, Nigeria becomes the first African country with open banking regulations. Open banking, however, is already being explored in 11 countries across Africa including countries like Kenya, South Africa and Ghana.
IMPACT INVESTING PLEDGES $75 MILLION FUND FOR GHANAIAN INVESTORS
It’s not every day we hear of investors raising money for other investors.
Impact Investing Ghana is laying the groundwork for its Ci-Gaba fund of funds. Ci-Gaba will provide as much as $75 million in funding for impact investors in Ghana who are providing capital for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
But it’s not Ghana stop there
The Ci-Gaba fund of funds is the first of its kind domiciled in Ghana but it will also invest regionally. It will also provide capital for SME capital providers in West Africa too. Disrupt Africa reports that Ci-Gaba is receiving a grant from the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) RISA Fund, which will help them launch their operations and get invested in making a difference.
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CROSS SWITCH GHANA GETS EPSP LICENCE
Cross Switch Ghana LTD has obtained approval from the Bank of Ghana to operate as an Enhanced Payment Service Provider (EPSP).
What does the fintech need an EPSP for?
Ghana’s demand for payment technology isn’t slowing down and Cross Switch Ghana hopes to use this licence to help the country’s fintech space match its pace.
With its shiny new licence, the fintech will digitise merchant payments, collections and disbursements for e-commerce, and remittances. It also hopes to foster financial inclusion, for which Ghana’s National Payment Systems Strategic Plan (2019–2024) created an enabling regulatory environment.
Cross Switch Ghana is part of a big family—Cross Switch International S.A.R.L. The pan-African company told ITnewsafrica that they’re over the moon about their new licence, but let’s be honest, it’s just another shiny addition to their already impressive cap of accomplishments.
The company has acquired and established a number of technology and payments businesses in Benin, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa. It also recently announced its acquisition of a 50% stake in Vantage Payment Systems, a leading Moroccan fintech that provides online payment solutions.
So, Cross Switch is not just switching things up in Ghana but all across the continent.
MONIEPOINT APPOINTS NEW COO
Two months after rebranding from TeamApt, fintech Moniepoint has appointed a new chief operating officer (COO): Pawel Swiatek.
Swiatek joins Moniepoint from US-based bank Capital One, where he was managing vice president. He also worked at US-based hedge fund Bridgewater, where he helped the company grow from 150 workers to over 2,000.
At Moniepoint, he will develop policies, tools, metrics, and a culture that will support the expansion of Moniepoint’s business. Already, Moniepoint has a customer base of more than 600,000 businesses in 2022. The company processed an annual total payments volume (TPV) exceeding $170 billion. The company currently employs 967 staff and 6,000 business relationship managers, and managing their operations is where the bulk of Swiatek’s efforts will be concentrated.
Swiatek marks the third C-Suite level manager at Moniepoint, joining CEO Tosin Eniolorunda and CTO Felix Ike.
EVENT: THE AIJA SEMINAR
The AIJA will host a seminar themed “The Silicon Savannah: Emerging Trends, Doing Business in (and With) Kenya and Africa’s Tech Ecosystem.
Set for Nairobi from March 22 to 25, the seminar will discuss the latest trends in law, tech, sustainability, funding and industry best practices.
IN OTHER NEWS FROM TECHCABAL
Why MFS Africa is piloting its Western Union remittance play in Madagascar.
Nigerian banks will begin deducting ₦50 ($0.10) for transfers into domiciliary accounts.
Google announces 15 women-founded startups in its inaugural accelerator.
- The 100x Impact Accelerator is open to applications from impact-driven social enterprises that work across eight sectors including health, climate and education. Selected enterprises will receive £150,000 grants and access to LSE’s world-class expertise, plus a 12-week programme of bespoke support from experts and social unicorn founders. Register by March 10.
- The Jasiri Talent Investor Programme is looking for highly driven individuals with a history of achievement and/or entrepreneurial action who aspire to launch a high-growth venture. Apply by April 23.
- The Growth Africa Accelerator Programme is calling for applications from ambitious and committed entrepreneurs from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia or Ghana with the potential to grow and create impact through their businesses. Apply now.
- The HiiL Justice Accelerator Programme is now open for applications from Kenyan startups with solutions that help people resolve their legal problems. Eight selected startups will receive $10,000 in equity-free funding as well as the chance to win up to $21,000 on Demo Day. Apply by March 31.
- Google has announced that the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund is now accepting applications from Black founders across the African continent. Apply by March 26.
- The Africa Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition, a philanthropic initiative sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy, is calling for participation from Africa’s entrepreneurial talent. Apply by May 12.
- Rwandan startups have been invited to apply for the ZEP-RE InsurTech Programme, which will support scalable startups in creating new markets and optimising efficiency. Apply by March 15.
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Written by – Timi Odueso & Ngozi Chukwu
Edited by – Kelechi Njoku
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