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Access Bank to acquire Kenya’s National Bank

As far as ambition goes, Nigeria’s largest commercial bank by asset, Access Bank, is one to be reckoned with. The bank in recent times has been deepening its roots across the continent and beyond. 

Now, the bank is making a bold move to solidify its East African presence.

The news: Yesterday, Access HoldCo signed an agreement to acquire Kenya’s National bank. The acquisition, touted to cement Access’ East African presence is the company’s second acquisition in the Kenya. The Nigerian lender bought Transnational Bank Ltd. in 2019.

Why Kenya? When compared with Nigeria, Kenya has a more developed lending sector, and its economy is expected to grow at a quicker rate than Nigeria’s, making it an appropriate location for the lender to extend its footprint.

Before the acquisition of NBK, the company has demonstrated its voracious appetite for acquiring banks within the continent. 

In July 2023, Access HoldCo, its parent company, reached an agreement with Standard Chartered Bank for the acquisition of Standard Chartered’s shareholding in its subsidiaries in Angola, Cameroon, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone, and its consumer, private and business banking business in Tanzania. The bank received regulatory approval to conduct business in Asia, in December 2023, joining the ranks of South Africa’s TymeBank on the continent. In February,, the bank acquired Megatech Insurance Brokers Ltd, an insurance brokerage company licensed and regulated by the National Insurance Commission. 

The bank says is sticking to its ambitions of doubling its assets outside NIgeria by 2027.

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nCino acquires DocFox for $75million

Founded in 2016, DocFox carved a niche for itself by tackling the bane of banker’s existence: the account opening process. The company provided automated onboarding solutions for commercial and business banks, reportedly boasting over 450 customers across three continents.

DocFox’s ambition, however, isn’t limited to regional dominance. 

The news: In a move to enhance its cloud banking suite, nCino, a US-based cloud banking solution has acquired DocFox for $75 million. The acquisition is expected to close in March 2024.

nCino helps financial institutions modernise their operations, making it easier for businesses and individuals to onboard, secure loans, manage accounts, and navigate the loan lifecycle. Merging with DocFox will create a single platform for banks to manage the entire client lifecycle, from information gathering to due diligence.

For DocFox, the $75 million price tag will propel its solutions onto a global stage, giving it the resources and reach to empower banks worldwide.

Legal tech

Kenya’s Judiciary system goes digital

Many justice systems around the world have traditionally been bogged down by mountains of paper—case files stacked high, endless reams for printing documents, and a complex process for navigating legal battles. This reliance on physical records can lead to inefficiency, delays, and difficulty for citizens seeking justice. 

In Kenya, a new chapter is about to begin. The East African country is using tech to improve how justice is delivered in the country.

On March 11, 2024, Chief Justice Martha Koome launched a Nationwide E-Filing, Data Tracking Dashboard, and Causelist Portal dubbed “All Courts Go Digital,” to revolutionise the Kenyan legal system.

All Courts Go Digital: Starting July 1, 2024, the new system will streamline case management with e-filing, eliminating the need for physical documents. This not only reduces paper waste but also allows for efficient tracking through an e-filing data tracking dashboard that will monitor case progress, identify reasons for delays across courts, and help with strategic planning by highlighting trends in caseloads. The Causelist portal will also allow lawyers and anyone involved in a court case to easily see which cases are being heard each day. 

The new initiative will improve transparency and accessibility by offering a central location to find daily court schedules.

E-filing is gaining traction: South Africa’s court system also utilises an online case management system, which includes some e-filing capabilities including access to upcoming hearings, filed and served documents, and court notifications. Additionally, the platform allows secure document exchange and sharing with other parties in the case.

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Telkom to sell its tower business to Actis

Telkom Kenya has hit a rough patch in the last couple of months.

Between March 2022 and June 2023, the telecom lost 1.62 million subscribers due to a crackdown on irregularly registered SIM cards. To worsen matters, it lost another 800,000 subscribers due to unpaid leasing fees—$51.7 million—to American Towers Corporation (ATC), which forced the shutdown of 246 Telkom towers. 

A bid to recover financial ground: Now facing a dwindling subscriber base of 1.3 million, Telkom is in discussions to sell its Kenyan mast and tower business, Swiftnet—reportedly valued at $332 million— to private equity firm Actis LLP.

The potential deal could provide much-needed financial relief for Telkom Kenya, grappling with a shrinking subscriber base and network issues. The deal would also include a smaller, local partner which, at this point, remains unnamed. 

This development follows Telkom’s announcement in November 2023, that it was in exclusive negotiations with a “reputable private equity firm” to sell Swiftnet. The unnamed firm was leading a consortium that included a Black economic empowerment partner.

Tower spin-offs: Many mobile network operators (MNOs) follow a similar path by divesting their tower infrastructure and entering into “sale-and-leaseback” agreements. One such example is MTNs deal with IHS Holding Ltd. In 2022, MTN sold over 5,700 of its tower sites in South Africa to IHS Holding Ltd, a telecommunications infrastructure company, in a sale-and-leaseback deal.

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Safaricom teams up with Onafriq for remittance play

Africa’s remittance market is estimated to grow to about $2.68bn in 2028, and many fintech startups on the continent are riding the wave and tapping into that potential. 

LemFi, a Nigerian fintech which allows people to receive and send money to 12 countries globally, expanded into Tanzania and China this year. Similarly, Pryme received a European banking licence to allow it offer its services to the 12 million Africans living in Europe. 

Onafriq and Safaricom are teaming up to be the latest players in that space

News: Ethiopia’s National Bank has approved Safaricom’s Payment Instrument Issuer Licence that would allow it to receive foreign income via M-PESA, its mobile money platform. 

Ethiopians abroad sent $4.2 billion in remittances home in 2022, accounting for roughly 5% of GDP. The country aims to double that figure within five years, and the new Safaricom-Onafriq partnership is seen as a key driver. Safaricom boasts a vast mobile money network, M-Pesa, widely used in East Africa. This extensive network could simplify receiving remittances for Ethiopians, eliminating the need for traditional bank accounts.

The move is the latest in the cards of Onafriq which recently rebranded as MFS AFrica. The fintech obtained three licenses from the Bank of Uganda (BoU) one year after it acquired Beyonic, a Ugandan-based digital payments services provider for enterprises operating in Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda.

Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3


OneLiquidity  logo

Coin Name

Current Value



Bitcoin $67,719

+ 5.83%

+ 30.01%

Ether $3,498

+ 6.16%

+ 16.92%

Tether USDt


+ 0.10%

+ 0.05%

Solana $189.68

+ 9.40%

+ 76.28%

* Data as of 10:55 PM WAT, March 20, 2024.

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  • Ride-hailing platform, Bolt has launched an Accelerator Program for its drivers and riders in Kenya. The program will see the company invest €20,000 (about Ksh2.92million) in seed fund to support business plans developed by Bolt drivers and couriers or their family members that link to sustainable transport. Apply by April 4.
  • The Corporate Social Responsibility arm of MTN Nigeria, MTN Foundation has opened applications for phase two of its “Yellopreneur” initiative, through which it intends to offer 150 female entrepreneurs with ₦3 million ($1,900) each as loans to boost their businesses. Apply by March 30. 
  • Applications are open for the Access Bank Youthrive Program for Nigerian MSMEs. The program is a collaboration between the bank and the Vice President’s office, dedicated to empowering individuals and MSMEs. With a focus on capacity development, financial empowerment, and business exchange, the program aims to impact 4 million youths over the next four years. Apply here.

Written by: Mariam Muhammad & Faith Omoniyi

Edited by: Timi Odueso

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