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Spotlight on Africa: Fintech Industry

The financial technology industry in Africa is booming with unicorns (I.e., startups with over $1 billion market value) like Flutterwave, OPay, Interswitch, and Andela, leading the way in the continent's digital economy. The emerging industry is receiving large investments from around the globe with many stakeholders and investors interested in its economic potential. Here are some fintech startups from around the continent you should know about.

Flutterwave – Nigeria (West Africa)

Flutterwave is an African based fintech unicorn providing simple and reliable payment infrastructure for global merchants and payment service providers across the continent. It was founded in 2016 by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Adeleke Adekoya, and Olugbenga Agboola, current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, with a mission to simplify payments for endless possibilities. It operates across 33 countries including Nigeria, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, South Africa, the UK, and the US, with investments from Ycombinator Continuity Fund, Worldpay, Visa, and Mastercard. In 2017, it was named Africa’s best fintech company at the Apps Africa Innovation Awards.

In December 2021, it announced Nigerian Grammy Award-winning musician, Ayodeji Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid as its global brand ambassador. The partnership seeks to promote, Send, a remittance solution that facilitates payments within and outside the continent, to Africans in the diaspora spreading awareness of the affordable and seamless services available to them through Flutterwave.

Flutterwave CEO, Olugbenga Agboola

Asaak - Uganda (East Africa)

Asaak is an Uganda-based asset financing startup with a mission to democratize access to sustainable financial services across Africa. The startup offers financial services via digital platforms and mobile phones to entrepreneurs without the hassle or judgment of traditional institutions. It was founded by Anthony Leontiev, Edward Egwalu, Kaivan Sattar, and Dylan Terrill, current Chief Business Officer. It recently received $30 million in pre-Series A equity and debt funding with investments from Founders Factory Africa, Resolute Ventures, Social Capital, and several angel investors.

The firm offers a motorbike financing program for Boda Boda (motorbike) taxi operators, which makes ownership of such bikes easier for the riders. Presently, it has helped finance the purchase of 5,000 motorcycles and has also started providing smartphones and fuel financing to the riders. To get such loans riders, apply via Asaak’s mobile app or visit one of their branches if they have no access to a smartphone. Consequently, financing is approved based on financial and behavioral data, such as the number of trips completed on mobility apps, including Safeboda and Uber, after which riders receive their motorbikes. Repayment of the loans can be made on the mobile app which increases their credit score as they pay back. In partnership with Untapped Global, an investment company focused on emerging markets, it aims to provide financing for over 2,000 motorcycles over the next 12 months this year.

Zazu - Zambia (South Africa)

Zazu is a money app featuring a money wallet that allows users to send, receive, pay, and save money digitally while helping them use and learn about money. Perseus Mlambo is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the fintech company. The app is free to join, easy to understand, and makes managing money effortless. As the first digital bank in Zambia, its digital banking app is connected to a Mastercard® debit card empowering consumers to take control of how and where their money goes. Additionally, the Zazu Card can be used to pay at any POS (point of sales), both in Zambia and abroad, in-store with ZazuPay code, as well as for making online transactions. It can also be used at any ATM (automated teller machine) that accepts MasterCard. The fintech startup makes money simpler with instant notifications on transactions, bills payments like airtime, electricity, Gotv, DStv, and free money transfers. For added security consumers can freeze their cards if lost or stolen from their mobile app.

Expansya – Tunisia (North Africa)

Expensya is a Tunisia-based B2B (business to business) expense management solution offering a SaaS (Software as a service) platform on the web and mobile devices. It automates every stage of the business spend management process for professionals and all companies, regardless of their size or sector, including H&M and Volvo, on the web and mobile. Karim Jouini (CEO) and Jihed Othmani founded the firm in 2014 with a mission to help people with their expense report process. The firm services over 500 companies in more than 100 countries. It has its headquarters in Paris, and offices in Tunis, Madrid, and Munich.

The application is available in eight languages and offers integrations with all leading ERP software applications including SAP, Novabank, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics, as well as with travel, accounting, HR, and different other business applications. Businesses can equip their employees with the application to collect and enter your invoices, make payments securely, manage travel costs and general expenses amongst other features.

Learn more about these fintech startups on their websites:


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