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Wednesday 12th May, 2021

Business

Afrikrea Launches ANKA To Power Global African E-Commerce

Ivorian company partners with DHL and Visa and builds SaaS Platform for omnichannel global selling for African micro retailers

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Moulaye Taboure, Co-Founder/CEO of Afrikrea

Afrikrea, the e-commerce platform for “all things made of Africa”, is launching ANKA – an all-in-one SaaS solution.

ANKA will provide a seamless eCommerce, payments and global shipping online service for thousands of micro retailers and businesses on the continent and around the world, as it continues to power e-commerce for Africa.

Launched to coincide with Afrikrea’s fifth anniversary of operations, ANKA (meaning “Ours” in Bambara and Djoula) allows merchants to easily sell via a customised online storefront (like Shopify), social media platforms or by links such as on Gumroad and also the Afrikrea marketplace.

This is carried out via an omnichannel dashboard with a single inventory, orders and messages management.

With just 2 clicks, international shipping is offered at the best rates with the best partners. For instance, a 2kg parcel from Nigeria can be shipped to the US or UK for less than $20 – this includes DHL pickup and global tracking.

It also facilitates and centralises payments (global and local) via a secure online wallet and receives payouts according to the merchant’s preference. A dedicated Afrikrea VISA card is also available.

Afrikrea Executive Team (l-r) Luc Perussault-Diallo (CTO), Moulaye Taboure (CEO), Guillaume Darnaudet (CFO), Kadry Diallo (CMO) – [Low Res]

Powered by Afrikrea, ANKA is the first of its kind global e-commerce aggregator of services for African micro retailers and has been developed to reduce the friction of the global sales process for the 7,000+ sellers on the Afrikrea platform, as well as open new routes to market for sellers.

Speaking on the launch of ANKA, Moulaye Taboure, Co-Founder and CEO of Afrikrea says, “We see Afrikrea as the bridge between Africa and the world, empowering thousands of micro retailers and their clients globally.

“Those entrepreneurs currently lose time and energy managing multiple channels of sales, and also lose money through the multiple intermediaries needed to ship their orders or get access to their funds. ANKA enables them to sell anywhere as well as get paid – seamlessly, from one place.”

In a bid to power and support the entire sales life cycle, from point of sale to receipt of goods, Afrikrea partnered with leading global logistics partner, DHL in 2019 to ensure world-class delivery service for its vendors.

Since then, ANKA has become the largest e-commerce exporter on the continent, with over 10 tons of cargo shipped every month out of Africa. Using the ANKA service, vendors can search for competitive shipping rates; this is not limited to sales on the Afrikrea platform.

Dropshippers looking to create jobs produce goods and ship from the continent will also have the opportunity to manage their flow of business and get paid globally using the platform.

ANKA costs EUR10 [approximately $12] a month and the platform will also connect with MPesa, Orange and MTN, so customers looking to pay merchants can do so via mobile money, mobile banking, PayPal and a host of international payment cards.

Merchants will also be able to transfer the funds from their wallets in any method of their choice, including their dedicated physical VISA card. From there, they can instantly pay or withdraw funds at an ATM as and when they prefer.

The African technology platform is at the forefront of a shift in the commerce sector, using tech and scalable software to create localised customer experiences without the need for global storefronts.

Euromonitor has estimated the African fashion and apparel market to be worth $31billion in recent years. Afrikrea estimates the yearly spend of its major markets to be worth $12.5 billion- the African diaspora in Europe ($1 billion), those in America and the Caribbean ($9 billion) and non-Africans with links to the continent ($2.5 billion).

By building the technical infrastructure for global African culture and allowing its merchants to reach the world using proprietary technology, Afrikrea expects to power and empower tens of thousands more independent businesses inspired by African fashion and artisan items.

Founded in 2016, Afrikrea as a marketplace for selling and buying African-inspired clothing, accessories, arts and crafts has increased its transactions to over $15 million in 170 countries worldwide, with sellers from 47 out of 54 African countries.

The platform currently records over 500,000 visits a month with the majority of customers located in Europe and North America.

Taboure concludes, “In much the same way that international technology companies like Shopify and Alibaba have been central to inspiring and powering a new wave of global online retailers, and have created wealth for thousands of entrepreneurs via access to amazing eCommerce software, our plan is to achieve much the same, but for the growing and dynamic African market.

“By handling a safe and seamless process for our vendors – sales, payments, shipping – we expect to grow with them and power commerce for thousands more online marketplaces and sellers who have a passion for Africa.”

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BANKING

Bank Wars: Access Bank, Standard Chartered, FCMB Off To Winning Start

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Visitors to the Tech Experience Centre, Africa’s cutting-edge technology and lifestyle hub on Saturday, May 8, 2021, were treated to exciting, high-scoring matches on the opening day of Bank Wars, a FIFA 21 Gaming competition featuring leading Nigerian banks.

Sponsored by Samsung, a foremost Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Banks Wars seeks to crown the best side among the competing banks for the FIFA 21 tourney.

The first day of the event, hosted at the Tech Experience Centre, saw a number of excited spectators converge on the impressive building located at Yudala Heights, 13A Idowu Martins Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, to witness the banks in action.

As expected, the competing teams did not disappoint, serving up goals-filled matches to the delight of attendees as hostilities in Group A got underway.

Access Bank got the ball rolling on the day with a 7-2 drubbing of First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

The match, which was played at 1 pm, saw Olabamaji Emmanuel Ojo, an Assistant Banking Officer dominate his opponent, Taiwo Oluwafemi of FCMB’s Brand Management Unit to claim all three points at stake.

In the second game, Standard Chartered Bank pipped Zenith Bank 4-3. Representing the victorious team was Bajeh Israel, a Wealth Management Analyst, while Zenith Bank was represented by Abdulwahab Emmanuel, a Relationship Manager.

Taking to the FIFA 21 pitch in the third match in Group A, Access Bank cemented its place as one of the early favourites with an impressive 11-2 thrashing of Zenith Bank, while FCMB made up for its initial loss to Access Bank by beating Standard Chartered Bank 7-4.

From the results on the first day of the competition, Access Bank occupies the leadership position in Group A with six points, followed by FCMB and Standard Chartered Bank with three points each. Zenith Bank brings up the rear, with no point to its name after the first round of matches.

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the quartet of Sterling Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Union Bank and Fidelity Bank in Group B on Saturday, May 15, 2021, which is billed as the second matchday of the competition.

In the day’s opening match, Sterling Bank will trade tackles with Union Bank by 1 pm.

Also, GTB and Fidelity Bank will do battle in the second game by 1:30 pm while Sterling Bank and GTB will contest the third game by 2 pm. The day’s action in Group B will come to a close when Fidelity Bank and Union Bank lock horns. The match is scheduled to kick off by 2:30 pm.

Bank Wars is expected to run for five Saturdays until June 5, 2021, with winners of the FIFA 21 Gaming competition expected to smile home with some mouth-watering prizes, courtesy of Samsung.

A Samsung 55-inch TV awaits the first prize winner while the runner-up will go home with a massive Samsung Refrigerator.

Also, the third-best team will claim a Samsung Washing Machine. In addition, there are prizes for individual representatives of the competing teams while the best goal of the competition (to be determined by votes) will fetch the scorer a Samsung 49-inch TV.

 

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BANKING

Wema Bank Unveils Hackaholic 2.0 Bootcamp Winners

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Wema Bank’s Hackaholics 2.0, an acceleration aimed at helping startups scale and gain entrance into the market, came to an exciting end as the finalists were unveiled on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, at the Bank’s corporate head office in Marina, Lagos.

Themed, “Connecting Worlds” the Acceleration Program was a two-day virtual pitch which ran from October 30 – 31, 2020, for 20 participants across five industry pillars – Fintech, Agritech, Edutech, Gaming, and Healthtech, who qualified from a pool of over 100 entries received.

The Bank presented four startups comprising two people each with N2,187,500.00 startup fund. The winners emerged across each industry after a four-week Bootcamp under the supervision of a best-in-class acceleration curriculum delivered by seasoned faculty and tech specialists from GreenHouse Capital, official partners of the event.

Managing Director/CEO of Wema Bank, Ademola Adebise congratulated the winners and expressed satisfaction with the quality of competition and the entire process.

“We are happy to see the winners emerge and are positive that you guys will be the unicorns of tech solutions in the next couple of years,” he said.

“For us at Wema Bank, we will continue to support innovations and innovative ideas, support our youths, and support our women to thrive. We believe that is the way to go and significantly grow and support the economy,” Adebise said.

The winning start-ups include:

Fintech Category: Oladayo Awotukunbo of Plumpter, a Fintech brand that created a marketplace for secure payments to foreign parties and quick banking.

Gaming/Betting Category: Ernest Akinlola and Obayemi Okubajo of My Lotto Hub, a digital startup pioneering the aggregation of lottery operators and enabling lottery punters to manage all their operations in a single platform.

Agritech Category: Aderinola Amole and Olamide Oyinlola of FarmSquare, a brand that focuses on using the e-commerce model to simplify the demand and supply of Agricultural inputs in Nigeria.

Healthtech Category: Uche Udekwe and Joy Chioma of Natal Cares, a startup with a product that optimizes the healthcare value chain to reduce the high mortality rate for pregnant women and children.

Speaking at the event, Chief Financial Officer, Wema Bank, Tunde Mabawonku, reinforced the internal and external growth integration stance of the bank saying, “We realized very early that financial service delivery has moved beyond bricks and mortar physical interactions, hence, at Wema Bank, we repositioned internally, invested strategically and heavily in technology to drive Digital Optimization of our services.”

“Second, we realized we can’t innovate all from within, we need to drive innovation from outside. We then created “Hackaholics” the Wema Bank Hackathon. The idea is to bring fresh minds, fresh ideas, fresh insights, into solving day-to-day societal problems leveraging technology. We are also working with third-party resource providers we can invest in to grow the solutions for societal impact”. Mabawonku added.

Chief Digital Officer, Wema Bank, Segun Adeniyi emphasized the importance of the Bank’s sustainability footprints. “We aim this initiative at deepening the impact of innovation in the ecosystem and create an opportunity to drive that ecosystem. There is a plethora of start-ups and innovators out there who don’t have the right environment to upscale those ideas into commercial value.”

“What we have done is giving some seed to them in funding, and more importantly, we have given them advisory. We have helped them to look at the ideas they have, flesh them into commercial value, help them articulate the problem, identify unique areas where and how they can solve those problems, and identify their target market.”

The winning startups all expressed gratitude to Wema Bank for the seed fund and commended the bank for the initiative. They said the Hackathon Bootcamp has broadened their horizon. They expressed that the seed funding from Wema Bank will help to upscale their businesses to the desired place.

“For us at Wema Bank, this is not just CSR. It is creative self-disruption. We are attuned to what is going on in the ecosystem, we are keen to be part of it, we are enthusiastic about sharing our own experiences with the start-ups. It is part of why we stay vibrant and relevant as an organization,” Adeniyi concludes.

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Business

Vista Bank Taps Radar Payments To Drive Its Digital Payment Plans In West Africa

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Vista Bank Group (Vista) has selected its paytech provider Radar Payments to drive its global payment processing activities in West Africa.

Vista is a Pan-African financial services company, which aims to contribute to economic growth and financial inclusion across Africa.

It has an ambitious agenda to challenge the status quo and deliver a superior experience to retail customers, large enterprises and MSMEs across West Africa.

The group is expanding rapidly through a series of successive strategic acquisitions that include First International Bank (FIB) Group in Gambia, followed by BNP Paribas’ Subsidiaries, La Banque Internationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie de la Guinée (BICIGUI) in Guinea and La Banque Internationale pour le Commerce l’Industrie et l’Agriculture du Burkina (BICIAB) in Burkina Faso.

Vista Bank is now the top bank in Guinea by assets and network coverage.

In response to its digital-first strategy, Vista has selected Radar Payments by BPC as its preferred partner to drive digital payment adoption in the region.

Radar Payments will centralise payment operations at Vista’s tech hub located in Senegal, supervising Vista Bank’s activities in Guinea, Gambia, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone while leaving room for further banks to join its network.

It is part of the bank’s growth agenda to expand to Burkina-Faso, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Mali.

The agreement will see Vista Bank running on BPC’s flagship payment suite, SmartVista, to manage card issuance and lifecycle management, payment switching, ATM and Point-Of-Sales management as well as providing digital channels such as mobile banking and e-wallet; personalised to both retail and corporate clients.

The bank is planning to accelerate the issuance of UnionPay International (UPI) branded cards including prepaid, debit, and premium cards, in addition to the acquisition in ATM, Point-of-Sales, Contactless, QR payment, and E-Commerce.

This announcement comes at a time where AfCFTA, the pan-African free trade agreement has become a reality. Since 1st January 2021, AfCFTA has set new business standards for 41 countries and 1.2 billion people to help accelerate economic growth across the continent.

The free trade programme promises a change in trading rules, with reduced import-export taxes making commerce more affordable for players in Africa. It also means that the volume of transactions will sharply increase and banks in the continent will have to gear up for a pan-African service.

“With AfCFTA, banks have to think pan-Africa first and realise that we need to step up the game in terms of ease of payment, a critical component to every banking and business experience.

“As a challenger bank, Vista Bank is taking bold decisions when it comes to its technology stack, forming alliances with the best partners in their own fields.

“By selecting Radar Payments, the paytech by BPC, we have chosen a leader with a solid reputation in delivering superior global payments processing.” Simon Tiemtore, Group Chairman at Vista Bank, said.

Jane Loginova, CEO of Radar Payments, said “We are proud to join Vista Bank on their journey to transform the way people bank, pay, and get paid while making financial services more accessible to them.

“This partnership was born from our shared vision to successfully solve real-life payment problems with a high-end, globally proven digital solution that focuses on end customers.”

“Together, with the help of cutting-edge digital payment solutions, we will provide easy, instant, and secure movement of money, thereby transforming Vista Bank into a trailblazing player within the continent,” Jane added.

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