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Saturday 25th March, 2023

Fintech

M-Pesa Scores Another Fintech First, Joins United For Wildlife Financial Taskforce

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Photo: Courtesy ITNews Africa

M-Pesa said it has become the first mobile money provider in Africa to join the Financial Taskforce established by United for Wildlife, a coalition of charities that works to tackle the illegal wildlife trade, reports ITNews Africa.

The M-Pesa mobile money system has become Africa’s most popular financial services provider and the continent’s leading financial technology platform.

M-Pesa is actively used by 41.5 million customers across seven African countries who make over 12.2 billion transactions per annum.

The platform also enables individuals and businesses to pay bills, create savings and loan accounts and to access overdraft facilities, commercial services and healthcare.

“The environment remains a critical, shared communal resource and has been under threat from the illegal trade of wildlife. The future of our economy, families and children, therefore, depends on protecting our wildlife and our natural ecosystems,” says Sitoyo Lopokoyit, CEO of M-Pesa Africa.

Vodacom Group International Markets Chief Officer, Diego Gutierrez added, “Financial institutions, together with the broader private sector, have a responsibility to do whatever is within their collective power to help preserve the world’s natural heritage by combating illicit funds from the illegal wildlife trade.

“Through M-Pesa, the Vodacom Group is pleased to join forces with various other signatories to support the United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce.”

Kate Bedwell, Head of Governance, Risk and Compliance for M-Pesa, explained that “criminal activity not only endangers animals and threatens the security of rangers but also contributes to the spread of zoonotic diseases – infections caused by a pathogen that has jumped from animal to humans – such as COVID-19 and Ebola.”

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United for Wildlife’s Financial Taskforce was established in 2018 via a Declaration signed at Mansion House in London. The Declaration commits signatories to use financial intelligence and resources to support law enforcement efforts to pursue the illegal wildlife trade’s greatest beneficiaries.

Lopokoyit concluded, “M-Pesa will play a critical role in the mission to stop the illegal wildlife trade by ensuring that there are no illegal funds going through our platform to support or to help this illegal activity.”

 

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Flutterwave Receives Two Additional Licenses In Rwanda

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Flutterwave, Africa’s payments technology company, said it has received its Electronic Money Issuer and Remittance Licenses from the National Bank of Rwanda, which will consequently help the company expand its operations in East Africa.

With these new licenses, in addition to being a Payment Service Provider, Flutterwave can offer money deposit and withdrawal, electronic funds transfer, as well as inbound and outbound remittance services to the 13.46 million people living and working in Rwanda.

According to Rwanda’s National Institute of Statistics, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Rwanda account for about 97% of businesses and contribute almost 55% to the total GDP, making MSMEs critical to job creation and the economic growth of the country.

Flutterwave will be deploying a range of products in Rwanda, including Send by Flutterwave, its cross-border money transfer solution, Flutterwave for Business and its suite of products, including Store, payment links, invoices and checkout to help individuals and businesses in Rwanda make the most of the booming eCommerce market.

Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola, Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, commented on the news, “From our first transaction to over 400 million now, we’ve remained committed to our vision of connecting all parts of Africa through payments and connecting Africa to the world.

“As a country well known for fostering innovation and promoting the use of digital technology, Rwanda has always been important to our expansion plans in East Africa. We are delighted for the vote of confidence in being granted these licenses.

“With them, we will leverage our extensive global reach and continuous growth in emerging markets to provide MSMEs in Rwanda with the tools they need to stimulate the economy, facilitate seamless cross-border transactions for Rwandans and support the expansion drive of global and Rwandan businesses.”

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Leah Uwiroheye, Flutterwave’s East Africa Regional Lead, Regulatory and Government Affairs, said, “This is a great achievement for the company. As Rwanda continues executing important reforms to enhance the ease of doing business and implementing its Fintech Strategy 2022-2027, Flutterwave keeps contributing towards achieving a cashless economy by innovating and employing digital technology to support businesses and stimulate the economic growth of countries where we operate.

“The licenses will enable us to provide safe, secure, and seamless payment services for individuals and businesses in Rwanda. This is definitely a starting point for Flutterwave as we continue to expand across East Africa.”

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Flutterwave Granted Regulatory Approval To Operate In Egypt

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Flutterwave has obtained licenses to operate in Egypt as a payment service provider, thus allowing the company to start collecting and making local and international payments in the country.

These licenses will allow Flutterwave to deploy Flutterwave for Business suite of products including store, payment links, invoices, and checkout in Egypt.

Flutterwave is one of Africa’s leading fintechs, often cited as the most valuable startup in the region, and has been on an expansion drive lately, setting up operations in various markets.

The firm recently entered the Ethiopian market, enabling users to send money to the country via cash pick-up centres.

Ethiopians in Diaspora can send money home and have the receivers pick up the cash in Dashen bank branches, Amole Agents and Ethiopian postal service offices.

“Our vision is to connect all parts of Africa through payments and connect Africa to the world. This way, it is easier for multinationals expanding into Africa to do so.

“This achievement is yet another step in that direction,” said Flutterwave CEO and founder, Olugbenga GB Agboola.

Aalaa Gamal, Flutterwave’s Regional Manager said, “This is the beginning of other strategic wins in the North Africa and Middle East regions.”

Flutterwave recently announced a partnership with Multichoice Africa to bring back the popular reality TV show, Big Brother Titans.

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Kenya Govt Drops Fraud Charges Against Flutterwave

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Bloomberg is reporting that the Kenyan government has dropped charges of financial impropriety against Flutterwave Inc.

This comes about seven months after the High Court froze the company’s money held in different bank accounts over allegations of money laundering.

The money included KSh5.3 billion held at Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Sh1.4 billion at Equity bank, and other millions at Ecobank.

In August 2021, a further Sh400.6 million belonging to the company held at UBA, one account at Access Bank and 19 M-Pesa Paybill numbers were also frozen.

The Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) had obtained orders to freeze the accounts, saying it was investigating the movement of billions of shillings transacted through Flutterwave.

Flutterwave had also been accused of operating in the country without a valid license by Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge.

The fintech, however, said that it applied for a license to operate as a payment service provider in 2019 but it’s yet to receive it from the CBK.

The withdrawal of the charges is a big relief for Flutterwave which is preparing for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The Nigerian startup is among the leading fintechs in Africa.

The company was founded in 2016 by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Olugbenga Agboola, and Adeleke Adekoya and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

It has operations in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa, and was last valued at more than $3 billion and had raised more than $450 Million in VC Funding.

It’s not clear if the withdrawal of the case also means Flutterwave will now continue operating in the country.

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