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Monday 25th January, 2021



Obadare, Cybersecurity Expert Keynotes 2020 BoICT Lecture/Awards



Dr. Obadare Peter Adewale, Co-founder/Chief Operating Officer, Digital Encode Limited

Dr. Obadare Peter Adewale, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Digital Encode Limited, would on Saturday this week, keynote this year’s Beacon of ICT (BoICT) Distinguished Lecture/Awards Series.

This disclosure was made by Ken Nwogbo, CEO, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, organisers of the BoICT Distinguished Lecture/Awards Series.

A leading voice in Cybersecurity campaign, Obadare will set the tone for the 2020 BoICT lecture/awards, widely regarded as the most prestigious annual event available in the ICT industry in Nigeria.

“Dr Obadare fits perfectly into the central theme of this year’s celebration and we are glad to have him keynote this year’s celebration.

“Dr Obadare is the most sought after cybersecurity expert in Nigeria and we are indeed glad that he could join this year.

“His skills and experience include Data Privacy, Cybersecurity, Information Security, Vulnerability Management, Penetration Testing, Computer Forensics, Business Continuity, IT Governance, Risk Management and Compliance.

“He is also the recipient of FATE Foundation Alumni Model Entrepreneur Award (FAME), 2017, African Leadership Award & Medal of Honor in Business (ALM 2018) and Nigeria Tech Innovation & Telecom Award for Cybersecurity Professional of The Year (NTITA2018),” Nwogbo added.

This year’s Beacon of ICT Distinguished Lecture/Awards Series is slated for Saturday, November 28, 2020, at the prestigious Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos and it’s themed: “Cybersecurity and its Role in Nigeria Economy.”

Organisers said The Beacon of ICT Distinguished Lecture is designed to explore efforts to put Nigeria on the global information and communications technologies map.


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MasterCard Hikes Interchange Fees For UK Online Purchases From The EU



Photo caption: Ventures Africa

MasterCard has imposed a five-fold increase on credit card interchange fees charged for UK online purchases from the EU, following Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Prior to Brexit, UK merchants and cardholders benefitted from a 0.3% cap on credit card interchange fees imposed by the European Commission.

But with the country withdrawing from Europe, these fees will increase to 1.5%, as payments between the UK and the European Economic Area are now deemed “inter-regional”.

The fee for debit card payments is also set to rise from 0.2% to 1.15%.

The increase in fees is another blow to UK merchants and consumers as they grapple with reams of red tape covering VAT and customs charges for exports and deliveries to European markets.

MP Kevin Hollinrake, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on Fair Business Banking, said the move “smacks of opportunism.”

“I would urge the regulators to step in as a matter of urgency to ensure that financial institutions do not use Brexit as an opportunity to hike up costs that consumers will ultimately bear,” he told the FT.


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Visa Joins CaixaBank, Global Payments And Worldline Startup Programme



Visa has joined Zone2boost, an investment startup programme created by CaixaBank, Global Payments and Worldline, according to a finextra report.

Visa joins the international innovation initiative following its first year of activity with more than 300 start-ups assessed, eight start-ups incorporated into its acceleration programme and a committed investment volume of €800,000.

Companies receiving investments span a wide range of financial and e-commerce activities, driving innovation through the use of cutting edge technologies like blockchain and AI.

Visa will contribute to the programme by helping selected startups to scale and enrich their products and by contributing to investment funding.

Eduardo Prieto, managing director of Visa in Spain, comments: “At Visa, we continually evaluate technology of all kinds, especially those that have the potential to improve our clients’ digital payments user experience.

“So we are looking for investments that really extend our reach to the global commerce ecosystem and Zone2boost is a great opportunity to identify new collaboration prospects.”

The time period through which the entrepreneurs are supported varies from six months to two years, throughout which the new companies may evolve from very early stages to a level that can allow them to successfully access the market through A and B investment rounds.

In total, Visa, CaixaBank, Global Payments and Wordline intend to invest €3 million through Zone2Boost by 2022.

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Pula, African InsureTech Platform Closes $6mn TLcom-Led Series A Fundraise



L-R: Rose-Goslinga and Thomas-Njeru, Pula Co-Founders and Co-CEOs

Pula, an African InsureTech service provider startup that specialises in digital and agricultural insurance to derisk millions of smallholder farmers across Africa, has closed a $6mn Series A fundraise led by TLcom Capital, with the participation of Women’s World Banking.

The new investment will be used to scale up operations in the company’s existing 13 markets across Africa.

Currently, Pula has impacted over 4.3mn farmers on the continent and the new funding will also help propel its expansion into Asia to power resilience and profitability for Asian smallholder farmers.

Launched in 2015 by Rose Goslinga and Thomas Njeru, Pula designs and delivers innovative agricultural insurance and digital products to help smallholder farmers endure climate risks, improve their farming practices and bolster their incomes over time.

For smallholder farmers in emerging markets, the traditional method of calculating insurance through farm visits is often unaffordable for farmers, meaning these farmers are often neglected from financial protection against climate risks.

A Pula farmer

Through its Area Yield Index Insurance product, Pula leverages machine learning, crop cuts experiments and data points relating to weather patterns and farmer losses to build products which cater for a variety of risks including drought, excessive rainfall, pests and diseases.

The company’s key clientele include the likes of the World Food Programme, Central Bank of Nigeria, Zambian Government & the Kenyan Government.

Pula has also launched an NDVI Livestock insurance as an offering for livestock farmers.

Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Pula, Rose Goslinga, says “When Thomas and I launched Pula in 2015, we had one goal in mind – to build and deliver scalable insurance solutions for Africa’s 700mn smallholder farmers and with our latest funding, now is the time to break into new ground.

“In our five years since launching, we’ve built strong traction for our products but the fact remains that across Africa and other emerging markets, there are still millions of smallholder farmers with risks to their livelihoods that have not been covered.

“In the midst of a global pandemic, farmers need assurances now more than ever and with this in mind, it’s time to scale up. Having TLcom Capital and Women’s World Banking along on the journey with us opens up many more opportunities as we build across the continent and beyond.”

Through its partnerships with banks, governments and agricultural input companies, Pula is at the centre of an ecosystem which provides insurance to smallholder farmers and has amassed 50 insurance partners, as well as six reinsurance partners.

In December 2020, the startup was named as the “InsurTech of the Year” at the African Insurance Awards 2020 held in Lagos, Nigeria.

A Pula farm produce

As part of the new fundraise, TLcom’s Senior Partner, Omobola Johnson will join Pula’s Board.

Maurizio Caio, Managing Partner and Founder at TLcom Capital, states: “In Pula, we found a company addressing a hugely underserved market in one of Africa’s key drivers of growth and with this, an opportunity for major economic upside.

“The potential for the insurance market for smallholder farmers in Africa is huge and under the leadership of Rose and Thomas, Pula has rapidly established a strong presence throughout the continent and has a number of high-profile clients on their books.

“We are confident of Pula’s potential for growth in spite of the pandemic and look forward to partnering with them as they execute the next phase of their journey.”

Christina Juhasz, CIO at Women’s World Banking, also states that “Given the legions of women engaged in small-hold farming and securing the food supply for communities around the globe, Women’s World Banking is delighted to partner with Pula Advisors in providing them financial safety nets against the risks of pests, disease and climate change”.

In 2018, Pula announced the close of its $1mn seed round from Rocher Participations with support from Accion Venture Lab, Omidyar Network and several angel investors.

Previous funders have included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mulago Foundation and Mercy Corps Social Ventures and the company presence in Africa currently extends to Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

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