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Tuesday 15th June, 2021

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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BANKING

Access Bank Officially Launches Operations In South Africa

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Mr. Herbert Wigwe, CEO, Access Bank Plc

Access Bank Plc officially launched in South Africa on Monday and took another step in furthering its footprint across the African continent.

Access Bank chief executive Herbert Wigwe said in a statement that the Southern African Development Community represented the strongest economy in Africa, according to a report in IOL.

The Nigeria-listed Access Bank is a leading full-service commercial bank operating through a network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 31 million customers.

It employs 28,000 people in its operations in Nigeria and has subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, with a branch in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and representative offices in China, Lebanon and India.

Following a merger with Diamond Bank in March 2019, Access Bank, with more than 900,000 shareholders, became one of Africa’s largest retail banks by retail customer base.

Wigwe said the opening in South Africa meant Access Bank SA was now firmly seated in one of the principal geographical areas apart from Nigeria, in terms of the size of the economy.

Highlighting Access Bank’s presence in Zambia, he said the opening of the South African subsidiary cemented the bank’s commitment to sub-Saharan Africa as a portal for banking opportunities across the continent.

Access Bank SA chief executive, Bennie van Rooy said Monday was “an exciting event for the South African banking industry”, and the provision of sustainable support to existing customers while appealing to new clients with a business presence across Africa.

“As part of the robust Access Bank family, the South African operations look forward to contributing meaningfully to the achievements and ambitions of the group. In offering a full suite of financial service products to a market we understand in-depth, Access Bank SA is delighted to grow the family footprint.”

Wigwe said the group’s focus was on building relationships, as a partner in businesses and in the communities it served. “It’s vital that our banking solutions give clients the advantage they need to grow sustainably, with access to smart solutions that help them reach greater goals.”

“With its transactional account and online banking, commercial and asset finance, offshore investments and foreign exchange requirements or deposit solutions, Access Bank put the power of choice in clients’ hands,” he said.

“We look forward to the opportunities that present themselves with opening doors for individuals and businesses, and growing possibilities as we go,” said Wigwe.

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Business

Helium Health, Nigerian Health Tech Startup Launches In Kenya

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Lagos-based e-health startup, Helium Health has launched its operations in Kenya, partnering with three local providers, including Philips Healthcare Technologies to integrate new services, including an EMR to serve the entire East African market.

Launched in 2016, Helium Health is the largest Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Hospital Management Information (HMI) Systems provider in West Africa.

The startup was founded by three entrepreneurs, Adegoke Olobusi, Tito Ovia and Dimeji Sofowora, with a shared passion for solving the practical problems that they identified within the Nigerian health sector using technology.

“We have been planning to expand into Kenya’s thriving health tech sector since last year, so we’re very excited to be hitting the ground running in 2021, already working with three new local partners to help improve efficiencies and provide a better service to patients.

“We believe there is a great opportunity to harness cutting-edge technology to help improve the way healthcare data is gathered and managed across Africa, so partnering with like-minded healthcare providers and facilities in Kenya are an excellent fit for us.” Tito Ovia, the co-founder, said.

Jean Kyula, Country Manager for Helium Health Kenya and formerly a National Health Service (NHS) doctor in the UK added, “We are confident that we can play a major role in supporting both Kenya’s public and private healthcare sectors.

“We are delighted to announce that we are open for business, already working with three new partners in Nairobi, and rolling out in Uganda and Liberia. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of technology in healthcare, and the need to keep building better systems, develop more remote access solutions, and improve efficiencies in our healthcare sector, so we’re looking forward to working with more partners, doctors, hospitals and clinics as we move forward.” Jean said.

In May 2020, Helium Health successfully closed a US$10 million Series A funding round (the largest fundraising of any software as a service (SaaS) healthcare provider in Africa) to scale. It later announced that it will be expanding in both existing and new markets, launching operations in East, North and Francophone West Africa.

Helium Health has already partnered with facilities in Uganda and Liberia onboarding their 90-plus users early in 2021 and is now extending its services to facilities in Nairobi.

Helium Health offers a full suite of products covering the complete healthcare value chain, from Electronic Medical Records (EMR), and Hospital Management Information (HMI) Systems, to credit and telemedicine products.

Over 300 healthcare providers and 5,000 health professionals in Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana currently use Helium Health’s technology, allowing healthcare facilities to accept payments and issue invoices with ease, access quick funding, and hold televisits with their patients, making it easier for patients to get diagnosed from their homes.

In 2020, Helium Health won the IFC Tech Emerge award, an award that matches innovative health tech startups with leading healthcare providers across Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to implement pilot projects and build long-term partnerships.

Helium Health will pilot its technology in the East African market.

 

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Business

BoICT Lecture 2021 Focuses On 5G as New Frontier For Superior Service Delivery

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This year’s Beacon of Information and Communications Technology (BoICT) awards/lecture series scheduled for July 24, will be exploring 5G as a new frontier for superior service delivery in the telecommunications space.

The BoICT Distinguished Lecture Series, now in its 12th year, is widely regarded as the most prestigious annual event available in the ICT industry in Nigeria.

This year’s theme: “5G: Exploring New Frontiers for Superior Service Delivery” leans heavily on the buzz around 5G- which if harnessed to its fullest potential, will feed the accelerated rise of the Internet of Things, enabling a smarter and more connected world.

Mr. Ken Nwogbo, chief executive officer and editor-in-chief, Communication Week Media Limited, the organisers of the lecture, said that the choice of the theme is based on the need to address the conspiracy theory against the technology as well as explore enormous benefits of the 5G in delivering quality telecommunications services.

“The lecture is followed by the awards ceremony which rewards best practices and recognizes outstanding contributions to the growth of the ICT sector.

“The awards are free and awardees are chosen by readers of Nigeria CommunicationsWeek through a transparent voting process,” Nwogbo said.

He noted that the voting platform has already opened and business leaders and readers are implored to cast their votes via this link. http://webthinkers.net/poll/polls.html

The Beacon of Information and Communication Technology (BoICT) awards series, is widely regarded as the most prestigious annual event available in the ICT industry in Nigeria.

It is designed to explore efforts to put Nigeria on the global Information and Communications Technologies map.

The lecture series, however, is reserved for distinguished achievers in the ICT sector.

Past Keynote lecturers include Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, then EVC, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC); Engr. Yomi Bolarinwa, former Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC); Dr. Jean Luc Fort, CEO at OR System France and a specialist in Counterparty Risk; and Professor Chris Nwagboso, Chairman, Knowledge Factory International, United Kingdom.

Others are Uche Orji, managing director/chief executive officer, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA); Biodun Omoniyi, Managing Director/CEO, VDT Communications; Ayotunde Coker, Managing Director, Rack Centre Limited; and Peter Adedayo Arogundade, managing director and chief executive officer, Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited.

They also include John Obaro, CEO and founder of Systemspecs, Dr. Isa Pantami, former DG, NITDA; and Dr. Obadare Peter Adewale, co-founder and COO, of Digital Encode Limited among others.

 

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