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Africa’s Digital Economy poised to explode as regional integration opens new markets

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With Africa’s digital economy taking off exponentially, the continent must ready itself to maximize the potential dividends of the Continental Free Trade Area agreement, panel members told a packed auditorium in Kigali at the opening of Transform Africa Summit 2019 on Tuesday.

Key to this effort will be connectivity, data and digitization and innovation among others, conference attendees heard.

“Africa can achieve a digital single market…It is a journey and we need to break it up into doable bits, “African Development Bank Vice-president, Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization Pierre Guislain, said, adding that the European Union had demonstrated that it could be achieved.

Other members of the panel Lacina Kone, Director General / CEO of Smart Africa, the conference organizers, Fatoumata Ba, CEO Janngo, Nic Rudnick, CEO Liquid Telecom Group and Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa, World Economic Forum, shared similar sentiments.

This year’s summit which is themed Boosting Africa’s Digital Economy, aims to showcase success stories in the African digital economy and promote homegrown businesses, innovations, solutions and partnerships.

In a special intervention from the audience, World Bank Digital Director Dr. Boutheina Guermazi said:

“ICT and digital literacy is not a luxury. It is an integral part of how we view development,” adding that the foundations of the digital economy – connectivity, data and voice, would depend on a fully integrated digital infrastructure.

With the ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, the possibility of new markets offer tantalizing new avenues for tech start-ups and e-businesses and a combined GDP of over $600 billion.

The internet has opened doors to access information and technology, a key component of accelerating the pace of the digital economy and connecting markets. Interconnection and interoperability create bigger markets which in turn attract investors.

The mobile phone industry is an example of the dynamism of the sector in Africa. Mobile phone subscriptions have grown in Africa from 87 million in 2005 to 760 million in 2017, growing 20% per annum. This is the fastest growing market in the world as well as the one with the most potential. Mobile network coverage ranges from 10 to 99% in Africa– an average of 70%.

Africa’s pioneering efforts in the FInTech space are illustrated by the fact that around half the world’s mobile money providers operate in sub-Saharan Africa, where as many as 80% of adults have a mobile phone. By 2020, the value of Africa’s mobile money industry is projected to top $14bn.

Single window schemes and One Stop Border Posts will accelerate intra-African trade, Guislain said, but openness and competition need to be promoted and defended. Indeed, some vested interests may fear this openness and do whatever they can to keep it from happening. We need to measure the speed of movement along Africa’s major trade corridors and ensure any remaining bottleneck gets removed, he added.

Africa also needs more private sector African champions – companies that have done well nationally and are ready to expand regionally and beyond.

“Business needs to be more of a driver. Domestic African private sector needs to go outside its borders to develop value chains…Africa has shown it can deliver,” Guislain said.

The 2019 Summit aims to provide practical ways to advance the commitments of African governments and partners to transform Africa into a fully digitized economy where technology is harnessed to fully reap the benefits of Pan-African integration efforts.

The Summit was formally opened by Rwandan Prime minister Dr. Ngirente Edouard, who talked about Rwanda’sambitious plan to prioritize digital literacy for all youth by 2024. “We expect to achieve at least 60% by 2024,” he said.

Bank President Akinwumi Adesina will attend the official opening of the summit on Wednesday by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

An estimated 4,000 visitors from over 90 countries are expected for the three-day meeting which has become the continent’s premier digital technology summit. The next two days will see the launch of a Smart Africa Digital Economy Mapping Report, and a Smart Africa Women’s summit as well as several interactive plenaries.

SOURCE African Development Bank (AfDB)

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Fintech Startup, Paramount Financial Technologies, Announces Company Launch, Community Banks Sign-on as First Investors

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Paramount Financial Technologies (PFT), a newly formed fintech startup, publicly announced today its company launch in New England with community banks as its first investors.

PFT helps community banks solve critical challenges like growing core deposits, improving branch network performance, increasing business relationships, and managing performance. One of PFT’s most popular tools, under the umbrella of its flagship product, MarketOpp 360, is their Branch Opportunity Grid, which helps clients understand which branches have the greatest opportunities for deposit and loan growth and provides a detailed guide for actions to take.

“Community banks are investing in us because our solutions have been market-tested for twenty years,” said Michael Purchia, President and Founder of Paramount Financial Technologies. “Since the early days of banking analytics, we’ve been building and refining our tools to provide time-sensitive solutions. We integrate client data with AI-based market intelligence and analytics so our clients can make the best business decisions.”

Timothy Felter, Chief Financial Officer of Newburyport Bank, said, “Our executive team is partnering with PFT for our New Hampshire expansion. Their commercial and consumer market intelligence, and on-the-ground insights, are invaluable.”

To learn more about PFT and sign-up for our weekly newsletter with the latest banking news and insights, visit www.pfintech.net. You can also follow us on www.pfintech.net and Twitter.

 

SOURCE Paramount Financial Technologies

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Velotrade completes first cross border trade financing transaction into Mainland China with QEX

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Velotrade, the account receivables financing platform, announces that it is actively executing cross border trade receivables transactions involving mainland Chinese companies.

The first deal involved trade financing for a transaction between a Chinese SOE and a medical equipment manufacturer, made accessible to Velotrade through the collaboration with Qianhai Financial Assets Exchange (QEX) owned by Ping An Group. It is also the first transaction which gives institutional investors on the Velotrade platform exposure to accounts receivable in the PRC. Velotrade is the first company of its type to obtain a Type 1 Regulated Activity licence from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

Vittorio De Angelis, Executive Chairman & Co-Founder of Velotrade commented, “This is a transformational deal for Velotrade. We are the first company offering cross-border access to Chinese invoice financing. The deal was completed very soon after we announced our SFC licensing and underscores the pace at which the company is developing. We are building out our team in Greater China, and our relationship with QEX, also thanks to the synergies given by us being part of the Ping An fintech accelerator program, means that we are now able to offer a stream of similar transactions to institutional investors on our platform. We are delighted that Velotrade has been able to open the door for foreign institutional investors to Chinese trade receivables.”

Velotrade is a trusted source of non-domestic money with a streamlined onboarding process as it offers international investors on its platform an alternative channel of investment. At the same time, it also means mainland Chinese companies can now access this channel as well through QEX, which is beneficial for all parties.

The Vice General Manager of QEX, Zhan Yu Hong, commented, “Through launching cross-border trade transactions of debt-based assets such as accounts receivables factoring, QEX supports One Belt One Road and the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, to provide better services for the real economy. The collaboration with Velotrade is an excellent example.

Prior to this cross border offering by Velotrade and QEX, foreign investors have been unable to participate in onshore Chinese trade financing due to capital controls. However, the partnership between Velotrade and QEX means foreign investors can access Velotrade’s regulated platform. Through QEX, investors are participating as regulated Hong Kongentities, recognised by the People’s Bank of China, gaining direct access to the domestic PRC market.

Gianluca Pizzituti, CEO and Co-founder at Velotrade, added, “Since commencing operations in 2017, Velotrade has handled cross-border financing deals in Hong KongMainland ChinaSingaporeTaiwan and Vietnam across a range of sectors, including the automotive, electronics, healthcare, retail and clothing industries. This transaction is an exciting example of our continued growth and a signal of things to come as we break into one of the largest and fastest growing markets in the world.”

Velotrade’s internet-based platform incorporates modern technologies to create efficiencies in the approval process that expedite financing. Additional identity verification and due diligence is conducted via the same technology platforms used by banks, meeting today’s strictest compliance standards.

 

SOURCE Velotrade

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Turkish Merchants Can Now Connect With Chinese Visitors via Alipay and ininal Partnership

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Leading fintech company ininal becomes Alipay’s first partner in Turkey. ininal, Turkey’s leading new-generation payment platform and a subsidiary of Multinet Up, today announced its collaboration with Alipay, the world’s leading payment and lifestyle platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group, a related company of Alibaba, that Alipay will be available for Chinese mainland visitors at bricks-and-mortar stores in Turkey.

This service will be first available in the facilities of Dorak Holding, the tourism company who plans all activities for tourists and manages numbers of merchants throughout Turkey, serving more than 85% of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey. Merchants accepting Alipay include Turkish specialty retailers, hot-air balloons in Cappadocia, shops, hotels, and Turkish restaurants. Merchants can connect with Chinese customers with digital marketing via the Alipay app while Chinese tourists visit Istanbul and Cappadocia, and those customers can make payments by using the same Alipay app to scan an Alipay QR code displayed on card terminals at the checkout.

Through the collaboration between ininal and Alipay, while Alipay users pay in Chinese Yuan during their visits to Turkey, Turkish merchants will be able to receive payments from Chinese visitors in US Dollars at Dorak Tour locations. Later this summer, Turkish merchants will be able to receive payments in Turkish Lira at existing and new Multinet Up merchants including global chain restaurants and retailers. Multinet Up, ininal’s parent company and the leading financial services company in Turkey maintaining over 40,000 merchants, will utilize its experience in building a network and infrastructure to expand Alipay acceptability. ininal and Multinet Up will work in collaboration with Alipay to further expand the network across Turkey. Jewelers, luxury clothing stores, museums and duty free shops are expected to join in the near future.

“The collaboration with Alipay proves the success of our brand has attained in the last six years. Alipay is the most preferred payment method in China and is widely used by Chinese tourists overseas. The fact that Alipay is used more than cash, credit cards and debit cards is an important data demonstrating the satisfaction it creates. ininal will continue to work with powerful partners globally to bring advanced technology and services to Turkey,” says ininal CEO Ömer Suner.

Stating that the Chinese provided the highest increase in terms of not only the figures but also the tourist spending in Turkey, Ömer Suner continued: “We believe the payment convenience provided through this collaboration will increase the foreign currency that will enter our country and provide contributions to the reanimation of the economy.” In January 2019, a Nielsen report titled 2018 Trends for Mobile Payment in Chinese Outbound Tourism finds that Chinese tourists paid for 32% of transactions using mobile payment, overtaking cash for the first time, and that nearly 60% of merchants surveyed experienced growth in both foot traffic and sales after adopting Alipay.

“Alipay is finally coming to Turkey! We are excited to work with ininal to connect Turkish merchants with Chinese visitors before, during, and after their visit to this beautiful country, overcoming barriers of language and currency. We know our customers are attracted to the ancient and modern sights of Turkey, and the many different experiences it offers, from balloons, to bazars and beaches. As Chinese users’ preferred payment and lifestyle platform, we are always happy to introduce the best offers and must-visit locations of Turkey to our users through our platforms,” said Roland Palmer, Alipay’s Head of EuropeMiddle East and Africa.

 

SOURCE Alipay; ininal

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