Google and the International Finance Corporation (IFC have estimated that Africa’s Internet economy has the potential to reach 5.2 per cent of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, contributing nearly $180 billion.
The report titled, e-Conomy Africa 2020, projects potential contribution could reach $712 billion by 2050. The driving this growth is a combination of increased access to faster and better quality Internet connectivity, a rapidly expanding urban population.
Also, a growing tech talent pool, a vibrant startup ecosystem, and Africa’s commitment to creating the world’s largest single market under the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Currently, Africa is home to 700,000 developers and venture capital funding for startups has increased year-on-year for the past five years, with a record $2.02 billion in equity funding raised in 2019, according to Partech Ventures Africa.
Interim Managing Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of IFC, Stephanie von Friedeburg said, “The digital economy can and should change the course of Africa’s history. This is an opportune moment to tap into the power of the continent’s tech startups for much-needed solutions to increase access to education, healthcare, and finance, and ensure a more resilient recovery, making Africa a world leader in digital innovation and beyond.”
Digital startups in Africa are driving innovation in fast-growing sectors, including fintech, healthtech, media and entertainment, e-commerce, e-mobility, and e-logistics, contributing to Africa’s growing Internet gross domestic product (iGDP) — defined as the Internet’s contribution to the GDP.
“Google and IFC have created this report to highlight the role the digital startup sector is playing and other factors driving the continent’s growth, in order to showcase and support the opportunities the continent presents,” said Google Africa director Nitin Gajria.
An analysis within the report, conducted by Accenture, found that in 2020, the continent’s iGDP may contribute approximately $115 billion to Africa’s $2.554 trillion GDP (4.5 per cent of total GDP). This is up from $99.7 billion (3.9 per cent of total GDP) in 2019, with the potential to grow as the continent’s economies develop.
Investments in infrastructure, consumption of digital services, public and private investment, and new government policies and regulations will play an important role in supporting Africa’s digital growth. The report notes that investment in digital skills will also need to increase in order to help drive technology usage and continue to grow the continent’s talent pool.
The report is available for review and download here.
Interswitch, Finastra Consolidate Partnership For Improved Services Across Africa
Interswitch, Africa’s leading technology-driven company focused on the digitization of payments in Africa, has announced its partnership with Finastra, one of the world’s largest fintechs, to deliver innovative, world-class technology-based solutions for digital payments, corporate banking, treasury and trade finance, to financial institutions in Africa.
Consistent with Interswitch’s market expansion strategy, the partnership will enable the company to deliver on its vision to transform Africa’s wholesale and transaction banking business by building world class products and solutions, thereby, delivering innovative and trusted technology to banks and the communities they serve.
With this strategic partnership, Interswitch becomes Finastra’s lead technology partner in the Nigerian market. This enables Finastra to bring the broadest set of financial software solutions to financial institutions in Nigeria and across Africa, in conjunction with Interswitch’s strong understanding of the local banking and payments landscape, as well as the ability to deploy solutions across these markets.
Mitchell Elegbe, Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer at Interswitch stated that the company is committed to continually explore opportunities, including partnerships, with leading brands such as Finastra, to deliver world-class technology, innovative products and digital solutions to African financial institutions.
He said: “Our partnership with Finastra is consistent with our strategic growth plan and we both share the vision of deepening access to financial services by providing world-class technology and innovative solutions. The partnership enables Finastra to seamlessly deploy its technology in this market. For Interswitch, we will be leveraging our proven success and expertise in delivering transaction banking solutions to support Finastra in localizing and implementing their technology in this region.
The partnership positions Interswitch as the go-to business for financial solutions, including treasury and trade solutions, to banks and other financial institutions in Africa. Two of the Finastra solutions now available via Interswitch include Fusion Kondor and Fusion Trade Innovation.
Fusion Kondor, Finastra’s treasury solution provides a low-risk system for bank treasury operations to grow and expand their businesses at the pace and complexity level required. In addition, it enables increased automation, improved efficiencies and reduced costs through the removal of fragmented data sets and tighter integration.
Finastra’s Fusion Trade Innovation provides market-leading functionality for digital trade and supply chain finance. It provides banks with the electronic submission and processing of information required by customs, uses risk-based inspections and promotes efficiency in product-specific inspections.
Hamid Nirouzad, Head of Partner Ecosystem MEA & CIS at Finastra said, “Interswitch has a proven track-record of delivering solutions to commercial banks, as well as a strong understanding of the local banking landscape across Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. Finastra is committed to providing its solutions to financial institutions across the world, and partnerships such as this result in successful projects, with rapid delivery at reasonable cost.”
Finastra delivers technology to financial institutions of all sizes across the globe, including 90 of the world’s top 100 banks.
Airtel Africa Mulls Tower Sale to Reduce $3.5 Billion Debt
Airtel Africa plans to sell about 4,500 telecommunication towers in five countries including Tanzania and Madagascar to help reduce USD 3.5 billion of debt and prepare for bond repayments, Bloomberg reported.
The operator is also disposing of mobile masts in Gabon, Malawi and Chad, CEO Raghunath Mandava told Bloomberg in an interview. Mandava said Airtel is constantly seeking to bring down debt, and prefers to do so even faster with the tower deals.
The operator plans to lease back the towers from the buyers, Mandava said. Many of Airtel Africa’s fourteen markets border each other, making it easier to roll out fibre even during the Covid-19 pandemic, the CEO said. The company has added 9,000 kilometers (5,592 miles) of cable this year, bringing the total to 47,000 kilometers.
Airtel has a repayment of EUR 750 million due in May, and an instalment of USD 505 million is due in March 2023, according to its annual report.
The company used the proceeds of the dual initial public offering to help cut borrowings to USD 3.5 billion from about USD 7.7 billion, the CEO said. The outstanding balance includes USD 1.8 billion of bonds that have cross-default clauses with Bharti Airtel, still its biggest shareholder.
AppsAfrica Innovation Opens Entry For 2020 Award
By Adeniyi Adunola, Lagos
AppsAfrica Innovation has announced entry for the sixth AppsAfrica Innovation Award, said applications close on November 10th, 2020.
According to the organiser, the Awards continue to be a leading barometer of innovation across the continent and provide finalists and winners with industry recognition, business partnerships, global publicity, with some previous winners also gaining investment.
Winners are invited to the 4th Africa Tech Summit in Kigali 2021 to join tech leaders, corporates, startups, and investors.
Applications are welcome from technology and mobile ventures with services launched in at least one African market for the following award categories like Disruptive Innovation Award. This award seeks to recognise the disruptive innovations and new business models that are changing Africa.
The organiser said, Disruptive Innovation Award is for existing business models are being disrupted across the continent using technology and innovation. This award recognises companies who have launched a service or created a product that has completely disrupted or forced innovation into an existing marketplace in Africa.
Best Social & Messaging Award Life is busy, and keeping in touch with others is essential, this award recognises any social or messaging services that help Africans in their daily routines, share experiences or help people network together.
Also Health Tech Award which is to celebrates companies that have used technology and innovation to create and implement life changing and life-saving health services in Africa. Entries may include a new service, devices, software, hardware or use of apps, SMS, IVR or social media.
Another categories is Best African App Award to recognises the best applications successfully launched on any platform to target African consumers or businesses.
Others are, Best African App Award, Enterprise Solution Award, Cyber Security Award, Blockchain Award, Media & Entertainment Award, Educational Award Africa, Agri & FoodTech Award.
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