By Dipo Olowookere
Pan-African banking group, Ecobank Group, has called on fintech entrepreneurs from the continent to enter the 3rd edition of the Ecobank Fintech Challenge.
The Fintech Challenge gives African start-ups the opportunity to promote their fintech solutions, and potentially partner with Ecobank to roll-out their solutions across the lender’s 33 markets in Africa as well as France.
A statement issued from the bank said submissions are welcomed from all start-ups and developers in any of Africa’s 54 countries for the contest.
Intending participants will have to submit their entries at https://www.Ecobank.com/Fintechchallenge on or before April 12, 2020, while all finalists will be inducted as Ecobank Fintech Fellows, participate in a business boot camp followed by an Awards and Innovation Fair at the headquarters of the Ecobank Goup in Lomé, Togo in June 2020.
According to the statement, fellows will qualify to explore multinational product roll out, with an opportunity to pursue integration with Ecobank and potentially launch products in Ecobank’s Pan African footprint.
In addition, Ecobank may select start-ups as a pan-African service partner within the bank’s ecosystem, while they would be given access to Ecobank’s APIs to test and improve their products for the pan-African market and then get mentoring and networking support in the network of global and African partners of the group.
According to Ecobank Group Executive, Operations & Technology, Eddy Ogbogu, “As a banking group we continue to be amazed at the many ways in which fintechs are transforming banking across Africa. We look forward to the new innovations and partnership opportunities that will come with the 2020 edition.”
Ecobank Senior Fintech Advisor, Djiba Diallo, while commenting on the initiative, stated that, “The Ecobank Fintech challenge and fellowship have been improved upon to create even additional value for Ecobank and the Fintechs. We took feedback from the past editions and one of the major innovations this year is the opportunity for shortlisted Fintech’s to access our APIs through our Pan African Sandbox.”
Ecobank Fintech Challenge was designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by several partners across Africa and globally.
Starlink is Now Available in Nigeria—SpaceX Confirms
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Nigerians and tech startup owners can now heave a sigh of relief as Starlink is now available in Nigeria, according to SpaceX.
The internet service provider is owned by a billionaire businessman and owner of Twitter, Mr Elon Musk.
The federal government held meetings with the management of the company to introduce its services in Nigeria. The network was earlier expected to commence its operations in the country last month.
However, after the wait, SpaceX has confirmed the availability of the Starlink network in the country and would be expected to take a huge chunk of the broadband market with competitors like MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9mobile, Smile, Spectranet, and Swift.
Nigeria is the first African country to receive Starlink service.
“Starlink is now available in Nigeria, the first African country to receive the service,” a message posted on the Twitter handle of SpaceX on Monday night stated.
Starlink, according to its profile on Wikipedia, is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX, providing satellite Internet access coverage to 47 countries. It also aims for global mobile phone service after 2023.
With Starlink, users can engage in activities that historically have not been possible with satellite internet, as its high-speed, low-latency service is made possible via the world’s largest constellation of highly advanced satellites operating in a low orbit around the Earth.
CBN Gives Interswitch Payments Service Holding Company License
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A Payments Service Holding Company (PSHC) license has been granted to Interswitch Group by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
This followed an earlier announcement by the CBN regarding new licensing categories for participants in the Nigerian payments system.
The integrated payments solution provider is among the first to receive this authorisation from the country’s apex bank.
According to the regulator, the PSHC regulation requires companies with existing or prospective operations across multiple license categories to set up a PSHC. The activities of each of the PSHC subsidiaries operating within those respective licensing regimes are clearly delineated for clearer accountability, effective risk management and the enablement of better regulatory oversight by the CBN.
A statement from Interswitch, a leading financial technology in Africa, outlines that Interswitch’s Group Holding Company retains ownership of the PSHC in Nigeria as well as its other subsidiaries outside of Africa.
The issuance of the PSHC licence coincides with Interswitch’s 20th-anniversary commemoration, which has seen the company cement its position as a pioneering and integral enabler that has actively supported the growth and development of fintech and payments progressively across Africa over the last 20 years.
It also serves to reinforce Interswitch’s progressive outlook as a frontier-driving company which keeps pushing boundaries to facilitate the creation of new ecosystems that help businesses and individuals scale and thrive, in line with its purpose of inspiring Africa to greatness through innovation, value-creation and excellence.
“Twenty years ago, we placed a bet on the latent potential we saw in the introduction of e-payment channels at the time, particularly ATMs for the delivery of cash just-in-time, and today, we are gratified to see how far the financial technology and payment systems in Nigeria have grown.
“On the back of our receipt of this additional license, we remain strongly committed to a close partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria to facilitate the delivery of the Payments Vision (2025) and, of course, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy,” the founder and Group CEO of Interswitch, Mr Mitchell Elegbe, remarked.
He further reiterates Interswitch’s resolute focus on its over-arching mission to continue championing technology solutions that connect and empower individuals, businesses, and communities across the continent.
Mafab Rolls Out 5G Services in Nigeria
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Another player has joined the 5G network space in Nigeria, and it is Mafab Communications Limited, which won the licence with MTN Nigeria Plc in December 2021.
After it obtained the licence from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for $273.6 million, it delayed its rollout, while its competitor, MTN, started in August in a few cities.
Business Post reports that Mafab on Tuesday held a ceremony at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, to commence operations in the country, promising to deepen broadband penetration.
“We are fully committed to bringing the benefits of 5G services to Nigerians and deploying a network that will drive economic development with increased broadband capabilities nationwide.
“I have no doubt that the service will help deliver improvements in the fields of education, business, smart cities and entertainment,” the Chairman of Mafab, Mr Mushabu Bashir, said.
It was gathered that Mafab would largely use existing infrastructure from IHS towers and, if need be, ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Solutions as well for its operations.
Recall that last month, the NCC again auctioned the 3.5GHz spectrum, which was won by Airtel Nigeria, which intends to launch its operations very soon.
It is not certain how much the Mafab 5G network services would cost. When MTN rolled out its 5G services last year, it sold the device for N50,000 and asked interested customers to pre-order the 5G router.
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