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Inclusive Fintech 50 to Pick Two Start-ups for $50k Cash

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Inclusive Fintech 50

By Adedapo Adesanya

Inclusive Fintech 50 has launched its 2020 edition in which two startups selected to be part of the list will get cash prizes of $25,000 each.

The initiative aims to identify 50 innovative fintech startups driving financial inclusion and resilience for the three billion financially underserved people worldwide.

The initiative, which is now in its second year, was founded by MetLife Foundation and Visa, with support from Accion and IFC, and additional funding from BlackRock and Jersey Overseas Aid & Comic Relief.

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The initiative is implemented by Mix, the global data resource for investors focused on inclusive finance.

In a statement on its blog, the organisers of the initiative said the aim of the initiative is to create visibility for the most promising inclusive fintechs.

The selection takes place through a competitive process led by an independent judging panel of experts from venture capital, technology, and financial services firms worldwide.

The competitive process identifies startups poised for success through four criteria: inclusiveness, innovation, scale potential, and traction.

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Inclusiveness is determined by the degree to which each applicant’s target market includes underserved people and businesses, and the related problem the startup is aiming to solve.

Selected fintechs will benefit from increased visibility, with the opportunity to connect with peers and position themselves for investment through connections to investors.

Two of the selected fintechs will receive the $25,000 cash prize based on the judging panel’s assessment of their contributions to the financial resilience — or the ability to withstand and recover from shocks — of low-income households and micro, small and medium-enterprises (MSMEs).

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In 2019, Inclusive Fintech 50 attracted eligible applications from 400 fintechs based in 72 countries and with a combined customer base of nearly 70 million people.

Applications for this year’s edition will close on July 10 and the selected candidates for the year 2020 will be announced in October.

Interested parties can visit  https://www.inclusivefintech50.com/apply to apply.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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NCC Kicks Against Sale, Use of GSM Boosters

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GSM Boosters ban

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reiterated that the sale, installation and usage of GSM boosters in the country is illegal.

The main aim of the GSM booster is to take the existing cell phone signal around places, car, office, workstation or home and amplify it. After amplification, the signal is rebroadcasted to the area with no reception or weak signal.

In a pre-enforcement notice published on its official website, the commission informed the general public, particularly banks and other financial institutions, government agencies, telecommunications service providers, private/public companies, and owners/occupiers of residential premises that the unauthorized use of the boosters was a criminal offence that could attract monetary sanction or imprisonment.

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The notice said: “In exercise of its mandate of ensuring the protection of consumers, ensuring good quality of service and maintenance of technical standards of maintenance equipment, and in accordance with the provisions of section 131 (1) of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, the commission hereby warns the general public that it is a criminal offence to sell, install or use any equipment which may hinder network operations, or which has not been type-approved by the Commission.

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“Such acts may lead to monetary sanction and/or imprisonment, or both (fine and imprisonment) as well as the confiscation of any equipment used in the illegal enhancement of network coverage.

“The commission on its part will continue to deepen its collaborative efforts with telecoms service providers to facilitate the provision of ubiquitous telecoms infrastructure necessary to guarantee good quality of service across the nation.

“In view of the above, the commission hereby gives a 14-day Pre-enforcement Notice effective from the date of this publication to any person involved in the sale, installation and use of the device, to forthwith desist from such act.”

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The notice, signed by NCC’s Director, Public Affairs, Mr Ikechukwu Adinde, warned that the agency would, without further recourse and upon expiration of the deadline, take “appropriate enforcement action including, but not limited to prosecution, fine and confiscation of equipment used.”

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Nationwide Broadband Assessment Rates Airtel as Best in Nigeria

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Airtel Nigeria SIM update

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A nationwide broadband assessment by Umlaut has rated Airtel Nigeria as the Best in Test after scoring 697 points, followed by MTN Nigeria with 663 points, 9mobile with 591 and Glo with 486 points.

Umlaut is an international, full-service, cross-industry, end-to-end company that offers advisory and fulfilment services to clients globally.

According to Mr Hakan Ekmen, CEO of Telecommunications at umlaut, Airtel achieved the best-rated broadband coverage and user download speed among other mobile network operators.

He revealed that the tests were carried out with umlaut’s crowdsourcing methodology, which was used to evaluate the mobile networks in Nigeria.

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Consequently, an extensive analysis revealed two-hundred and sixty-three thousand (263,000) users have contributed 707.4-million samples in 24 weeks from October 2020 until early April 2021.

Speaking on the metrics of the assessment, Mr Ekmen stated that over 80 per cent of urban build-up and population areas were tested to arrive at the results. He went on to laud Airtel for emerging the best-rated, citing it as a remarkable feat and a positive step towards attaining digital equality in Africa.

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“In our nationwide assessment, 82.8 per cent of the urban build-up area and 83.9 per cent of the Population area were tested. We concluded that Airtel Nigeria is Best in Test, achieving the highest umlaut score with 697 points.

“Airtel achieved the best-rated broadband coverage and user download speed. This is remarkable in one of the largest telecommunications communities on the African continent, a positive step towards Digital Equality,” he stated.

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Mr Ekmen stated that umlaut’s sophisticated methodology enables the results to be comparable across network operators globally, emphasizing the transparency it provides in not only boosting network quality and performance but also improving the experience for every customer.

He further said while the results in Nigeria are quite impressive, there is still room for improvement in global comparison, however, the competition in Nigeria’s telecoms landscape is working favourably for consumers in the country.

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Software Engineer Favour Ori Disrupts Fintech Space With PayDay

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Favour Ori PayDay

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The financial technology (fintech) space in Africa is getting disrupted with the introduction of a payments product called PayDay designed by a software engineer and entrepreneur, Mr Favour Ori.

The expert is keen on building and shipping innovative products geared toward simplifying, automating, and generally improving lives in Africa.

In 2016, he relocated to the United States to study Computer and Information Sciences at Southern Arkansas University. Since then, he has worked with the likes of Turing, GO, ABiTNetwork, CultureBase PBC, Saint Louis University, and Oklahoma State University.

The entrepreneur has spoken at several international conferences like the NCHC Conference in Atlanta, the United Nations Youth Assembly in New York, the YCBS Conference in Atlanta, and 1MillionCups in Tulsa.

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In 2018, prior to founding TalentMatch, he launched an IBM-backed non-profit called FavCode54, which aimed at empowering Africans and helping them launch their tech careers. IBM provided resources valued at $90 million to enable beneficiaries of FavCode54 to learn and deploy real-world cloud products.

In 2020, Mr Ori launched and sold College Situation and Tugure to ABiTNetwork. College Situation connects African students in Africa to renowned institutions, scholarship opportunities and fellowship programs in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and many other countries outside the African continent. On the other hand, Tugure allows Rwandese to trade new and fairly used items easily and securely.

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During the coronavirus pandemic last year, he was inspired to build WeJapa, a talent matching platform to help experienced software developers secure foreign jobs.

He partnered with companies like IREMBO, Quorum Control GmBH, and ABiTNetwork to recruit and the young entrepreneur is working tirelessly with his team at TalentMatch to ensure accessibility of employment in technology on the African continent with PayDay, which they believe is the fastest and most efficient way for technology talent and creatives throughout the African continent to receive payments from their global or foreign clients within minutes, all on their mobile phones or personal computers.

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PayDay is a product by TalentMatch, with team members including Dr Rex Idaminabo (co-founder), Chidi Nwaogu (co-founder), and many other competent African talents. Together, they are working to facilitate cross-border payments in Africa.

TalentMatch has raised over $100,000 in funding; $50,000 in pre-seed funding and $50,000 from angel investors. Though, TalentMatch, which will be joining a Canadian accelerator and will be setting up its headquarters there, is still seeking to raise a seed round of $1 million in the following months.

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