By Modupe Gbadeyanka
World leader in digital payments, Visa Incorporated, has invested millions of Dollars in leading technology-driven company in Nigeria, Interswitch Limited to raise the valuation of the valuable African FinTech business to $1 billion.
A statement from Interswitch confirmed that Visa is joining its fold as a minority shareholder, with the transactions, expected to close by Q1 2020, subject to relevant regulatory approvals.
There had been reports that Visa invested about $200 million in Interswitch to take 20 percent controlling stake in the Nigerian firm, but Interswitch, which did not confirm this, said the strategic partnership between both organisations will further advance the digital payments ecosystem across Africa.
However, it noted that Visa will join globally renowned investors, Helios Investment Partners, TA Associates and IFC, as shareholders in Interswitch, alongside company management.
The statement said the deal will create an instant acceptance network across Africa to benefit consumers and merchants and facilitate greater connectivity for communities. Both parties will also retain their respective independent solutions, and Interswitch will retain its scheme neutral strategy.
Founder and CEO of Interswitch, Mr Mitchell Elegbe, stated that, “Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest growing payments market in the world, with growth driven by a young and dynamic population, rapidly evolving consumer behaviour, and an increasing desire for payment solutions that can be accepted across the continent and abroad. I am delighted that Interswitch has formed a partnership with Visa, with whom we plan to drive the next phase of transformation in the African payments landscape.”
On his part, Regional President of CEMEA at Visa, Mr Andrew Torre, said, “Africa is a priority region for us, and we continually seek strategic partnerships with local players to further strengthen our leadership position and enhance the payments ecosystem across the continent.
“This partnership aligns with our global strategy to work with and invest in innovative partners, and we look forward to working with Interswitch to provide new consumer and merchant experiences and support the rapid growth of digital commerce across Africa.”
Co-founder and Managing Partner of Helios, Mr Babatunde Soyoye, noted that, “A strategic investment by Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, into Interswitch is a substantial endorsement of the Company’s expertise in African payments.
“As an active investor in leading African payments businesses, we see tremendous opportunities to digitise payments across the continent and have worked closely with Interswitch’s management team to build a high quality and scalable platform geared to address some of these opportunities. We look forward to further collaboration with the Company alongside Visa.”
Founded in 2002, Interswitch disrupted the traditional cash-based payments value chain in Nigeria by introducing electronic payments processing and switching services.
Today, Interswitch is a leading player in Nigeria’s developing financial ecosystem with omni-channel capabilities across the payments value chain, processing over 500 million transactions per month in May 2019.
In 2018, electronic payments in Africa accounted for only 12 percent of transactions by volume, compared to 54 per cent in Europe and 79 per cent in North America. Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest-growing digital payments market in the world, with electronic payment volume expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 35 percent from 2018 to 2023 in the region (excluding South Africa). This progress is expected to be driven by the deepening payments infrastructure, population and urbanisation growth, GDP growth above the global average, increased mobile and internet penetration, as well as a supportive regulatory landscape for electronic payments and financial inclusion.
Interswitch’s core market, Nigeria, is the largest economy in Africa with a rapidly growing electronic payments market. Point of Sale (POS) and ATM transactions per adult grew at a CAGR of 94 percent and 59 percent from 2013 to 2018, respectively.
In Nigeria, there were only 11 card transactions per adult per annum in 2018 compared to 92 in markets like South Africa, 126 in Brazil and 465 in the UK. Despite this market under-penetration, POS card transactions in Nigeria are expected to grow at a CAGR of 63 percent between 2018 and 2023.
In addition to its switching and processing services, Interswitch owns Verve, the largest domestic debit card scheme in Africa with more than 19 million cards activated on its network as of May 2019.
The business also operates Quickteller, a leading multichannel consumer payments platform, driving financial inclusion across Nigeria with over 270,000 access points, as of 2018, from which consumers can initiate peer-to-peer transfers, bill payments, airtime purchases, and other e-commerce transactions, processing over 42 million transactions monthly as of July 31, 2019 (equivalent to over N560 billion ($1.5 billion) through direct, indirect and Paypoint channels).
Interswitch’s unique market capabilities and strong consumer proposition, has enabled it to deliver consecutive years of sustainable profitable growth.
Internet Subscribers in Nigeria Grow 13.8% to 154.4 million
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
The number of internet subscribers in Nigeria rose by 13.8 per cent from 135.7 million in March 2020 to 154.4 million in November 2020, according to a report by the National Communication Commission (NCC).
Business Post analysis showed that this occurred as data usage in Nigeria witnessed a 33 per cent increase between March and November last year as it grew from 147,537.52 terabytes to 196,163.42 terabytes.
The piece titled 2020 Subscriber/Network Data Report showed that last year witnessed a significant increase in data usage which reflected on the nation’s telecom industry performance in the period.
NCC noted that the COVID-19 pandemic altered the way and manner business activities were carried out as it reflected the industry performance for the year which challenged the global telecommunication industry in general.
This heavily contributed to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which rose to 12.5 per cent from 10.6 per cent in the same period in 2019.
In terms of the total active voice subscriptions, the NCC report showed there was a 10.6 per cent increase from 184.7 million in December 2019 to 204.2 million as of December 2020.
Teledensity – the number of telephone connections for every hundred individuals living within an area – also increased in the period from 96.8 per cent to 107.1 per cent.
In the mobile voice market segment, subscriptions grew by 10.7 per cent to 204.2 million as against 184.4 million recorded in December 2019. It was revealed that MTN recorded the highest increase in terms of this, as it made a 17.5 per cent year-on-year, in contrast to EMTS, owners of 9mobile, which recorded a drop of 4.8 per cent year-on-year.
The telecom industry also recorded a 60 per cent climb in the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) market segment, increasing from 166,068 subscriptions in 2019 to 265,604 subscriptions the following year.
However, there was a 0.1 per cent decrease in the Fixed Wired/Wireless segment as the section recorded a total of 107,031 subscriptions in December 2020, compared to the 107,154 in the preceding year.
African Proptech Spleet Selected for MetaProp Accelerator
By Adedapo Adesanya
One of Africa’s property technology (proptech) startups, Spleet Africa, has been selected for MetaProp’s 2021 Accelerator Programme, making it the first from the continent to join the Accelerator programme.
The MetaProp Accelerator is the world’s foremost proptech accelerator, founded by MetaProp; a New York-based venture capital firm focused on the real estate technology industry.
As part of the accelerator’s 22-week coaching and advisory period, Spleet will also receive up to $250,000 in funding from the VC.
Speaking on the development, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Spleet, Mr Adetola Adesanmi, said joining the accelerator is a catalyst towards achieving the company’s goals and further driving its value proposition as well as opening up new opportunities for the growing proptech startup ecosystem in West Africa.
“Over the last 3 years, we’ve worked very hard at Spleet to hack a highly valuable but hard to crack segment of Africa’s real estate market.
“Our goal is to power hassle-free rentals, for our landlords and tenants, and bridge the trust issues that currently exist between both parties.
“We are expanding to Ghana and Kenya, and are looking to other African markets. All these haven’t been easy, and has meant tapping into every available resource,” he said.
The company’s ambitious plan is to tap into the unexplored proptech market in Africa, which accounts for only one per cent of the global market share.
And with more than $23.8 billion in global property tech investment, Mr Adesanmi said he and the team are excited to be starting the MetaProp accelerator programme in September and will maximize the opportunity.
On his part, the co-founder and general partner at the VC, Mr Zachary Aarons, believes proptech will most likely be the next wave after fintech.
“The Nigerian fintech ecosystem has been absolutely on fire recently. Guess what usually follows fintech? It’s proptech. I have spoken to two high-quality Lagos based proptech companies in the past week alone,” Mr Aarons said.
Founded in 2015, MetaProp’s investment team has invested in over 130 technology companies across the real estate value chain.
Tizeti to Hold Summit on Digital Technology Future
By Adedapo Adesanya
Tizeti, West Africa’s pioneer solar-based internet service provider, will convene Nigeria’s prominent corporate leaders, C-level executives, IT managers, technology startups, and digital thought leaders at the maiden edition of its futuristic Tizeti NeXTGEN conference themed The Future of Digital is Here.
This would be held in line with the company’s commitment to widening digital inclusion for Africa with affordable broadband connectivity to the continent’s underserved populations.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Tizeti’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kendall Ananyi, said that Tizeti NeXTGEN is a flagship conference focused on discussing the digital environment in Africa and highlight how digital transformation will empower more Nigerians.
He also noted that the conference will open participants on how to stimulate economic activities, provide a foundation for a robust and thriving ecosystem to enable digital leadership for Africa in the 4.0 world and complement the digital efforts of other industry stakeholders in driving investment promotion and building a robust technology ecosystem in Nigeria, and Africa.
Mr Ananyi noted that the maiden edition will feature product launches on Tizeti’s plans around Next Generation Unlimited Wi-Fi, Smart Interactive Voice response systems and expanding access to unlimited internet in Africa.
The event has been scheduled to hold on Wednesday, August 11, 2021, at 12 noon.
It will convene hundreds of attendees in a hybrid event and will bring together its various partners within the African telecommunications, technology, and business communities to share its ambitions for the future of digital in Africa.
The event provides an opportunity to network, discover new opportunities and discuss breakthrough trends in the global Telecoms space and tech ecosystem with unique perspectives from C-Level Executives and its partners.
Interested participants can register for the event here https://bit.ly/TizetiNeXTGEN01
Tizeti is a fast-growing wireless internet service provider in Lagos, Nigeria, delivering high-speed unlimited Wi-Fi Internet access to residential and business customers using wide-area Wi-Fi.
Its services are available in Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers State. It is also expanding rapidly to other African countries as it has been successfully launched in Accra and Tema, Ghana.
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