Fintech Ukheshe appoints Anton Coertzen as President of Strategic Partnerships

SOUTH AFRICA – Fintech enabler Ukheshe Technologies, has announced the appointment of Anton Coertzen as President of Strategic Partnerships, who will be responsible for growing the business through key partnerships which complement the company’s business development and product innovation strategy. The appointment comes as Ukheshe continues to entrench its position as a formidable payment technology specialist within the business to business sector. Following the announcement of its global expansion, Ukheshe will focus on establishing significant long-term partnerships with banks, telcos, fintechs, governments, and payment associations across Africa as well as…

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Japan’s NINJA Accelerator in Kenya picks 5 startups for its first cohort

KENYA – The “NINJA Accelerator in Kenya” – powered by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in partnership with Double Feather Partners (DFP), Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support (DTVS), Deloitte Tohmatsu Financial Advisory (DTFA) and GrowthAfrica has selected five high-potential Kenyan ventures for its first cohort. The NINJA Accelerator in Kenya will offer a blend of local, Japanese, and international mentoring, expertise, coaching, and investor relations, all customized to meet the needs of each venture over the course of three months with a Demo Day scheduled for July 29th, 2021.  The…

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I&M Holdings completes acquisition of Ugandan lender Orient Bank

UGANDA – I&M Holdings Plc. has completed the acquisition of 90 percent shareholding in Uganda’s privately-owned lender Orient Bank Ltd (OBL) as part of its regional expansion plan. In a press statement, I&M said the acquisition was completed on April 30, 2021 after the transaction received the necessary approvals from the Central Bank of Kenya, Bank of Uganda, Capital Markets Authority of Kenya and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). The agreement for the deal priced at US$26.93 million was made in July 2020. “I&M Group aspires to…

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Union Bank confirms Beatrice Bassey as its Board of Directors chairman

NIGERIA – Union Bank of Nigeria (Plc) has announced the confirmation of Mrs Beatrice Hamza Bassey as the Chairman Board of Directors of the bank, by the Central Bank. This follows her initial appointment by the board as the acting Chairman in December 2019after the death of the former Chairman of the Bank, Cyril Odu, in September 2019. Mrs Beatrice Hamza Bassey joined the Board of Union Bank as a Non-Executive Director in 2015. She is currently the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Atlas Mara Limited, a publicly…

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Real estate developer Maxim Development secures US$28 additional loan from NBE

EGYPT – Maxim Development, a real estate developer, has acquired has secured EGP 450 million (US$28.73m) syndication loan, a new one from the previously signed with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), in cooperation with the Arab African International Bank (AAIB). The financing will go towards accelerating operations at the Bo Sidi Abdel Rahman development. The new portion will be directed to the project’s construction process, and to expedite the delivery of the contracted units, in addition to paying a new instalment of the land price. This is the third…

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Uhuru Growth Fund I reaches US$113m first close to support economic revival

NIGERIA – The Uhuru Investment Partners (Uhuru), a middle-market private equity firm based out of Lagos and Abidjan, has announced the first close of Uhuru Growth Fund I (UGF) at US$113 million with capital support from the CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution (DFI), along with other DFI partners, commercial and Impact Investors. In addition to CDC, UGF is backed by commercial investors AfricaGrow and Kuramo Capital, in addition to DFIs including European Investment Bank, DEG, SIFEM and Finnfund. Commitment from Uhuru’s partners will provide the vital capital to…

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SaaS startup Expensya raises US$20m fund to accelerate its product development

TUNISIA – Expensya, a Tunisian French automated spend management solution for businesses, has announced in a statement that it has raised US$20 million in fresh funds from Paris-based MAIF Avenir and Amman-based Silicon Badia. The startup will use the funding to accelerate its product development and international growth as it aims to become the leader for business expense management solutions. The Series B round takes Expensya’s total raise to date to over US$25 million, making it the best-funded Tunisian startup and one of the best-funded SaaS startups of the Middle…

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Global e-commerce jumps to US$26.7 trillion, Covid-19 boosts online retail sales – UNCTAD

WORLD – According to a new  report by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), online retail sales grew markedly in several countries, with the Republic of Korea reporting the highest share at 25.9% in 2020, up from 20.8% the year before. Meanwhile, global e-commerce sales jumped to US$26.7 trillion globally in 2019, up 4% from 2018, according to the latest available estimates. This includes business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sales and is equivalent to 30% of global gross domestic product (GDP) that year. “These statistics show the growing…

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Uber launches electric boda bodas & bicycles in Kenya

KENYA – Tech company Uber, has launched electric boda bodas and bicycles for drivers on UberBoda, Uber Connect and Uber Eats in Kenya, a first for Uber in Sub-Saharan Africa. The launch of electric Boda Bodas will offer an affordable and reliable manner of transportation within the city and will enable customers to select a zero-emissions ride to help drive a green recovery. Using electric UberBoda will cost the same as a regular journey. The launch of electric boda presents a 45% reduction in overall costs for UberBoda and Uber…

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Bus hailing startup SWVL expands its operations to Saudi Arabia

EGYPT – SWVL, an Egyptian bus-hailing startup, has launched its operations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, its fourth market since it was founded in 2017. The startup is already present in Kenya, Pakistan as well as Egypt. In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital and main financial hub with a population of close to 8 million, Swvl will join forces with other competitors including Uber, Careem, My Taxi, Jahz and Taxi Watani, among others. In 2018, the Saudi Arabia’s Public Transport Authority (PTA) said there were 20 ride-hailing applications already licensed to run…

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