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South Africa Mandates Licensing for Crypto Exchanges in Regulatory Overhaul


South Africa to Mandate Crypto Exchange Licenses by Year-End; Enforcement Action Planned for Non-Compliance

South Africa’s financial regulator, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), has announced that all crypto exchanges in the country must obtain licenses by the end of the year.

Since opening license applications a few weeks ago, the FSCA has already received approximately 20 applications, with more expected before the November 30 deadline. FSCA Commissioner Unathi Kamlana stated that enforcement action, including potential closure or fines, will be taken against firms that continue to operate without a license after the deadline.

The move aims to address potential harm to financial customers and establish a regulatory framework. Kamlana expressed the intention to collaborate with the industry for continuous improvement.

South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy, becomes the first African country to mandate licenses for digital asset exchanges. Notable exchanges originating from South Africa, such as Luno and VALR, will be required to obtain licenses. Even global platforms like Binance, operating in the country, will need to comply. Luno’s local unit manager, Christo de Wit, confirmed the submission of their license application and awaits feedback from the FSCA.

In recent years, South Africa has witnessed several major crypto scams resulting in the loss of billions of dollars. Notable cases include the disappearance of 70,000 Bitcoins from Africrypt, run by the Cajee brothers, and the fraudulent scheme Mirror Trading International Proprietary.

In response, the FSCA has actively engaged in crypto and fintech regulations, collaborating with the country’s major financial sector regulators and policymakers through an intergovernmental fintech working group.

While many South African lenders have refrained from providing banking services to crypto platforms due to associated risks, the central bank has urged them to reconsider, aiming to gain better visibility into the sector.

Kamlana emphasized that being part of the formal sector and under the regulation of a tightly regulated entity like a bank offers enhanced transparency and reassurance.

Additionally, measures are being implemented to protect consumers, including financial education and raising public awareness about cryptocurrency products.

Zuvy Secures $4.5M Funding to Amplify Invoice Financing Across Nigeria


Zuvy, a Lagos-based startup, has emerged as a much-needed solution to address the financial underservice faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa. Led by founder and CEO Angel Onuoha-Onyekuru, Zuvy aims to provide accessible and affordable capital to African SMEs through its user-centric platform. The recent funding round of $4.5 million, led by TLG Capital, positions Zuvy to revolutionize invoice financing across Nigeria.

The funding round, led by TLG Capital, attracted diverse investors, including Next Chymia Consulting HK, Dunbar Capital, Vicus Ventures, and notable angel investors like David Mussafer, Chairman & Managing Director of Advent International. This capital infusion will cater to the increasing demand from vendors on the Zuvy platform and expand their loan book.

Angel Onuoha-Onyekuru, the CEO and co-founder of Zuvy, brings a strong background in finance, accounting, and entrepreneurship. He also heads Next Chymia Consulting HK, which participated in the funding round.

Angel passionately expressed the company’s mission and the recent funding round, emphasizing their dedication to facilitating access to liquidity for African SMEs. He believes credit availability is crucial for early-stage businesses and aims to be a leading provider of accessible and tailored credit solutions for Africa’s SME sector.

Aside from invoice financing, Zuvy offers free invoice management software, empowering businesses to instantly create, manage, and send invoices to customers. This software streamlines the invoicing process, enhancing efficiency and accuracy for SMEs. Additionally, Zuvy provides a WhatsApp Assistant, enabling users to generate, manage, and send invoices through the popular messaging app, offering convenience and accessibility to vendors and buyers.

In an official press release on July 3rd, 2023, Zuvy expressed its readiness to impact the financial inclusion of African SMEs substantially. With its user-centric platform, innovative software solutions, and significant funding, Zuvy is well-positioned to amplify invoice financing across Nigeria, providing SMEs with the necessary capital to thrive and contribute to the continent’s economic growth.

Kenya’s e-health Startup MyDawa Secures $20 Million Funding


Kenyan e-health startup MyDawa has secured $20 million in funding from private equity investor Alta Semper Capital. The investment will fuel the company’s expansion plans to broaden its regional presence and enhance its product offerings, aiming to establish itself as a comprehensive health platform.

Since its establishment in 2016, MyDawa has evolved from being solely an e-pharmacy to offering diverse services such as online and in-person consultations, laboratory services, and an expanding network of walk-in pharmacies and health centers.

In addition to its existing ventures, MyDawa has introduced its own branded products and intends to leverage its technology infrastructure, extending beyond telehealth to fulfillment services. This move aims to support other businesses in the health sector and facilitate their growth. MyDawa has already secured partnerships with prominent clinic chains in Kenya that are seeking to expand their reach.

Furthermore, MyDawa has made its first strategic acquisition, obtaining Uganda’s Guardian Health. This acquisition marks the initial step in MyDawa’s ambition to expand beyond Kenya. The company’s growth trajectory will be guided by its newly appointed CEO, Priscilla Muhiu, previously associated with Glovo Kenya.

Co-founder Neil O’Leary expressed enthusiasm about the funding and the recent acquisition, highlighting the alignment of Alta Semper’s ambition with that of MyDawa. O’Leary emphasized the positive impact of these developments on the company’s secure foundation and expansion opportunities, leading to improved health outcomes.

The investment from Alta Semper follows a previous $3 million funding from AAIC’s Africa Healthcare Fund in 2019. Additionally, MyDawa has received a $1.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to enhance access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) medication for combating the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Alta Semper CEO Afsane Jetha described the investment as the company’s first foray into digital healthcare in Africa, recognizing the sector’s substantial growth potential. Jetha explained that MyDawa was the logical choice due to its innovative technology, scalable business model, regulatory expertise, and market entry experience.

The investment aligns with Alta Semper’s mission to democratize access to health and well-being throughout the African continent by increasing access to reliable advice and affordable medication. With Africa’s consumer spending projected to reach $2.1 trillion by 2025, the investment in MyDawa represents a significant opportunity to meet the growing demand and invest in locally produced and value-priced consumer goods and services.

Computer Vision: The Game Changer for Modernizing African Finance


With about 350 million unbanked adults in Sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for 17% of the global total, the proper adoption and utilization of AI and computer vision in Africa’s finance sector can have immense future potential.

The integration of these advanced technologies can revolutionize the sector, improve efficiency, and provide new opportunities. The KYC process and National ID verification can significantly benefit from computer vision technology, including facial recognition and OCR.

Computer vision technology has the potential to significantly increase financial inclusion and expand access to financial services for the previously underserved unbanked population in Sub-Saharan Africa.

By enabling mobile-based identity verification, individuals can easily onboard themselves by taking a picture of their ID cards or a selfie, which can be used to verify their identity.

Computer vision can use facial recognition algorithms to match the image captured with the ID card, reducing onboarding time and eliminating the need for physical verification.

Here are eight potential ways that computer vision technology can be implemented in the finance sector in Sub-Saharan Africa to improve KYC and National ID verification, as well as provide customers with self-serve options:

1. National ID Verification: Financial institutions can use computer vision to verify the authenticity of the National ID card presented by a customer during the KYC process. The system can match the biometric data on the card with the customer’s physical features to ensure a reliable match.

2. Loan Application: Computer vision can be used to analyze customer documents and information submitted through online loan applications. The system can quickly verify the customer’s identity, income, and credit history, making it easier for financial institutions to approve or deny loans without the need for manual processing.

3. Facial Recognition: Computer vision can be used to capture and analyze the facial features of customers during the KYC process. This can be linked to the National ID system for enhanced accuracy in verifying customer identities.

4. Document Scanning: OCR technology, banks, and other financial institutions can automate the process of reading and processing these documents presented by customers, such as passports or driver’s licenses, during the KYC process. This can ensure the document is genuine and accurate.

5. Check Deposit: Computer vision can be used to scan and process check deposits made by customers through mobile apps or ATMs. The system can analyze the check for authenticity and deposit the funds into the customer’s account without the need for a physical visit to a bank branch.

6. Fraud Detection: Computer vision can be used to monitor customer transactions and behavior for potential fraud or suspicious activity. The system can flag suspicious transactions for further investigation by financial institution staff.

7. Personal Finance Management: Computer vision can be used to provide customers with personalized finance management tools, such as budgeting and spending tracking. The system can analyze the customer’s account history and transactions to provide tailored financial advice and recommendations.

8. Chatbots: Chatbots powered by computer vision can provide customers with quick and accurate responses to their queries, reducing the need for customers to visit bank branches or call customer service centers. The chatbots can also be programmed to provide personalized services based on the customer’s account history and preferences.

While the adoption of computer vision technology in the finance sector in Africa may be slow at first, financial institutions can gradually introduce self-service options and provide customers with tutorials and training materials to increase adoption rates.

Overall, computer vision technology has the potential to revolutionize the finance sector in Africa, particularly in relation to KYC and National ID verification. By modernizing the sector, financial institutions can improve efficiency and provide a better customer experience for Africans.



About the Author: Tesfaye Mengistu is a Seasoned Business Developer with 14 years of diverse experience working with multinational firms in Technology Business Development, Technical Sales, Business Intelligence, Analytics, Contract Negotiation, and Administration, International Sales and Logistics, and Product Development. Mr.Tesfaye holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, a Master in Business Administration, and a Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence.

Brainstack Academy Launches Content Marketing Fellowship for African Youths

[Ilorin, Nigeria, May 8th, 2023]

Brainstack Academy, an online digital marketing school has announced the launch of the first cohort of its content marketing fellowship for African youths.

The content marketing fellowship, scheduled to begin on June 5th, 2023 is a 3-months cohort and hands-on practical program that helps African youths build profitable careers in content marketing.

The application is open to any young person in any African country who has access to a smartphone and internet connection.

“We’re excited to launch the maiden edition of the content marketing fellowship,” said AbdulGaniy Shehu, the Co-founder, and CEO of the Edtech startup. “Our goal with this fellowship is to equip the next generation of African Content Marketers who will compete globally in the $584 billion content marketing industry.”

“This fellowship marks the beginning of the future we envision for the digital marketing industry in Africa” reiterated Sodiq Ajala, the Co-founder and COO of the company. “This is not just an online course, where you get a series of videos and don’t know what to do with them. It’s a cohort-based training program with mentorship and hands-on practical included.”

The launch of Brainstack Academy’s Content Marketing Fellowship is a step towards the Edtech startup’s mission of providing high-quality digital marketing training for Africans. At the end of the program, participants will understand the rudiments of content marketing. They’ll also be equipped with the strategies, frameworks, mental models, and tactics they can use to create content that ranks high on Google, gets read, and drives business results.

About Brainstack Academy

Brainstack Academy is an online institute that equips Africans with in-demand digital marketing skills. We make it easy for Africans to learn, become certified, and kickstart profitable careers in digital marketing.


Sendmarc secures $7m Series A funding to enhance email and domain security


South African email and domain security leader Sendmarc has secured a US$7 million Series A funding round to advance its product development and expand its market enablement strategy. Sendmarc offers clients access to an array of tools for securing email domains, ensuring compliance with global email and domain security best practices, and monitoring for attempted abuse.

The company has an impressive client roster, which includes banks, law enforcement agencies, retailers, insurance companies, and tech companies, among others. The funding will be used to build on Sendmarc’s successful track record, with a focus on enhancing email and domain security.

Atlantica Ventures led the funding round, with Allan Gray E-Squared Ventures, Fireball Capital, Endeavor Catalyst, 4Di Capital, Kalon Venture Partners, Endeavor Harvest, and Alpha Private Capital also participating.

The funding will be used to expand Sendmarc’s market enablement strategy and further develop its product. The company plans to focus on being the best in email and domain security while expanding its reach and maintaining its reputation as a leader in the industry.

Sendmarc CEO and founder Sam Hutchinson said that the funding will help the company to continue improving its product and expand its market enablement strategy, adding that they are proud to have protected over 10 billion emails from impersonation last year.

Aniko Szigetvari, Atlantica principal, and co-founder stated that cybercrime has become a major disruptor of economic activity worldwide, costing companies and governments billions of dollars annually in financial loss and reputational impact.

The Sendmarc team’s focus on email and domain security protection is a crucial area of cybersecurity that addresses a growing issue or pain point. The company’s founding team is exceptional, and they are excited to support the growth of their product and geographic expansion.

Foodtech Startup Terraa Secures $1.5M Pre-Seed Funding to Build Sustainable Food Supply Ecosystem in Africa


Terraa, a Moroccan foodtech startup, has secured $1.5 million in pre-seed funding from investors led by FoodLabs, along with UM6P Ventures, Outlierz Ventures, Musha Ventures, and DFS Lab. The startup will use the funding to expand its team, enhance its technology infrastructure, and expand to major cities in Morocco.

Terraa’s B2B platform and logistics infrastructure aim to make food supply chains more sustainable and equitable in Africa. The platform enables farmers to earn higher incomes, and retailers to have access to high-quality goods at competitive prices. Terraa purchases directly from farmers and delivers to fruit and vegetable vendors, hotels, and restaurants, creating a transparent and efficient food supply ecosystem that aims to address the operational inefficiencies and lack of technology and data in Africa’s food supply chain.

Terraa’s vision is to create a more sustainable and equitable food supply ecosystem that benefits all stakeholders, including farmers, retailers, and consumers. In many African countries, the food supply chain is riddled with intermediaries, which leads to inflated prices, poor quality of food, and significant waste.

Terraa’s tech-enabled platform and logistics infrastructure aim to address these challenges by creating a transparent and efficient food supply ecosystem. The platform’s direct-to-farmer approach eliminates intermediaries, enabling farmers to earn higher incomes and access stable markets at better prices. Retailers, on the other hand, benefit from competitive prices and a consistent supply of high-quality goods.

The pre-seed funding will help Terraa expand its reach to major cities in Morocco and enhance its technology infrastructure. By building a more efficient and sustainable food supply ecosystem, Terraa aims to make food more affordable and accessible to everyone, while also ensuring secure income for farmers.

The startup’s innovative approach has gained the support of investors who share its mission of leveraging technology to drive quicker and more efficient transactions. The backing of renowned investors like FoodLabs, UM6P Ventures, Outlierz Ventures, Musha Ventures, and DFS Lab is a testament to Terraa’s potential to transform the food supply chain in Africa.

Mozn has teamed up with Mambu to strengthen digital banking operations in the Middle East


Mozn, a leading enterprise Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology provider, has announced a strategic partnership with Mambu. The partnership aims to provide industry-leading cloud banking solutions with SaaS products built on cutting-edge R&D and intelligence engines.

The collaboration will combine Mambu’s cloud-native banking platform with Mozn’s AI-powered financial crime prevention suite “FOCAL” to provide digital banking solutions that deliver seamless and secure experiences for customers in the Middle East and Africa. The partnership aims to empower financial institutions to scale, reduce costs, and strengthen AML compliance, all while increasing customer trust through the most secure money-management processes.

Mozn’s FOCAL is a unified financial crime-fighting suite designed to meet the needs and challenges of emerging markets. With the use of powerful AI and seamless automation, FOCAL empowers financial institutions to confidently and efficiently screen customers, monitor transactions, and assess risks. This helps organizations combat the ever-evolving and sophisticated attacks targeting the region and meet rapidly scaling regulatory demands.

Mambu’s cloud-native platform is API-driven and designed to fuel financial innovation, bring solutions to market faster, drive down cost barriers, and allow ecosystems to expand. Its technology empowers non-banks, neobanks, and traditional financial institutions to support customers and underserved segments with access to modern financial services by modernizing their core operations.

Miljan Stamenkovic, General Manager MEA at Mambu, stated that “Regulation and compliance in financial services have to evolve fast. Combined with the growth of digital banking, fintech, and the payments ecosystem in the GCC region, we expect to see a surge in the need for specialized propositions.” The collaboration between Mozn and Mambu aims to build a stronger bridge between local financial institutions and their customers, providing strict adherence to evolving compliance and risk management standards.

Dr. Mohammed Alhussein, Founder & CEO at Mozn, emphasized that “Today, customers rely on safe and secure digital banking for their financial needs.” The combined best-in-class solutions provided by Mozn’s strategic partnership with Mambu will enable financial institutions to increase customer trust by offering the most secure money-management processes. The partnership will also help financial institutions scale, reduce costs, and strengthen their anti-money laundering compliance.

Nigeria Receives $976 Million Out of Africa’s Total $3.3 Billion in Technology Start-up Investments


A new report by Disrupt Africa, the African Tech Startups Funding Report 2022, reveals that Nigeria attracted the largest tech startup investments in Africa last year, with $976 million invested in 180 fintech startups. Nigeria’s startups made up 28.4% of Africa’s funded ventures and received 29.3% of the continent’s total investments. The report stated that African tech startups raised more funding than ever before in 2022, with a total of 633 startups raising $3.3 billion, which was 55.1% more than the $2.15 billion raised by 564 African startups in 2021.

The report showed that the record for the largest round ever raised by an African tech startup was broken once again in 2022, with Nigerian fintech startup Flutterwave topping the list with $250 million raised in February. Other startups that raised significant amounts include Moove, a Nigerian mobility fintech company ($181.8 million across five investments), MNT-Halan ($150 million), Yassir ($150 million), Wasoko ($125 million), InstaDeep ($100 million), Clickatell ($91 million), and M-KOPA ($75 million).

The report also revealed that there were at least 987 disclosed investors in African tech startups in 2022, up 216 from the 771 tracked in 2021, marking the largest amount of individual disclosed investors on record. Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, and Kenya remain the “big four” of African startup funding, but startups from more African countries secured investment, with Egypt and Kenya reporting decent growth.

Additionally, startups from 27 African countries received funding in 2022, more than ever before, and the report noted that funding is starting to become slightly more evenly distributed. Despite a record-breaking year for funding in Ghana and Tunisia, the “big four” remains entrenched with no sign of becoming a “five” or “six.”

To start 2023 on a high note, two Nigerian startups won $300,000 at the LEAP Rocket Fuel Pitch Competition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. RiceAfrika Technologies, a tech-driven agri-optimization startup, emerged as the global winner in the ‘Tech for Humanity Award’ category, while Wicrypt, a tech startup that aims to decentralize the internet globally, won in the ‘Into New World Award’ category.

Ghana’s Fortek Joins Forces with Codebase for Digibanc Initiative


Financial services provider Fortek has teamed up with Codebase Technologies to bring its Digibanc platform, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, to the African market. The goal of this partnership is to offer “affordable, accessible, and transparent” digital financial services on the continent.

Through this collaboration, Fortek aims to expand its existing services and support new fintech companies, banks, and start-ups in their digital service offerings, including instant lending, regulatory reporting, payments, and “buy now, pay later.”

The partnership aims to drive digital transformation and promote entrepreneurship in Africa, ultimately contributing to the growth of the economy and financial inclusion for over 1.4 billion people on the continent.

According to Felix Quarcoe, Managing Director at Fortek, the company’s mission has been to “fill in the gaps that traditional institutions have ignored for so long,” and this partnership with Codebase Technologies will allow it to “help anyone, anywhere, anytime.”

Paul Nilsen, Commercial Director and Africa Managing Director at Codebase Technologies, states that if fintech companies, neobanks, challengers, and corporations want to effectively address customer pain points, they must conform to their demands, not the other way around.


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