The nearly-$400 million poured into fintech companies in Nigeria alone this week is being remarked upon as a testament to the growing investor interest in sub-Saharan Africa. The three recipients of the new capital in recent days are OPay ($120 million), Interswitch ($200 million), and PalmPay ($40 million). The investors include Sequoia Capital China and SoftBank Ventures Asia, as well as China’s Transsion and Visa.
For comparison, African fintechs raised $357 million in all of 2018, according to a 2019 report from the GSM Association, The Mobile Economy, Sub-Saharan Africa. Quoted in the Financial Times on the week’s funding news, Guaranty Trust Bank chief executive Segun Agbaje credited the payments industry for the surge in investment, calling the growth in the sector “probably like no other on the continent.”
China’s impact on international fintech is also evident in the news that Ant Financial is considering applying for a virtual banking license in Singapore. Successfully securing such a license would enable Ant Financial to compete against Chinese incumbents like DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ant Financial secured a license to operate a digital wallet in Hong Kong last year.
Latin America and the Caribbean
- Brazil’s digital bank Neon raises $94 million in round led by General Atlantic and Brazil Banco Votorantim.
- Biz Latin Hub’s Craig Dempsey makes the case for Mexico as the fintech sector to watch in 2020.
- Mexican non-bank wallet service Todito Cash inks partnerships with four financial payment solutions companies.
- Ant Financial may be one the hunt for a Singaporean virtual banking license, reports Bloomberg, following the online finance titan’s recent scoring of a license to operate a digital wallet in Hong Kong.
- InstaReM rebrands as Nium, announces cross border payments partnership with Cambodian banking group, PhillipBank.
- Indonesia’s biggest banking group, Bank Mandiri will use the Avaloq’s Banking Suite to run its wealth management division, which has $14 billion in assets under management.
- Nigeria’s OPay raises $120 million in new funding. The investment adds to the $50 million the mobile payments service raised in June.
- Asilimia, a Kenya-based fintech that helps SMEs access more efficient mobile payment solutions, secures $350,000 in funding.
- South African digital commerce fintech Vectra wins Seedstars Cape Town competition.
Central and Eastern Europe
- Revolut reaches 250,000 users in Hungary and reports an 8x gain in monthly transaction volume since the beginning of the year.
- Latvia-based, P2P lending platform TWINO surpasses €1 billion euros in originated loans.
- Tradeshift moves Bucharest team to larger office in Tower Center, announces plans to hire more staff next year.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- A partnership between BPC and WeNet will bring a new instant payments system to Yemen.
- ZagTrader wins full certification for its market making technology from Bourse Kuwait.
- In partnership with the Dubai Financial Services Authority, Wethaq pilots Sukuk issuance on its securities market infrastructure.