African Fintech Innovation About Improving Client Access Rather Than Experience

Logistics and infrastructure challenges, together with high business start-up costs, have in the past prevented many financial institutions from establishing themselves in developing markets. Thanks to technology and mobile phones, this is no longer the case.

So just how are and can mobile devices benefit consumers in emerging markets, and where does the fast-growing Fintech sector fit in?
Tim Nuy, executive director at African Fintech Company, MyBucks, believes that with the uptake of mobile devices in Africa continuing to increase at a rapid rate, one needs to think of Fintechs as enablers rather than disruptors.

“Take the concept of mobile money, for instance. It is something that is already relatively well known across the African continent thanks to the likes of products such M-PESA, Eco Cash, etc. It is these players that continue to play a significant role in getting mobile money to the poorest of the poor in the most remote regions,” he says. “However, in my view, in Africa it is not as much about increased convenience but rather increased ‘access’ to mainstream financial services such as credit and insurance, that presents the most opportunity.”

For Nuy, another important aspect to consider is the fact that traditional brick and mortar, and people on the ground, cost money. “This scenario makes it unsustainable to service clients through traditional banking or financial services models within emerging markets and Africa in particular.”
In addition, the distances between and distribution of the population, together with the fact that they don’t have huge wealth, means that as a whole these markets don’t really establish a strong business case in terms of establishing branches in these areas.

“So in effect, this means that, while in developed countries, Fintechs challenge credit and financial processes where turnaround times are about increased convenience. In Africa however, Fintechs can be regarded as game changers, as they fill a longstanding void by promoting financial inclusion,” he explains.

Just as bookstores may not favour the introduction of electronic books, and CD shops and video stores the likes of Amazon and Netflix, Nuy says the traditional banking sector may not necessarily fully appreciate the new innovation brought to the sector via ongoing Fintech developments.

“The difference though is that banks are large, licensed and regulated institutions with very large balance sheets, will continue embracing technology through either buying the Fintech innovators or by throwing money at their own innovation,” he concludes.

Source: Itnewsafrica

SA Voters Used Facebook to Share Their Voice in the Recent Election

Facebook gave South Africans the ability to share that they were taking part in last week’s election with an ‘I’m a Voter’ button that appeared in the Facebook newsfeeds of those eligible to vote. With 14 million people in South Africa using Facebook monthly to share and connect with the things they care about, the recent elections are a perfect example of this.

Voters saw a ‘megaphone’ message at the top of their Facebook newsfeed on Election Day, the 3rd of August 2016, and were given the ability to share with their friends that they were voting.
Past studies have found that voters who see more of their Facebook friends talking about voting are more likely to vote themselves. The roll out of the ‘I’m a Voter’ button is a small way that Facebook is helping to encourage people to take part in the democratic process.

The ‘I’m a voter’ button that appeared on users Facebook newsfeed particularly those eligible to vote reached 4,705,045 people and 553,261 shared that they’d voted.   8,891,081 Impressions and 987,616 Primary Actions were linked to this activity.

Following the local elections in South Africa last week, voters also took to Instagram to share their inked thumbs using the hashtag #myvote.
The hashtag, which was used over 9,000 times, shows how people across the country are coming to Instagram to share their voice on the election and to encourage others to ‘make their mark’ on South Africa’s future.

These numbers show that both Facebook and Instagram play an essential role in elections in South Africa by providing unprecedented access to the voices behind the campaigns and showing a personal side to politics.

Ebele Okobi, Head of Public Policy for Africa, Facebook, said: “With 14 million people in South Africa using Facebook we are pleased that our platform is where many South Africans discuss their hopes for South Africa’s future. This effort is one part of Facebook’s mission to make the world more open and connected: by helping the people who use Facebook to engage more easily with the leaders who make the decisions that affect their lives every day.”

Source: Itnewsafrica

[South Africa] SA World’s Third Most Miserable Nation

South Africa is the third most miserable place on the planet, according to a new study, behind Venezuela and Bosnia.

The Land of Smiles, meanwhile, really is the happiest place in the world, at least in terms of holding a job and keeping the rising cost of goods in check.

The Misery Index, computed by adding inflation to the unemployment rate, gives Thailand a score of 1.11%, which is the best — or least miserable — for all 74 economies surveyed.

Singapore and Japan are close runner ups, with 1.4% and 2.7%, respectively. The UK ranks the 17th least miserable country while the US takes 21st place. China follows closely in 23rd spot.
Venezuela is at the other end of the scale as plunging oil revenues have led to chronic shortage of food and medicine, and inflation running at 181%. With an index of 188.2%, the South American country is easily the “world’s most miserable” place. It is followed by Bosnia at 48.97% and South Africa with 32.9%.

Thailand’s unemployment rate was around 1% at the end of June, while its consumer price index rose 0,1% year on year in July versus a 0,4% increase in June.

Even so, it’s not all roses and rapture for the Southeast Asian nation. Slowing inflation, though welcome for consumers, may signal a less than healthy economy.

Disinflation is a sign that demand for goods and services is insufficient to match supply in an economy, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking global market analyst Satoshi Okagawa says. It encourages consumers to delay purchases until goods become cheaper, further lowering demand. In this deflationary spiral, wages will drop, Okagawa adds.

Source: Techcentral

[Kenya] Daystar University pioneers smartphone-based degree programmes

Daystar University has announced a strategic partnership with OneUni to launch Africa’s first smartphone-based degree programmes, the first of which is a Bachelor’s of Education for existing and aspiring teachers.
   
This announcement was made at the Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association Conference in Mombasa county.

Daystar Mobile will enable students to earn Daystar University delivered degrees and diplomas primarily using their smartphones. Courses offered via Daystar Mobile will be accessible to students globally. The initial offering will focus on degree programmes for teachers starting with a Bachelor’s of Education and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education.

In developing Daystar Mobile, the university has partnered with OneUni, an education technology company and social venture with offices in Silicon Valley and Nairobi.

The app will contain all class materials including videos, readings, and interactive exercises. Students can also interact through the app with Daystar faculty who oversee their work. In addition, students will have on-going mentorship and support.

After successfully completing their classwork, in order to demonstrate that they have met the rigorous learning standards of Daystar University, students will be required to complete invigilated final examinations at secure testing centers.

“With the introduction of Daystar Mobile, we will significantly improve access to quality higher education in Kenya and throughout Africa. We see every day, qualified and deserving students who are not able to access higher education and Daystar Mobile will help us address this issue,” says Dr. Timothy Wachira, Daystar University Vice Chancellor.

On his part, OneUni, Chief Executive Officer, Gene Wade noted: “We look to the partnership with Daystar University to facilitate access to higher education for the next generation of teachers and leaders through this transformative offering. Kenya has been a world leader in mobile phone adoption, and we are confident that, through Daystar Mobile, the country will become the leader in mobile higher education. We are committed to facilitating Daystar University to realize this vision.”

More information about the Daystar Mobile programme, including details regarding degree programs, fee structures, and start date of classes will be announced in the upcoming months. Interested parties can be the first to learn of news by signing up at mobi.daystar.ac.ke.
Source: Biztechafrica