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FairMoney secures EUR 10 million seed funding, to widen mobile banking services in Nigeria 

A Paris-based fintech, FairMoney has just secured the sum of 10 million euros in seed funding to widen the company’s online lending services to more customers with the aim of becoming a holistic financial platform for underserved customers, in Nigeria. 

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FairMoney secures EUR 10 million seed funding, to widen mobile banking services in Nigeria 

A Paris-based fintech, FairMoney has just secured the sum of 10 million euros in seed funding to widen the company’s online lending services to more customers with the aim of becoming a holistic financial platform for underserved customers, in Nigeria. 

The funds were raised in a Series A round of investment led by Flourish, a venture of The Omidyar Group, the partners of DST Global, and existing seed investors, NewfundSpeedinvest, and Le Studio VC. 

[READ MORE: A digital bank just secured $1.6 million seed funding] 

The Details: The funds will be pumped into the company’s technical team to develop a platform that will fuel its dream of becoming a fully-fledged mobile banking platform in Nigeria and beyond. 

Laurin Hainy, CEO of FairMoney said the company would continue to innovate its offerings in order to transform to a FinTech that not only lends money but provides a lot of financial services. 

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 “Our vision is to build a holistic financial platform for underserved customers in emerging markets. We want to do that by offering an easy-to-use product to our customers and become a financial one-stop-shop for them. We started with credit for small business owners and individuals, and we are expanding our services rapidly. Think digital bank for emerging market consumers.”

[ALSO READ: Nigerian Companies will soon start contributing to the Police Trust Fund] 

FairMoney’s Approach: The technology Fairmoney uses in underwriting credit is based on a proprietary algorithm that adopts machine learning techniques to smartphone data. The average loans are 30 Euros and customers can grow their loan limits up to 400 Euros over time by showing good repayment habits. 

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 “After backing digital banks in the US, UK, Latin America and South Asia, we are excited to support one of the first companies to bring this model to Africa. We believe that customers will ask a lot more of their banks–to be relevant, banks will have to move from service providers to become financial mentors for their customers. 

“That’s where we see a massive global opportunity for FairMoney, which combines a top-notch banking infrastructure with a culture of obsessive customer focus,” Ameya Upadhyay, a principal at Flourish and FairMoney’s new board member stated. 

About FairMoney 

Launched in 2017FairMoney started as a mobile app that uses alternative smartphone data to underwrite microcredit in Nigeria. FairMoney is a licensed online lender, that provides instant loans to meet up urgent cash needs. 

FairMoney claims to have more than 200,000 customers who use the mobile app, with a majority using the platform to finance their small business needs. FairMoney also introduced the in-app payment function to its users, which allows them to top up their phone subscriptions, buy mobile data, pay electricity or internet bills, among others, already facilitating more than 400 payments daily. Other features, such as digital wallet and saving account are scheduled to launch soon. 

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[READ FURTHER: One year on, Gokada raises $5.3 million in first-ever Series A funding] 

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Reincarnated as a lover of stocks, Angel investors, seed funds, and anything aligned to tech or startups raising money, Joseph's work at Nairametrics involves following the money to wherever it leads. Before joining Nairametrics, he won an investigative journalism fellowship with ICIR, appeared in several national dallies, with hard-hitting opinions, features and investigative pieces. He has also engaged in content marketing and copywriting for a top e-commerce firm in Nigeria.

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Business

US Government removes visa reciprocity fees for Nigerians from December 3

The US government has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the US.

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The United States government has announced the removal of all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the US with effect from December 3.

This disclosure was made through a statement titled, ‘Update on removal of visa fees for Nigerian citizens by the US Government,’ by the Federal Ministry of Finance on Saturday, December 4, 2020, and signed by the ministry’s Spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye.

The Federal Government revealed that this positive development follows the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for United States citizens applying for Nigerian visas by the Nigerian Government.

The statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry reads, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the United States Government has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the United States.

“The positive development is in line with the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for the United States citizens applying for Nigerian visas by the Nigerian Government. The United States Government has therefore eliminated reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens with effect from December 3, 2020.”

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The foreign affairs ministry, in the statement, also advised prospective travellers to the United States to visit www.travel.state.gov for details.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that in 2019, the Donald Trump administration had imposed the reciprocity fee for all approved non-immigrant visa applications by Nigerians. This fee was charged in addition to visa application fees for only applicants who were issued visas.
  • While imposing the additional reciprocity fees, which ranged from $80 to $303 depending on the class of visa, the US Embassy in Nigeria disclosed that the reciprocity fees were a fallout of unsuccessful talks with the Nigerian government over the reduction of visa fees it charged United States citizens.

 

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Corporate Press Releases

Technology now a great tool to drive desired growth in Nigeria, amid COVID – FITC

FITC is passionate about empowering the youths with the right skills and knowledge needed to excel in todays’ tech-driven world.

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Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC)

The Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC) has stated that technology has become a great tool for driving the desired changes in Nigeria, altering ways of life, individual engagements and interactions, especially amid Coronavirus pandemic.

During a webinar organised by the Centre and attended by Nairametrics, Managing Director/ CEO, FITC, Chizor Malize, explained that the 20th century has recorded major breakthroughs in technology through innovation in health, energy production, disease control, business engagement, financial services, and other enterprise solutions.

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She lauded the event partners and sponsors – Bank of Industry, Stanbic IBTC, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and media partners; Nairametrics, Regtech, BBbuzz, The Nation and Financial Nigeria for making the event a huge success.

One of the speakers, the Managing Director of Zercom Systems, a software technology company, Tayo Awosanya, noted that digitization, creativity, and resourcefulness are key elements in achieving personal and organizational success in today’s world. He noted that one of the very bright spots on COVID-19 pandemic is the acceleration in digital learning being witnessed across the different sector of the economy.

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READ: FG records $9 million transactions from SheTrades since 2016 

For Tayo, aside from turning to technology for effective and smart learning outside the classrooms, the pandemic has triggered rapid online product advertisements which is a formidable space for everyone to explore in growing their businesses and acquiring knowledge, which in turn can also become a huge source of livelihood for implementors.

In her submissions, Chief of Staff/ Co-Founder, Future of Africa, Adenike Sheriff, urged youths to consider ways of designing and implementing solutions amid challenges. She disclosed that while Africa has a plethora of problems, the problems invariably presents opportunities for the people of the continent to explore and deploy solutions for the benefits of mankind.

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READ: Infrastructural financing in Nigeria: Why bonds are better than loans

According to Sheriff, leveraging and finding investible ideas opens doors for organizations that will provide the needed take-off grants. Still, the promoter of such idea, she said, must have a clear understanding of how it works and what to do to turn it to reality.

Musty Mustapha, Co-Founder & CTO of Kuda, who spoke on the “Rise of Bedroom Coders” among others, stated that more Africans, many of whom are women, are learning software development with free resources online. He noted that as the continent produces coders, potentially disruptive start-ups are being founded in sectors ranging from fintech to transportation.

READ: Corruption still responsible for Nigerians’ sufferings – Buhari

According to Musty, while digitization is spreading across the African continent, it is not quite a revolution yet. “Only about 20% of the people living in sub-Saharan Africa have internet subscriptions. In the same region, the average subscriber uses 300MB of internet data in a month,” Musty noted.

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While listing the gains of affordable banking services to the people, economy, and businesses, Musty noted that smart technology is leading and bringing people to take advantage of the global digitization that is taking place.

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READ: Okonjo-Iweala shares her vision with WTO members, as she pitches for DG post

“There are lots of start-ups springing up around Nigeria, and people have to take advantage of the industry that is exploding. What we need currently, is the democratization of knowledge to enable more people take advantage of technology to drive their businesses and promote connectivity” Musty stated.

Also at the event, FITC announced the top three winners in the maiden edition of its Youth Connect Essay Challenge 2020.

The winners were announced during the FITC’s virtual Pan African Technology Summit which held on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, in Lagos, with the theme: “Accelerating Growth and Development in Africa: The Role of Technology and Innovation”.

Oke Donatus Chibuzor, an undergraduate from the National Open University, Lagos, Nigeria was announced the star prize winner for the essay competition. He was rewarded with $1,000 cash prize, a laptop, a Leadership Certification programme and a one-year mentorship programme.

The second prize went to Abdul Pelumi Ganiyu, a 20-year old undergraduate at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, who received $500, a laptop and one-year mentorship programme while Ololade Oshodi, a 23-year old undergraduate at the University of Lagos, emerged as the third-place winner and was awarded a laptop and one-year Mentorship programme.

In their comments, the judges said submissions by the finalists were judged on originality, expression, creativity, and appropriateness to the theme.

Speakers at the summit and awards event – Managing Director/ CEO, FITC, Chizor Malize, as the key note speaker, Tayo Awosanya, Managing Director, Zercom Systems; Greg Malize, Founder, IMPACTGEN; Adenike Sheriff, Chief of Staff/Co-founder, Future of Africa and Musty Mustapha, Co-Founder, Kuda- discussed extensively on the growth and development Africa can achieve by leveraging on technology.

Malize, stated that FITC is passionate about empowering the youths with the right skills and knowledge needed to excel in todays’ tech-driven world. She noted that the star prize winner went the extra mile in his report to give depth and showed mastery of the subject, which gave him an edge over others.

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“Africa is filled with very intelligent people and we are proud of all the contestants for the zeal and knowledge displayed in the course of the exercise. FITC will be adopting all winners from across Africa and exposing them to fantastic programmes in the next one year.

“This is definitely not a winner takes it all programme as there is something significant for everyone that has shown interest and commitment in this maiden edition,” she assured.

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Hospitality & Travel

COVID-19: Over 70% of jobs lost in aviation, tourism industries in 2020 – AfDB

The AfDB has stated that about 5 million jobs have been lost in the aviation and tourism industries in Africa due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Aviation in Africa

About 5 million out of Africa’s 7 million aviation and tourism industry-related jobs have been lost in 2020. Also, as much as $15 billion in revenue, half of this to African airlines.

This was disclosed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in a statement issued and seen by Nairametrics on Friday.

READ: FG bars aides of VIPs from airport terminals, to grant loans to airlines, others at 5%

Vice President for Infrastructure, Industrialization and Private Sector, AfDB, Solomon Quaynor explained that the pandemic’s effect was felt more in Africa, a claim that was backed up by numerous panelists at the just concluded AfDB’s webinar themed ‘African Aviation Recovery Conference: coordinating an efficient response to the COVID-19 crisis’s effects on the Aviation sector in Africa.’

READ: FG to double number of airports across the country by 2023

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He said, “The air transport system is really at the forefront of all our collective objectives to realize Africa as a single economic bloc. The centrality of the aviation sector to Africa’s long-term goals by referencing three flagship projects of the AU’s Agenda 2063 that aim to advance open skies and closer connectivity: SAATM, The African Continental Free Trade Area, and the African Passport-Free movement of people.

READ: These are the sad reasons Nigerian airlines struggle and fail 

“The air transport system is really at the forefront of all our collective objectives to realize Africa as a single economic bloc of 1.3 billion people with a GDP of almost 3 trillion dollars, for which we want to begin to really focus and increase trade among ourselves, as well as investment.”

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Also at the event, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika called on African governments to embrace full liberalisation of the aviation sector, invoking the Yamoussoukro Decision, which established an arrangement for the gradual liberalization of intra-Africa air transport services.

READ: Aviation: Aviation sector grasps for stimulus in worst ever crisis

He said, “Nigeria today has all its bilateral air service agreements with the YD and was also among the first ten countries that signed a commitment to implement the Single African Air Transport Market.”

Dr. Amani Abou Zeid, African Union Commission for Infrastructure and Energy, explained that Africa’s aviation industry represents a huge market that the continent’s airlines need to exploit more fully, with technology and AI offering the way forward for expansion, regional development experts.

READ: Plentywaka raises $300,000, seeks partners as it launches operations in Abuja

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“Technology and smart technologies are offering this fantastic opportunity, so let’s make use of AI, let’s make use of the Internet of Things, let’s capacitate our people to revamp and to rethink our industry, to make sure that both our airports and our airlines cater for the very near future,” said Zeid.

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READ: COVID-19: Travel agencies beg FG for interest-free loans

What they are saying

A key takeaway was the urgent need for coordinated action among the sector’s actors, including governments, aviation authorities and multilateral stakeholders such as the Bank.

“The time is now. All of us who have really been working on upstream issues such as SAATM, the World Bank, ourselves, the AU and others, now is the time to really pool our advocacy and resources to make this happen once and for all because if we continue to operate as a federation of 54 states as opposed to an integrated market, our economies will continue to be sub-optimal,” said Quaynor

READ: SAHCO acquires eco-friendly electric tractors for its ramp operations

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