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Africa’s Digital Economy poised to explode as regional integration opens new markets

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With Africa’s digital economy taking off exponentially, the continent must ready itself to maximize the potential dividends of the Continental Free Trade Area agreement, panel members told a packed auditorium in Kigali at the opening of Transform Africa Summit 2019 on Tuesday.

Key to this effort will be connectivity, data and digitization and innovation among others, conference attendees heard.

“Africa can achieve a digital single market…It is a journey and we need to break it up into doable bits, “African Development Bank Vice-president, Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization Pierre Guislain, said, adding that the European Union had demonstrated that it could be achieved.

Other members of the panel Lacina Kone, Director General / CEO of Smart Africa, the conference organizers, Fatoumata Ba, CEO Janngo, Nic Rudnick, CEO Liquid Telecom Group and Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa, World Economic Forum, shared similar sentiments.

This year’s summit which is themed Boosting Africa’s Digital Economy, aims to showcase success stories in the African digital economy and promote homegrown businesses, innovations, solutions and partnerships.

In a special intervention from the audience, World Bank Digital Director Dr. Boutheina Guermazi said:

“ICT and digital literacy is not a luxury. It is an integral part of how we view development,” adding that the foundations of the digital economy – connectivity, data and voice, would depend on a fully integrated digital infrastructure.

With the ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, the possibility of new markets offer tantalizing new avenues for tech start-ups and e-businesses and a combined GDP of over $600 billion.

The internet has opened doors to access information and technology, a key component of accelerating the pace of the digital economy and connecting markets. Interconnection and interoperability create bigger markets which in turn attract investors.

The mobile phone industry is an example of the dynamism of the sector in Africa. Mobile phone subscriptions have grown in Africa from 87 million in 2005 to 760 million in 2017, growing 20% per annum. This is the fastest growing market in the world as well as the one with the most potential. Mobile network coverage ranges from 10 to 99% in Africa– an average of 70%.

Africa’s pioneering efforts in the FInTech space are illustrated by the fact that around half the world’s mobile money providers operate in sub-Saharan Africa, where as many as 80% of adults have a mobile phone. By 2020, the value of Africa’s mobile money industry is projected to top $14bn.

Single window schemes and One Stop Border Posts will accelerate intra-African trade, Guislain said, but openness and competition need to be promoted and defended. Indeed, some vested interests may fear this openness and do whatever they can to keep it from happening. We need to measure the speed of movement along Africa’s major trade corridors and ensure any remaining bottleneck gets removed, he added.

Africa also needs more private sector African champions – companies that have done well nationally and are ready to expand regionally and beyond.

“Business needs to be more of a driver. Domestic African private sector needs to go outside its borders to develop value chains…Africa has shown it can deliver,” Guislain said.

The 2019 Summit aims to provide practical ways to advance the commitments of African governments and partners to transform Africa into a fully digitized economy where technology is harnessed to fully reap the benefits of Pan-African integration efforts.

The Summit was formally opened by Rwandan Prime minister Dr. Ngirente Edouard, who talked about Rwanda’sambitious plan to prioritize digital literacy for all youth by 2024. “We expect to achieve at least 60% by 2024,” he said.

Bank President Akinwumi Adesina will attend the official opening of the summit on Wednesday by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

An estimated 4,000 visitors from over 90 countries are expected for the three-day meeting which has become the continent’s premier digital technology summit. The next two days will see the launch of a Smart Africa Digital Economy Mapping Report, and a Smart Africa Women’s summit as well as several interactive plenaries.

SOURCE African Development Bank (AfDB)

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Credorax Partners With Cisco to Boost Payments Gateway to the Next Level

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Today, Credorax announced that it has partnered with Cisco to upgrade its data-center network’s capabilities, capacity and latency. The agreement enables Credorax to adopt Cisco’s advanced data-center networking technology, including an automation, visibility and management system. Credorax has also agreed to beta-test Cisco’s advanced and future monitoring and management products.

Credorax’s system is already considered one of the fastest in the world with its cutting-edge high throughput, low latency, and multi-continent redundancy, and Cisco’s technology will allow Credorax to push the envelope even further in terms of decreasing transaction latency and increasing throughput. Cisco’s software solution for centralized management and monitoring of network components will play a significant role in Credorax’s solutions, simplify their roll-out of new products and reduce ongoing cost of ownership.

As a licensed merchant acquiring bank, Credorax helps merchants accept payments easily with its recently launched Source gateway. The platform offers telecom-grade (99.999%) availability for processing payments as well as a host of payments products and services, including cards and alternative payment methods, hosted payment pages, advanced KYC screening, smart fraud solutions, and sophisticated business intelligence and data tools.

Cisco is at the forefront in building the network platform that can now deliver a connected, autonomous, and programmable digital platform for Credorax customers.

Cisco-Israel General Manager, Oren Sagi said about the collaboration: “Cisco is committed to do its utmost to provide its customers with the most innovative technologies while maintaining uncompromising quality. We are excited to collaborate with Credorax and help them develop the fastest and most reliable payments gateway possible. I am confident that this project is the first milestone for a successful cooperation between the two companies.”

Moshe Selfin, Credorax CTO & COO stated: “We’re thrilled join forces with Cisco. We have always strived to provide best-class service to our customers, and are confident that by incorporating Cisco’s network platform for data capacity and processing speed into our NextGen payments and acquiring platform, we are offering our merchants the best technology on the market.”

In an era of demanding customers and changing expectations, e-commerce merchants simply can’t survive without the best-in-class cross-border payments processing capabilities. Being both a technology company and an acquiring bank, Credorax has built a full suite of NextGen products and services to help merchants grow their business online. And now with Cisco’s support, Credorax has augmented its offering even further.

 

SOURCE Credorax

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MetricStream Wins “GRC Product of the Year” at the 2019 Risk Technology Awards Hosted by Risk.net

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MetricStream, a market leader in governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) apps and solutions, announced today that its Enterprise GRC Solution has been awarded the “GRC product of the year” at the 2019 Risk Technology Awards, hosted by Risk.net.

“We’re honored to win this award,” said Gaurav Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer, MetricStream. “We believe that it validates the strength, breadth, and depth of our GRC/IRM offerings, as well as our focus on continuous innovation—reflected most prominently in our GRC cloud, advances in predictive analytics, automation, and AI. Our mission is to enable organizations to ‘Perform with Integrity™’. To that end, we’re deeply committed to forging long-term partnerships with our customers and supporting them throughout their integrated GRC journeys.”

The annual Risk.net awards recognize the need for innovative technology solutions to manage risk in a highly dynamic and complex business environment. The average financial services firm faces a plethora of risks, ranging from cyber threats and regulatory pressures, to fintech related disruptions and money laundering issues. As these risks grow more interconnected, siloed approaches to GRC are rapidly giving way to more integrated solutions.

The MetricStream Enterprise GRC platform provides a single, unified system to manage, coordinate, and track multiple types of GRC activities. The solution cuts across organizational silos, enabling a holistic and collaborative approach to GRC. Users can efficiently roll up operational risk, audit, compliance, Cyber and third-party risk information from across the enterprise, and transform it into actionable business intelligence to support decision-making. With support for mobility, real-time reporting, advanced risk analytics, and regulatory notifications, the MetricStream solution helps users manage complex risk requirements in an efficient manner.

Top industry analysts have consistently recognized MetricStream as a leader in GRC/IRM. The company’s wide range of solutions and underlying GRC platform are leveraged by leading financial services firms worldwide, including large global banks, mid-sized banks, private equity investors, investment banks, wealth managers, insurance firms, asset management companies, federal financial agencies, and clearing corporations.

 

SOURCE MetricStream

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MPOWER Financing rated Top international student lender by Nerdwallet and U.S. News

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MPOWER Financing, a mission-driven fintech that provides financial access to higher education for high-promise international and DACA students, was recognized by both Nerdwallet and U.S. News & World Report as the top student loan provider for international students.

Nerdwallet, a comparison website for personal finance products, awarded MPOWER a 5-star rating for its student loans, indicating that its products are “among the very best for consumer-friendly features.” Nerdwallet also commended MPOWER for offering loans that are “ideal for international and DACA students without a co-signer or U.S. credit history.” MPOWER’s loans are available to students from around the world for both graduate and undergraduate degrees at more than 350 top universities in the U.S.and Canada.

U.S. News & World Report recognized MPOWER Financing as the “best lender for international students.” This determination was made on the basis of MPOWER’s product offerings, cost, customer servicing ratings, eligibility, and other features. U.S. News also detailed that MPOWER’s underwriting process considers a student’s academic success and career path – a process that is enabled by MPOWER’s use of big data analytics and artificial intelligence.

“I was having a tough time obtaining education loans from India without collateral,” wrote Kaushik Krishnan, one of MPOWER’s early students. “MPOWER was truly life changing for me. I’ve since graduated from my Masters program, found a job, and paid off my loan.”

“MPOWER allowed me to achieve my dream,” said Sol Bee, a South Korean student. “I was admitted to Berkeley in Fall 2016, but I couldn’t afford it at the time. MPOWER empowered me to be who I wanted to be by allowing me to take control of my finances and my life.”

“We’re honored by the industry recognition we’ve received, and the hundreds of heartfelt stories we get from students whom we have the privilege to serve,” says Manu Smadja, Co-founder and CEO of MPOWER. “We’re working hard to further improve our customer experience and to remain the best international student lending product on the market.”

MPOWER Financing, headquartered in Washington, D.C., and with offices in Bengaluru, New York City, and Toronto, is a mission-driven fintech company and provider of global educational loans. It is the only student lender in the world that leverages both overseas and domestic credit data, as well as future earning potential, to serve high-promise international and DACA students. MPOWER Financing works with over 350 top universities and colleges across the U.S. and Canada to provide financing to students from over 200 countries. Since 2014, it has received over $1B in loan application volume on its platform. MPOWER Financing helps students build their credit histories and provides them with personal finance education and career support to help prepare for life after school. The team is backed by Zephyr Management, Goal Structured Solutions, Gray Matters Capital, Lloyd Crescendo Advisors, 1776, Village Capital, Potentia, Breega, VARIV, DreamIt, Fresco, Chilango, Common Sense Fund, K Street, and University Ventures.

 

SOURCE MPOWER Financing

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