Category Archives: P

NIGERIAN FINTECH – Cowrywise, a digital wealth management platform

By Paul Ndiho

The growing use of wealth-technology platforms is signaling a wider investment culture among young Nigerians who are increasingly looking beyond traditional models of saving. 

Nigeria’s financial system is open to the new transformations in the financial system, especially the introduction of technology.  Wealth management apps like Cowrywise which allow users to automate savings in Naira has become popular by offering savings and investment options with interest rates much higher than what traditional banks offer. Razaq Ahmed, is a Co-Founder of Cowrywise.

“Mutual funds are a solid investment vehicle to broaden that asset class mix on Cowrywise.  While this enables millennial’s to invest for the first time, the simplification of the entire process and the varieties of funds on the platform also means existing investors will find it more convenient to use Cowrywise instead of the traditional approach of investing.”

Launched in 2017, Cowrywise, a digital wealth management platform enables access to affordable investment opportunities for everyone in the marketplace, it also helps users save money and enjoy high returns from risk-free investments in Nigeria — with zero fees.

 “For example, just about 400,000 Nigerians have invested in mutual funds. The mutual fund industry assets of three years ago were only about two billion dollars and currently just about three billion dollars, which means there’s still a lot that needs to be done. So those indicators point to the fact that the market is hugely under-penetrated, and these young people are extremely undeserved when it comes to investment products.”

While wealth-tech platforms market themselves as available to all comers, their user base is mainly dominated by young professionals who are more tech savvy and trusting of the internet.  Razaq also admits younger users hold extra appeal for business.

“Currently we have more than a hundred thousand people who uses Cowrywise regularly and invested in mutual funds and our target market is to reach out to about 10 million people by 2025.”

 Cowrywise is partnering with top investment houses such as Meristem and Afrinvest to give Nigerians access to multiple mutual funds all in one app.  These mutual funds invest in companies and high-quality fixed income securities.

 “Banks have done a bit in terms of making banking services available. For example, there are about 40 million unique bank users in Nigeria. Even though we still have another 40 million Nigerians who have never stepped into the banking hall. So, there is a lot that needs to be done in terms of making financial products available to the mass market.”

 Razaq Ahmed says transactions in Nigeria are growing increasingly mobile.

“Young people are obsessed with using smartphones. So, we have about twenty million smartphones in the country currently. And they also can’t do without having access to the Internet. Right. So those three combinations make it extremely easy for us to develop our product in terms of distribution, to target those people.”

Analysts say Nigeria’s savings market is rapidly increasing and by leveraging technology, the wealth management industry could leap-frog legacy issues faced by the same industry in developed markets and possibly have a higher adoption rate than witnessed in other markets such as the United States or Europe.

E-GAMING IN RWANDA

The gaming industry, as a form of entertainment, in most of Africa is s still its infancy. Still, an increasing number of young Africans are honing their gaming skills intending to build professional careers in the fast-growing industry.

In Rwanda, Guez show studios, creators of VR computer-generated content, is proving that this kind of content has the potential to change the gaming industry. Africa 54 technology reporter Paul Ndiho, via Skype, spoke to up Mufuth Nkurunziza, CEO, and Founder, Guez show animation studios, in Kigali Rwanda.

RWANDA TECH HUB EMPOWERING WOMEN

Rwanda like most African countries is gradually reopening its economy after several weeks of lock-down due to the corona-virus pandemic, which threw the country into a deep freeze. Small business and startups are struggling to stay in business.

Africa 54’s Paul Ndiho via skype, spoke to Jennifer Batamuliza, Founder, Rwa Tech Hub, a startup that teaches I.T, mentors’ girls and women to enter the field of Science and Technology.

NIGERIAN VENTURE CAPITAL “FUTURE AFRICA”

By Paul Ndiho

A Nigerian entrepreneur is contributing to a drastic change in Africa’s technology landscape.  His ability to start multi million-dollar tech companies, create jobs, and solve the continent’s pressing challenges is going very well.  

Nigerian technology entrepreneur, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, is arguably one of the most recognized names in Africa’s tech space.  The 29 year-old, has already invested in more than 20 technology companies across Nigeria and East Africa.

Here are two examples, Andela, is a talent accelerator that recruits and trains software developers and connects them with employers in Silicon Valley.  And Flutter wave is a global payments platform that empowers African merchants to operate on a worldwide scale.

Now Aboyeji is on a new mission to fund promising startups through his venture capital firm “Future Africa.”  The company is a people-powered innovation fund that provides capital, coaching, and community to mission-driven innovators that turn Africa’s most significant challenges into business opportunities.

 “I’ve spent the last few years at building startups, some of which are most people know like Andela and Flutter wave, and now I’m an Angel investor in businesses. And I intend to build a small portfolio of startups geared to solving tough problems across Africa”.

Aboyeji says his goal is to “create new and more sustainable funding sources for Nigeria’s tech Eco-system.  Future Africa comprises diaspora-based Nigerians looking to tap into tech opportunities back home, as well as younger, upwardly mobile Nigerians interested in aggressive investment strategies.

“We usually focus on companies that are solving challenging problems, and it comes from our own experiences as founders when we started Andela. We knew there was a vast unemployment gap; the education that young people are receiving at that time wasn’t going to give them the ability to engage in global jobs, like in development and design.  What we did was to devote programs that addressed the challenges that we face, and this created a flooded space of remote engineers, designers, and writers from Nigeria.”

 Investment in Nigerian startups has soared over the last five years, making Lagos the most valuable technology hub in Africa.  But the financial support is being dominated by funds from Silicon Valley, London, China, or elsewhere, rather than from local investors or high net worth individuals.  They tend to focus on more traditional sectors like energy and agriculture.

“Nigeria is an interesting country. In terms of Africa, Nigeria is a critical factor. It’s the largest economy, and it has the largest population and a very diverse market. So, understanding this place and conquering it means not just to getting richer but really to providing people with the playbook for scaling across the continent.”

Aboyeji has hosted several tech giants in Nigeria, including Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook and Jack Dorsey, co-founder, and CEO of Twitter. Both men are invested heavily in the Nigerian market.

Much of the collective’s credibility likely stems from Aboyeji’s track record as a startup founder and investor, having co-founded Andela and Flutterwave.  The companies have received a combined $235 million in funding.

54gene, a genomics research firm that Aboyeji has invested in has raised $15 million dollars.  For a man whose dream is to change Africa’s technology scene, the sky is the limit.

GHANAIAN FOOTWEAR MANUFACTURER HOPES TO RECOVER FROM THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Ghanaian shoe marker horseman shoes says that his full-year profit was likely to fall by at least 50% and he was unlikely to hire new people, while all options were open for his footwear business.

Horseman, which makes shoes and other leather products, has been grappling with harsh conditions as a result of COVID 19. For more, Africa 54’s Paul Ndiho via Skype, spoke to Tonyi Senayah, C.E.O., horseman shoes in Ghana.

A SIERRA LEONEAN AUTO MECHANIC BUILDS AN ELECTRIC CAR

A Sierra Leonean mechanical engineer based in the United Kingdom is making his mark in the automobile and technology industry.
Festus Vandy, Co-Founder, Turbo Electric has designed an electric car that he hopes to bring to the market soon.
He has a passion for electric cars, but his ability to build his car from scrap metal is remarkable. His dream is to become one of Sierra Leone’s budding automotive engineers.

Africa 54’s Paul ndiho via Skype, spoke to, Festus Vandy, currently in Free Town, Sierra Leone.

HOW COVID-19 HAS CHANGED THE WAY EDUCATION IS DELIVERED

Even before covid-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology; thus, education has changed dramatically, with the rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.  But what does it take to develop and build e-learning platforms?

For more, Africa 54’s Paul ndiho via skype, spoke to a software engineer, Victor Oku Kanayo, co-founder, children in freedom school, in Nakuru Kenya.

Eritrean American DEVELOPS COVID-19 CONTACT TRACING APP

Health experts say the app-based contact tracing are appealing in part because the corona-virus’ spread is so stealthy. Infected people can transmit the virus for days before they develop symptoms.

Last month, Eritrean American Beruk Habte launched an Android app called “Tracker” – that tracks user’s locations and notifies them if they’ve been within a certain distance of someone who tested positive for COVID 19.

For more insight, Africa 54’s Paul Ndiho via Skype, spoke to Beruk Habte, the creator of the contact tracing mobile application “tracker,” based in the us state of Maryland.

ED-TECH COMPANIES CHANGING THE FACE OF KENYA’S EDUCATION SYSTEM

EdTech companies are changing the face of Kenya’s education system. Budding entrepreneurs have re-imagined the traditional classroom entirely, offering schoolchildren alternative models for learning through EdTech.

Africa 54’s Paul Ndiho via skype, spoke to Willis Njumbi, co-founder, Elimu Popote aims to build an education and life skill platform for kids while making learning fun through mobile phones, and computer tablets.

THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON SMALL BUSINESSES IN GHANA

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on small businesses, and people employed by small businesses are at risk of unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And startups in Ghana have not been spared. For some perspective, Africa 54’s Paul Ndiho via skype, spoke to Nana Ama Yankah, founder and CEO, Naya by Africa, a lifestyle brand for natural products in Accra Ghana.

« Older Entries