African Fintech Signal Check 2019: Nigeria's Killing It! (Part 1) feat. Wiza Jalakasi

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The last couple of months or so have been rather eventful for Africa's fintech scene— particularly in Nigeria where Interswitch notably attained unicorn status in November following Visa acquiring 20% of the company for a reported $200 million. Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey's much-publicised visit to Africa last month also did much to put a global spotlight on the continent’s fintech arena, and the subsequent capital raises by OPay (backed by Opera) and PalmPay (backed by Transsion) drew attention to the on-going race for platform dominance in the space. In this instalment of the African Tech Roundup podcast, Andile Masuku and The Subtext’s Osarumen Osamuyi are joined by Malawian mobile tech entrepreneur, Wiza Jalakasi, to unpack some of the more pertinent fintech industry signals and discuss their implications for the continent’s tech and innovation ecosystem at large. (To skip the introductory niceties, head straight to [11:58].) Wiza is a passionate USSD proponent who formerly headed up business development and international expansion at Africa’s Talking. He is currently the head of strategy and business development at Hover. Questions discussed in this episode include: 1) Is the hype around Jack Dorsey’s recent Africa visit well-deserved? [12:38] 2) Why might PalmPay’s $40 million seed round be the most significant China-related fintech startup play of late? [25:47] 3) Are aspiring ‘banks’ like Google and Facebook well-positioned to dominate Africa’s fintech industry? [28:52] 4) Is there credence to Jack Dorsey’s citing of Bitcoin as a key part of the future of African fintech? [37:55] 5) How significant is the trend towards digital-first and digital-only banks? [50:46] 6) Could the Zimbabwean mobile telco NetOne spark a continental trend by making mobile money transactions free? [1:01:57] 7) How will Google’s new Play Store lending term restrictions for financial services apps impact microlenders on the continent? [1:07:34] To view resources referenced in this episode, visit Image credit: Namnso Ukpanah

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