In 2019, 243 African tech start-ups raised a total of $2.02 billion in equity through 250 rounds, representing a 74% growth year-on-year that saw Nigeria attracting the highest.
This is according to Partech Africa, which published its annual report on venture capital (VC) funding for African start-ups.
The report shows 2019 was another year of breaking records and achieving new milestones for the dynamic and fast-growing tech investment ecosystem in Africa.
The report, which is the fourth the team has produced, is based on the same methodology as the previous years – it covers equity deals in the tech and digital spaces, as well as funding rounds higher than $200 000. It covers both disclosed and undisclosed deals.
The Partech Africa report tracked 250 rounds raised by 234 start-ups compared to 164 rounds by 146 start-ups the year before, representing 52% growth year-on-year in deal count.
“We noticed a massive densification of early stage rounds with 206 transactions (57% year-on-year) in seed and series A investments, which confirms investors’ confidence in taking early bets in Africa,” says Cyril Collon, general partner at Partech.
“Africa’s tech ecosystem has moved into the mainstream, transforming economies considerably, and while there are certain ups and downs to be expected in the future, this new reality is also redefining the scope of private equity on the continent, with venture capital on the way to becoming the number one asset class in Africa.”
The report says 70 investors made two or more transactions in 2019, compared with 20 investors in 2017.
It adds the top five most active investors have each done about seven deals.
It states Nigeria attracted a record high of $747 million in tech VC investment (37% of all funding), but only takes fourth place, behind Egypt, in deal count.
Meanwhile, Egypt broke into the top three both in terms of deal count (147% year-on-year) and deal volume (215% year-on-year).
Partech notes the regional landscape has now been redrawn, with 85% of the total funding ($1.7 billion) going to the top four countries – Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and SA.
According to the report, South Africa has slowed down compared to Kenya and Nigeria in terms of total funding, with $205 million (18% year-on-year) but remains the undisputed number one in deal count with 66 deals (78% year-on-year) thanks to its maturing early stage ecosystem growing faster (28% of all seed and series A transactions).
In SA, 11 start-ups raised 11 rounds equal to or higher than $5 million.
It points out there were 18 countries with at least one equity tech deal above $200 000 in 2019, compared to 19 countries in 2018.
With total funding of $294 million (53%) raised over 47 deals (24% year-on-year), the rest of the continent (excluding the top four countries) is absorbing 15% of total investment across the continent.
Regarding French-speaking Africa, Senegal confirms again its position as the leading hub, with $16 million raised in six deals, the firm says.
Driven by fintech, financial inclusion remains the main investment sector on the continent, attracting 54.5% of the total funding, it says.
However, the online and mobile consumer services sector has witnessed a steep increase to 29.3% of total funding (versus 19.6% in 2018) while B2B and tech adoption represents only 16.1% of total deals (versus 30.4% in 2018).
“Fintech is clearly exploding on the continent, with more and more digital players enabling start-ups to serve the segment,” says Tidjane Deme, general partner at Partech.
“This is one of the reasons that VC investors now have a much larger pool to play with than the traditional private equity investors did before. We’re seeing the latter come in into smaller tickets and into the tech space, trying to find interesting opportunities.”
Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster
Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has disowned Tope Olajide, 22-year-old fraudster arraigned for theft of customers deposits.
The Bank said this in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement said: “The attention of the management of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has been drawn to news currently circulating in the media, about the alleged arraignment of staff of the Bank on charges bordering on the theft of customers deposits.
“The Bank would like to clarify that the defendant, a 22-year-old Tope Olajide, IS NOT, and was at no point in time an employee of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC.
“The alleged culprit was apprehended around 7:30 am, on Thursday, 27 August 2020, by security operatives after he was exposed by CCTV footage using ATM cards he had allegedly stolen and converted, to make withdrawals from the accounts tied to the stolen ATMs.
“The CCTV footage also showed the alleged culprit pretending to assist customers at ATMs whilst also attempting to fraudulently dispossess the customers of their ATMs.
“He was subsequently arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate Court on Monday, 14 September, for stealing the debit cards of two customers and using them to unlawfully withdraw the sum of N427,000.
“The Bank would also like to implore members of the public to be security conscious when conducting transactions at ATMs. Customers are advised to report any suspicious actions around them to security operatives who are usually stationed around the Bank’s ATMs, when carrying out transactions at any of our ATM locations.
“As an organisation, we hold dear the values of integrity, and we will continue to prioritise the safety of our customers effectively.”
Buhari Okays Establishment of CBN-Led Infraco
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of an Infrastructure Company (Infraco) to be driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in partnership with the African Finance Corporation (AFC) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
This is coming on the heels of the foreign reserves’ slump to $36 billion following a cocktail of monetary policy interventions by the apex bank to cushion the scathing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, made these disclosures in Abuja at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) with the theme: Facilitating a Sustainable Future: The role of Banking and Finance.
According to him, Infraco would enable the use of private and public capital to support infrastructure investment that will have a multiplier effect on growth across critical sectors.
“This entity would also be able to raise funds from the capital markets and mobilise long term finance to address some of our infrastructure needs, while providing reasonable returns to investors. “We believe this well-structured fund can act as a catalyst for growth in the medium and the long run. The support of the banking community will be important in achieving this objective.
“A well-built infrastructure system, comprising hard infrastructure such as roads and ports, and soft infrastructure such as broadband penetration, can have a multiplier effect on growth by enabling the expansion of business activities in the country”, he explained.
On foreign reserves, Emefiele attributed its crash to the decline in foreign exchange earnings and subsequent adjustments in the value of the naira to the dollar.
Amana Bank signs Comprehensive Software Deal with Path Solutions
Amana Bank, a leading Islamic bank in Somalia has announced that it has selected iMAL, the AAOIFI-certified core banking platform from Path Solutions to replace its legacy IT system and deploy a single, cloud-based digital banking platform to underpin its banking operations.
This is Path Solutions’ third win in Somalia after Premier Bank and MyBank Ltd. The company went through a lengthy competitive bidding to which all international suppliers were invited, before being selected as Amana Bank’s preferred technology partner.
According to a statement following the signing, Path Solutions will supply and install its flagship Islamic core banking platform iMAL in addition to its comprehensive digital suite at Amana Bank Somalia. The new digital software will provide instant 24/7 service availability with fast, inexpensive, easy and convenient online banking, frictionless payments and transfers, personalization, engagement and retention.
Abdirizak Hussein Malin, Chairman of Amana Bank Somalia commented, “As part of our strategy, Amana Bank has instituted a digital transformation plan that will help us meet the emerging needs of our customers and the increasing demands of innovation.
“Consequently, we required a partner with open and agile technology that will drive powerful change. We have chosen Path Solutions for its ability to deliver vital digital financial solutions at this critical time with its depth of experience supporting Islamic banks in Africa.
“The company has differentiated itself from other vendors in its unique ability to combine core Islamic values with modern digital banking solutions, and to fully comply with Sharia and banking regulations.
“We are confident that the new technology, proven to significantly improve levels of customer fulfilment, will transform our operations by driving incredible efficiency gains while also reducing risk, lowering overall IT costs via higher automation and lower maintenance spending”.
The new iMAL platform leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to help financial institutions get predictive insights for better data-driven decision making. It will also help strengthen customer loyalty through enhanced security transactions.
“We are delighted to partner with a leading Islamic bank in Somalia on a project that will set a new standard in digital banking for the country. Today, every financial institution has an incredible opportunity to apply advances in cloud computing to redefine every aspect of its business”, said Mohammed Kateeb, Path Solutions’ Group Chairman & CEO.
“Somalia’s Amana Bank is a good example of this transformation to drive innovation forward and ensure much more secure banking experience, enabling customers to enjoy the nuances of non-stop banking with cloud-based services.
The bank will also benefit from the full Islamic coverage which bridges the gap between modern customer requirements and intrinsic Islamic values. Our multi-award winning Islamic core banking platform will support the delivery of innovative digital products that are both Sharia-compliant and specialized for Amana Bank’s retail and corporate customers”.
The new agreement was signed by Amana Bank’s Chairman Abdirizak Hussein Malin and Path Solutions’ Group Chairman & CEO Mohammed Kateeb on Sunday 6 September at Path Solutions’ Dubai office. The implementation will be delivered 100% in the cloud and 100% remotely amidst the COVID-19 lockdown.
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