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Resilient African Tech Ecosystem Still Growing With $6.5 Billion Raised In 2022

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Partech Africa, the VC fund dedicated to technology startups in Africa, has issued its annual report on Africa Tech Venture Capital.

The report, which aims to provide a practical picture of the state of the ecosystem, revealed that despite the global VC downturn, the African tech ecosystem grew faster than all other markets globally.

Total funding invested into tech startups on the continent reached $6.5B, an increase of 8% vs 2021, spread across 764 deals – compared to 724 rounds in 2021.

The report, consisting of disclosed and confidential deals, saw debt funding more than double in volume, reaching $1.55 billion through 71 deals [65% YoY growth]. In comparison, equity rounds showed a slight decline, as 653 African tech startups raised $4.9B [-6%] in 693 equity rounds [2% YoY growth].

Focusing on equity funding, the report revealed the ecosystem was still accelerating during Q1 and Q2 of 2022 compared to 2021, with the YoY comparison showing Q1 and Q2 at +127% YoY and +83% YoY, respectively.

However, the global VC slowdown stifled growth in activity in Q3 [-65% YoY] and Q4 [-35% YoY]. In 2022, fundraising activities remained flat across all stages. At $1.4M, Seed+ ticket sizes averaged higher in 2022 [+12% YoY], while Series A remained the same at $8.5M.

Later stages reverted to 2019 levels, as Series B and Growth round sizes dropped by -23% and -50% YoY, respectively. In addition, 2022 witnessed a significant reduction in the number of megadeals [over 100M], with only seven deals compared to 14 in 2021.

Speaking on the launch of the annual report, Tidjane Deme, General Partner at Partech, said: “2022 was a particularly challenging year for the venture ecosystem worldwide, as venture and growth investors scaled back their investment by a third.

“However, by comparison, our report revealed that the African tech ecosystem showed great resilience, as more investors have doubled their commitment to the continent by investing in local teams and funds dedicated to the market, proving to be the best way forward.”

Overall, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Kenya remain the top investment destinations in Africa, with a share of total volume staying relatively steady at 72%.

Nigeria retained the top rank, bringing in  $1.2B in capital, despite a decline of 36% from 2021; South Africa, Egypt, and Kenya each attracted over $0.7B in funding, with Ghana completing the top 5 with just over $0.2B. Overall, 28 countries attracted equity funding in 2022, 13 of them in Francophone Africa.

In light of the market downturn, the report’s findings also revealed that Fintech, which has historically attracted sizable investments, was the most impacted by the slowdown in the number of large rounds.

However, fintech remains the most funded sector in Africa, across all sources of capital, with 39% of the total equity volume [$1.9B] and 45% of the total debt volume [$691M].

Other sectors have experienced substantial growth and gained a meaningful share of the equity funding activity this year, most notably Cleantech, which made a big comeback with 18% of total equity funding at $863M [+347% YoY] but also 39% of the total debt funding at $605M.

The report’s findings also show:

  • Female-founded startups raised 22% of all equity rounds in 2022, up 2 percentage points from 20% in 2021. They also contributed $644 Million or 13% of the total equity funding, down 3 percentage points from 16% in 2021.
  • Outside of the top 4 countries, Ghana ($202 million), Algeria ($150 million), Tunisia ($117 million) and Senegal ($105 million) were the only other countries that broke the $100M funding mark.
  • Despite a slowdown in the growth rate of equity investors, Africa’s tech ecosystem attracted 1,149 unique investors for the first time [+29% YoY vs 2021]. African tech has seen more investors committed, with 89 participating in 5 or more deals [compared to 65 investors in 2021].
  • The number of debt investors active on the continent is growing 2.5x YoY, with a good mix of local debt institutions, international lenders with emerging market vehicles and Development Finance Institutions.

Cyril Collon, General Partner at Partech, added: “Much of our methodology has remained the same over the years, and we, therefore, can provide a snapshot of how the African continent has evolved over the years. Nigeria and the fintech vertical have remained at the top spot; however, in an environment where equity funding is more challenging, debt has proved to be a solid alternative source of African tech startups in 2022, which signals a maturity within each sector.”

Headquartered in Dakar, Partech Africa is the largest VC fund dedicated to technology startups in Africa.

With a focus on Late Seed, Series A and B equity rounds in startups which are changing the way technology is used across multiple sectors, including education, mobility, finance and healthcare, the VC has, to date, invested in 17 African startups, such as Wave and TradeDepot.

Using the same methodology as previous years, the seventh Partech Africa annual report on African tech start-ups only includes equity rounds where the total amount is higher than US$200K.


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E-Financial

CBN Says OPay, Moniepoint, Others can Start Onboarding New Customers Soon

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that mobile money operators including fintech firms like OPay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, and Moniepoint will resume the enrolment of new customers “in another couple of months”.

CBN Says OPay, Moniepoint, Others can Start Onboarding New Customers Soon

Olayemi Cardoso, governor, stated this on Tuesday at the 295th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the apex bank in Abuja when the MPC jacked up interest rate from 24.75 per cent to 26. 25 per cent.

Cardoso, said the apex bank has engaged many of the players on the need to strengthen their operations.

He said to block money laundering and illicit flows, the apex bank brought up “remedial measures that will help that sector to tighten up on onboarding and even existing clientele base”.

“I am confident that as time goes on, and hopefully in another couple of months, all these will be something of the past and then you will see that sector going back into what they’ve been known to do before, but certainly with a very stronger regulatory framework,” he said.

In April, the apex bank stopped fintech companies from onboarding new customers, a move that has been seen as a clampdown on the financial sub-sector by the Cardoso-led CBN.

When asked why the apex bank took the decision, the CBN chief said reports that the CBN has decided to clamp down on fintech firms are “furthest from the truth”.

He said “the fintechs have not been singled out for any exceptional kind of treatment”, adding that the CBN remained proud of the exploits of fintech firms in the last number of year and the apex bank would continue to support and strengthen them.

“However, regulation is very critical in a sector that seems to have grown so incredibly rapidly,” Cardoso said, citing illicit flows within the sub-sector.

“More recently, we had course to take a deep dive look at the whole issue of illicit flows and money laundering particularly within the non-heavy regulated banking system and we all know some of the issues that came out with cryptos and some of the messages we put out after that, which of course, gave us some course to know that there is the need for heightened surveillance.”

He said the apex bank has had major handshake with security agencies to identify the places to tighten regulations and surveillance in the sub-sector.

Cardoso said, “For that reason, we were concerned with respect to how we saw the issue of anti-money laundering and illicit flows as they made their way within the various sub-sectors of the financial industry and we felt there was a need for us to take a breather and work with different players to strengthen regulations, not by any means to throw them out of business.

“Let me re-emphasise that as at this point in time, we have not revoked the licenses of any of the fintech organisations.”


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Flutterwave Refutes N11Bn Loss Due to Security Breach

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Flutterwave, African fintech company, has debunked allegations in the media that it lost N11 billion ($7.25 million) due to a security compromise.

Flutterwave Refutes N11Bn Loss Due to Security Breach

Flutterwave, led by Olugbenga Agboola, Nigerian tech millionaire has rejected accusations is the only Africa-focused Company to make CNBC’s 2024 Disruptor 50 List

In response to the avalanche of claims, Flutterwave said that it discovered suspicious activity on one of its customer platforms in April 2024. The corporation maintains that it aggressively prevented any loss of customer monies.

As a security precaution, Flutterwave will contact select customers to move their accounts and recommends that all customers implement multifactor authentication, 3D security, and IP whitelisting.

This recent incident raises security worries for the corporation, which accepts payments in over 30 currencies from 40 countries.

In March 2023, reports arose saying hackers stole N2.9 billion ($6.3 million) from Flutterwave. The corporation quickly rejected the charges, reaffirming its commitment to client fund protection.

Flutterwave was ordered by a Nigerian court to recover N19 billion ($12.5 million) for unlawful POS transactions that affected 6,000 accounts across 35 banks and financial institutions.

This came after a months-long inquiry into a technical malfunction that enabled the fraudulent transfers.

Agboola founded Flutterwave in 2016, and it has since been a forerunner in Africa’s ongoing payments revolution. The company, with headquarters in San Francisco and

Lagos, is a notable success story in the continent’s developing fintech sector.

Flutterwave entered the Rwandan and Egyptian markets in 2023, which was a golden year for expansion. It formed a strategic relationship with IndusInd Bank Ltd., a top Indian financial services provider.

The corporation announced a $50 million investment in the Kenyan market to secure an operating license.

These results highlight Flutterwave’s twin goals of transforming Africa’s payments ecosystem and developing a foothold in international markets.

In 2023, Flutterwave formed a strategic relationship with Microsoft, founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, American billionaires.

This effort intends to empower at least 10 million small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) across Africa, with a concentration on Nigeria.

The partnership harnesses the power of the fintech sector to boost economic growth and improve people’s lives by promoting financial inclusion.

This collaboration expands on the two companies’ current technological arrangement, which was signed earlier in 2023.


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CBN raises interest rate to 26.25%

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Monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the monetary policy rate (MPR), which benchmarks interest rates, from 24.75 percent to 26.25 percent.

This comes after Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 33.69 percent amid the surge in food prices.

Olayemi Cardoso, CBN’s governor, announced the monetary policy rate adjustment at a news conference on Tuesday, May 21, during the committee’s 295th meeting in Abuja.

The monetary policy rate (MPR) is the baseline interest rate in an economy, which banks use to set their interest rates.

This is the third consecutive time the apex bank will be raising the benchmark rate this year. At the March MPC meeting, the benchmark rate had been increased by 200 basis points from 22.75 per cent to 24.75 per cent.


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