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Mondia Digital and Mondia Pay join Vodacom’s VodaPay Super App offering

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Mondia Digital, a consolidation of the Mondia Group‘s digital content distribution business, an end-to-end, product-centric and data-driven company with a focus on opportunities in the B2B segment, and its digital payments company, Mondia Pay, are proud to have contributed their expertise and innovative payment, content and B2B platforms to Vodacom’s VodaPay “Super App”, which launched in South Africa in August 2021.

The VodaPay Super App, designed in collaboration with Alibaba Group-owned fintech services platform Alipay, allows consumers to do everything from paying bills to sending money, playing games and ordering takeaways. The VodaPay Super App offers consumers a single point of entry and payment platform, with no additional download required.

Mondia Digital has integrated all of its technology, content and services into the easy-to-use VodaPay Super App environment. It is also responsible for connecting third-party content providers into this ecosystem.

Mondia Digital will make a selection of its custom content platforms available through the Super App, including: Mum and Baby – a free-of-charge mobile health intervention that provides maternal, neonatal and child health information designed to encourage good health practices; Vodacom’s vLive app – a lifestyle and entertainment mini-ecosystem within the Super App that uses gamified elements to manage subscriptions to Mondia’s 123 Kaboodle kids content service; Playinc., a comprehensive gaming portal; and My Muze, a 360º music portal.

Mondia Digital has also co-created many of Vodacom’s key branded services on the Super App platform.

In addition to content integration, Mondia Pay has rolled out the provision of its seamless, contactless Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) payment service to the VodaPay Super App. DCB allows customers to make payments conveniently and securely by charging them to their mobile phone bill. Mondia Pay’s DCB service is used by tens of millions of customers across the Middle East and Africa, and provides a highly scalable payment gateway that both customers and merchants can trust.

DCB is seamless, with no need to sign up for any additional accounts or fill out any forms. Payments are completed in a matter of seconds and provide the best checkout experience on mobile devices, where filling out forms is time consuming and cumbersome. Making payments with DCB is secure. No personal data is transmitted during the payment process so there is no need to worry about identity theft.

Paolo Rizzardini, CEO of Mondia Digital, said, “We are committed to the continuing digitalisation of Africa, and the VodaPay Super App B2B ecosystem is an exciting opportunity in this regard. The future of digital content consumption is going to be driven by innovative partnerships that offer compelling and convenient consumer solutions. Our growth across Africa has been driven by our ability to create consumer-centric products with outstanding digital content, and secure long-term, fruitful partnerships with some of the most innovative and dynamic companies on the continent. Our enduring relationship with Vodacom continues to deliver value for consumers and a growing ecosystem of third-party businesses alike.”

Simon Rahmann, CEO of Mondia Pay, said, “The VodaPay Super App is an exciting environment in which to implement our DCB platform. All-in-one environments offering seamless access and seamless payment are the future of customer and business ecosystems. By offering consumers a simple, fast and secure way to pay for services using their mobile phone, we not only encourage financial inclusion, but we make it easier for local and global developers to offer their services to millions more people.”

Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub said, “Our partnership with Mondia Digital and Mondia Pay strengthens our access to world-class technology and expertise, and leverages their experience across the MEA regions in developing strong, valuable partnerships and delivering seamless payment and content platforms. We want to drive financial inclusion, enhance the business-to-business ecosystem and transform the fintech environment in South Africa, by offering the capabilities of the VodaPay mini programs to as many businesses, of all sizes, across multiple industries as possible.”

While the Super App will be accessible to customers on any mobile network, it will be zero-rated for Vodacom users. The VodaPay Super App is set to be rolled out in other international Vodacom markets.

Developers and businesses are invited to join the VodaPay ecosystem by building their own “mini programs” – third-party, downloadable sub-applications run within the super app.

Some 70 businesses have already signed up or have committed to building their own mini programs in the app, including Big Blue, FlightSite, Dollar, Thrifty, West Pack, Petzone, NetFlorist, Kitkat Cash & Carry, Droppa, Planet54, Jacaranda FM, KFC, and Booking.com.

Mini programs can accept both physical and online payments from customers with the in-app VodaPay digital wallet. Customers can choose to pay upfront, with rewards, or with payment terms such as buy-now-pay-later and nano-credit offerings.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Flutterwave Teams Up with EFCC to Launch Cybercrime Research Hub in Nigeria

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Flutterwave has partnered with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to establish a cutting-edge cybercrime research center in Nigeria.

This initiative comes in response to recent significant financial losses suffered by the payment technology company due to fraud.

Flutterwave, a leading payment technology company in Africa, has faced substantial financial setbacks due to cybercrime.

Recently, the company obtained a court order to recover $24 million lost to unauthorized Point of Sale (POS) transactions.

Also, Flutterwave reportedly lost N11 billion ($7 million) to fraudulent accounts in April 2024. These incidents have underscored the urgent need for enhanced cybersecurity measures.

The partnership was formalized through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on June 14 in Abuja by Flutterwave’s CEO, Olugbenga Agboola, and EFCC Secretary, Mohammadu Hammajoda.

The signing ceremony also saw the presence of EFCC Chair, Ola Olukoyede, and Christopher Gray representing the FBI, among other notable figures.

Agboola emphasized Flutterwave’s expertise in combating internet fraud, particularly the tactics employed by notorious fraudsters known as Yahoo Boys.

He highlighted that the new cybercrime research center would equip anti-corruption agents with advanced technological tools and techniques to detect and prevent cybercrimes.

“The state-of-the-art center, to be built at the EFCC academy, will focus on seven key areas: advanced fraud detection and prevention, collaborative research and policy development, youth empowerment and capacity building, technological advancement, and resource enablement,” Agboola stated.

The establishment of the cybercrime research hub is a proactive step to address the rampant internet fraud that threatens the stability and trust in Nigeria’s financial systems.

The collaboration aims to enhance the capabilities of EFCC operatives in preventing, detecting, and prosecuting financial crimes.

Ola Olukoyede, the EFCC Chair, praised the initiative as a significant leap forward in the fight against financial crimes.

“The cybercrime research center will significantly enhance our capabilities to prevent, detect, and prosecute financial crimes,” Olukoyede remarked. “The EFCC is impressed with Flutterwave’s strides across Africa, and this partnership marks a crucial step towards ensuring a secure financial landscape for Nigerians.”

The partnership between Flutterwave and the EFCC signifies a robust commitment to cybersecurity, aiming to create a safer and more secure financial environment in Nigeria.

This initiative not only addresses immediate financial threats but also aims to build a resilient framework to combat future cybercrimes effectively.

With the launch of the cybercrime research hub, Flutterwave and the EFCC are set to lead the charge against financial fraud, ensuring that the Nigerian financial sector remains secure and trustworthy for all stakeholders.

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Visa and Mastercard Face Setback as Judge Indicates Likely Rejection of $30 Billion Deal

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Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. are facing a potential setback as a federal judge in Brooklyn indicated she is likely to reject their $30 billion settlement with retailers.

The deal, aimed at capping credit-card swipe fees, has been a focal point of contention between the card giants and merchants for years.

Judge Margo Brodie of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York expressed skepticism about the settlement during a hearing on Thursday.

According to court records, Judge Brodie suggested she might not approve the agreement, stating she would issue a written decision in the coming days.

Retailers have long campaigned to reduce their share of the costs associated with accepting card payments, known as interchange fees.

These fees, which are partially passed on to banks that issue the cards, including major institutions like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc., have been a burden for many merchants.

Announced in March and pending court approval, the settlement was designed to allow merchants to charge consumers extra for transactions involving Visa or Mastercard credit cards.

The agreement also aimed to introduce pricing tactics to steer consumers towards lower-cost cards.

“The court’s comments strongly suggest that she won’t accept the settlement,” noted Justin Teresi, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “While Judge Brodie doesn’t seem convinced that larger retailers should be allowed to opt out from the settlement, provisions like changes to digital wallet acceptance rules and some state bans on surcharges likely present real adequacy issues.”

Both Visa and Mastercard expressed disappointment over the developments. A Mastercard representative stated, “We believe the settlement presented a fair resolution of this long-standing dispute, most notably by giving business owners more flexibility in how they manage their card acceptance activities. We will pursue our options to ensure a proper resolution of this matter.”

Visa’s spokesperson echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that “continued engagement between industry and the merchants is the best way forward.”

Swipe fees have become a substantial financial issue for retailers, totaling more than $160 billion last year, according to the Merchants Payments Coalition. Reactions to the settlement were mixed when it was announced, with some retail coalitions pledging a thorough review and others quickly opposing it.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, representing large merchants such as Target Corp. and Home Depot Inc., described the settlement as a “mere drop in the bucket” and urged careful review to assess if it adequately addresses the harm inflicted on retailers.

Doug Kantor, general counsel for the National Association of Convenience Stores, praised the judge’s remarks, stating, “We’re gratified to see that the court recognized how bad this settlement was.”

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African Fintech Kuda Raises $100M Despite Investment Challenges

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Kuda Technologies, a leading fintech company with operations in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, has successfully raised nearly $100 million in funding over the past five years.

This significant milestone was revealed by the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Babs Ogundeyi, during a panel session at the GITEX Africa conference in Morocco.

The GITEX Africa 2024 technology fair, which runs from May 29 to 31 in Marrakech, brings together over 1,500 exhibitors from 130 countries and nearly 700 startups.

During the event, Ogundeyi highlighted Kuda’s growth journey and the difficulties African fintech startups face in attracting foreign investment.

“We launched in Nigeria in August 2019 and have raised close to $100 million within that period,” Ogundeyi announced during the panel session titled “Beyond the Starting Lane: Navigating Advanced Funding.”

The session also featured prominent figures such as Sacha Michaud, co-founder of Glovo in Spain; Yassine Oussaifi, partner at Africinvest Tunisia; and Katlego Maphai, CEO of Yoco South Africa.

The discussion centered on the challenges and strategies for securing advanced funding for startups.

Ogundeyi emphasized that African startups often struggle to secure foreign investment due to investors’ unfamiliarity with the local market environment.

To mitigate this, Kuda Technologies established its headquarters in the UK, facilitating easier access to funding from Western investors.

“We are headquartered in the UK, but we are Africa-focused, and there is a reason why we are headquartered in the UK. It’s very much related to access to funding. The capital comes primarily from the west. It’s easier to attract capital in those jurisdictions,” Ogundeyi explained.

He stressed that securing funding is a rigorous process, particularly in Africa, where trust levels are low.

“When we raised our seed funding, the majority of investors had not been to Africa before, making it difficult to connect with something they didn’t understand. It goes beyond investors seeing the numbers or potential; if you don’t have a feel for the environment or understand the psyche of the people, it becomes very difficult to connect resources to that region,” Ogundeyi elaborated.

Despite the challenges, Kuda Technologies has made significant strides. Its subsidiary, Kuda Microfinance Bank in Nigeria, has grown its customer base to 7.5 million users, making it one of the largest fintech companies in Africa.

The company’s expansion strategy includes obtaining licenses in Canada and Tanzania, reflecting its vision of global reach.

Ogundeyi’s insights were echoed by Sacha Michaud, who noted that venture capitalists tend to invest in regions where they feel comfortable.

“We launched in Africa six years ago and were in high funding mode. In every funding round, we had to convince our investors why we were focusing on the region when we could invest our resources in higher-return areas like Europe,” Michaud shared.

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