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Asoko Joins Chapter54 to Support Market Entry of European Tech Firms in Africa

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Yaba Market

Applications open this week for Chapter54, a new accelerator program for European tech scaleups looking to expand into African markets. Implemented by Partech Shaker, Partech’s innovation programs arm, with financing from Germany’s KfW Development Bank, the program will provide financial and operational assistance to selected businesses from across Europe to build their footprint in Africa.

Europe is Africa’s leading investor, with foreign direct investment topping $275 billion. Enabling further investment and trade ties, especially in the tech sector, opens important, mutually beneficial, market opportunities. Chapter54 enterprises will join a vibrant and growing tech scene. Investment into African tech companies has experienced a significant bump, with fintech alone representing over 60% of funding in 2021, according to market research. In the first nine months of 2021 alone, fintechs secured investment totalling $1.5 billion, more than they had received across the previous decade, which saw inflows of $1 billion.

This rising investment is part of a wider trend of growing deals, which are growing in both number and ticket size. Africa has seen the emergence of seven tech unicorns, with five fintechs – Fawry, OPay, Wave, Flutterwave and Interswitch – joined by e-commerce platform Jumia and engineering talent platform Andela, both also major players on the continent in their respective fields.

The large-scale investments and growth of the sector create a positive feedback loop, pulling in further venture capital, developing technological pathways for trade and opening up the market for other tech-enabled innovations to an increasingly tech-savvy and financially included consumer base.

To enable new entrants to take advantage of these opportunities, Chapter54 has selected a network of business support providers with strong local expertise and knowledge. Asoko Insight, Africa’s leading provider of corporate data, analysis and engagement, is proud to be the program’s data partner, offering bespoke market research, including comprehensive supply chain mapping within specific markets and business lines, to support market entry.

Rob Withagen, Asoko’s co-founder and CEO, said of the partnership: “Over the past eight years, Asoko has built a solid reputation as a leading provider of corporate data and market analysis, serving a client base of multilateral, multinationals and international investors. We’re pleased to extend our services to European tech scaleups entering African markets through our participation in Chapter54.

To enter the African market, you have to adapt the way you hire, you pay, you sell, you onboard. We curated a large network of mentors and speakers, as well as soft-landing solutions to do it the right way. Asoko will help power the next generation of African tech leaders to success. With Asoko and the other partners (data provider Africa Panel, legal platform Afriwise, digital recruitment platform Talent2Africa, Gebeya freelance marketplace, and FieldPro workflow automation platform), we have built the perfect toolkit a scaleup may need to initiate its business in Africa,” comments Vincent Previ, Managing Director of Chapter54.

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Merger and Acquisition

Bitmama Inc. Acquires Payday, Expanding Fintech Footprint in Nigeria

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bitmama

Nigeria’s blockchain payments platform Bitmama Inc. has successfully acquired Payday, a virtual card service provider.

The acquisition, facilitated through Bitmama’s cross-border payments product, Changera, signals a pivotal shift in the industry and consolidated the blockchain payment platform by acquiring 100% of Payday’s customer base.

Launched in 2021, Changera is set to absorb key personnel from Payday, spanning various departments like marketing, customer service, and engineering.

While specific details of the financial terms remain undisclosed, a source close to the matter revealed that the acquisition process is approximately “85% complete.”

For the over 300,000 customers formerly under Payday’s purview, the transition to Changera’s care promises a seamless experience, with minimal noticeable changes.

Despite Payday CEO Favour Ori’s integration into Bitmama’s team remaining uncertain, Changera is well-positioned with an established leadership and a robust technical team.

A senior member of Bitmama’s management assured that Payday’s brand will persist but will now operate under the broader umbrella of Changera, supported by its stablecoin infrastructure.

This integration aims to address operational challenges faced by Payday, such as industry-wide charge-back fraud, disruptions in Mastercard services, and the departure of senior team members.

Post-acquisition, Bitmama plans to embark on an ambitious roadmap, including the development of a new solution enhancing foreign exchange (FX) transactions for African businesses.

Anticipated for launch in Q1 2024, this solution aims to facilitate smoother and more efficient B2B cross-border financial interactions.

The acquisition of Payday by Bitmama aligns with the broader trend of strategic consolidations within the fintech industry, reflecting a pattern where companies seek partnerships and acquisitions to overcome market challenges and scale operations.

This move mirrors similar strategic consolidations, including the acquisition of Chaka by Risevest in September 2023, underscoring the industry’s drive towards collaborative growth.

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Merger and Acquisition

Oppenheimer Acquires Full Control of Nigeria’s GZ Industries in Bet on Economic Revival

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GZ Industries Limited

Jonathan Oppenheimer, scion of South African billionaire Nicky Oppenheimer, has secured full ownership of Nigeria’s largest beverage can manufacturer, GZ Industries Ltd.

Oppenheimer Partners Ltd. concluded the acquisition of the remaining shares from Affirma Capital, formerly known as Standard Chartered Private Equity.

While financial details were not disclosed, the private equity firm previously held a 37.5% stake in GZ Industries, a major supplier of cans to global brands such as Coca-Cola.

The move positions Jonathan Oppenheimer to play a pivotal role in shaping GZI’s growth trajectory in sub-Saharan Africa.

With urban, educated adults in the region leading global sugary drink consumption with 12.4 servings per week, GZI’s strategic importance in meeting this demand is underscored.

Oppenheimer Partners initially invested in GZI in 2018, coinciding with the establishment of a factory in South Africa, where the company now commands a 20% market share.

GZI, a producer of 3 billion aluminum cans annually in Africa, competes with Nampak Ltd., which is currently undergoing restructuring efforts.

Affirma Capital’s exit from GZI aligns with its broader investment strategy in Africa, having invested in 11 companies since 2008, with eight successful exits returning over $800 million to investors.

Jonathan Oppenheimer, part of the wealthy Oppenheimer family, inherits a substantial role in GZ Industries, further diversifying the family’s portfolio, which amassed significant wealth through the 2012 sale of their stake in De Beers for about $5 billion.

The family’s combined net worth is estimated at $9.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

As Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu outlines ambitious spending plans for 2024, the acquisition positions GZI strategically in a potentially thriving economic landscape.

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Merger and Acquisition

Equinor Concludes Sale of Stake in Chevron’s Agbami Oil Field to Chappal Energies

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Chevron

Norwegian energy company Equinor has successfully finalized the sale of its 20.21 per cent stake in Chevron’s Agbami oil field.

The transaction, including Equinor’s 53.85 per cent ownership in Oil Mining License 128, was completed with Nigerian-owned Chappal Energies. The financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.

Equinor, a longstanding player in Nigeria’s energy sector since 1992, views this divestment as a strategic move in line with its broader international oil and gas portfolio optimization strategy.

Nina Koch, Equinor’s Senior Vice President for Africa Operations, commented on the transaction, stating, “This transaction realizes value and is in line with Equinor’s strategy to optimize its international oil and gas portfolio and focus on core areas.”

Chappal Energies, the acquiring entity, is a committed Nigerian-owned energy company with ambitions to further develop the assets, contributing significantly to the Nigerian economy.

The completion of the transaction remains contingent on various conditions, including regulatory and contractual approvals.

Equinor’s exit from the Agbami oil field signifies a shift in its global asset portfolio management, enabling the company to concentrate on its core operational areas.

The deal aligns with the broader industry dynamics and demonstrates Equinor’s commitment to strategic alignment and operational efficiency.

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