Using Whatsapp to encourage financial inclusion
First Bank of Nigeria, in partnership with Clickatell’s Transact division, has commercially launched their Chat Banking channel on WhatsApp. This capability enables FirstBank’s customers to manage their banking needs within their WhatsApp chat with the same efficiency as USSD. Customers can add First Bank’s published WhatsApp phone number or a direct link access the First Bank’s “Verified” profile to begin a secure Chat Banking session.
M-Pesa goes global
Kenya’s biggest mobile money service M-Pesa is going global in a deal with Western Union that would allow users to send money all over the world. M-Pesa’s over 23 million active subscribers in Kenya will also be able to send and receive money through their phones and be connected to Western Union’s 500,000 global agents. Safaricom, which runs M-Pesa, said transfers through bank accounts to Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom will also be available, with services to bank accounts in other countries being rolled out in the coming weeks.
MTN to launch a smart feature phone
MTN’s new “smart feature” phone is meant to be as affordable as a feature phone, as multi functional as a smartphone and will help Africa’s largest phone network dominate mobile phones in Africa. The mobile network has launched its own phone in a bid to take a stake in Africa’s mobile hardware market, it’s unclear if it’ll be able to dominate like it has on the continent. The “smart feature” phone will be available in Nigeria and South Africa in the first quarter of 2019, and will retail at $20 to $25, MTN said in a statement.
Ethiopia overtakes Dubai as the world’s gateway into Africa
Thanks to major political reforms and relaxed visa rules, Ethiopia has emerged as a destination and a transfer hub for long-haul travel to sub-Saharan Africa in 2018. Data from the travel intelligence agency ForwardKeys shows Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport has overtaken Dubai as the leading gateway to the region. As such, travel bookings between Nov. 2018 and Jan. 2019 are set to grow over 40% based on a year-on-year growth—way ahead of other destinations in Africa and a significant jump from the January-October 2018 predicted growth for Ethiopia which stood at just 12.2%.