Select Page

Advanced technology increasingly shaping Africa’s financial sector

Sumesh Rahavendra, Vice President of Sales for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa.

The African financial services industry is rapidly evolving as a result of advancing technology which is fueling innovation and growth in the sector.

While the sector is mature in most developed countries, it is less saturated in Africa, therefore offering many opportunities for new market entrants to challenge the status quo of how business has traditionally been conducted.
This is according to Sumesh Rahavendra, Vice President of Sales for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa who said “The burgeoning middle class and abundance of SMEs in Africa present great opportunities for financial services companies to provide retail banking services to individuals, as well as trade finance to SMEs. We see SMEs as the engine for growth in Africa and the lack of access to finance can often hinder their development. With one of the fastest growing middle classes in the world, there is a wave of consumerism for all types of goods and services such as FMCG, electronics and pharmaceuticals.”
The future shape of financial services in Africa 2015 report by PwC describes the sector as a marketplace without boundaries. It explains that compared to global markets – where the outlook for financial services is more solid – the risk of disruption in traditional African financial services market has triggered the need for entities to reassess their strategies.
“While most international banks are moving towards e-commerce, in Africa, a number of local banks still share information and conduct business with hard copy documentation,” added Rahavendra.
An Accenture report titled African financial services come of age, suggests a promising future for the region’s banking sector. It reveals that the development of consumer payment networks took years to become fully functional in mature economies, while many countries in Africa are now beginning to expand their traditional payments infrastructure to adapt to new international standards.
“The local retail banking sector is increasingly making use of new technology such as ‘Mobile Money’ platforms. Consumers have started to move away from physical cards, instead relying on their mobile phones to conduct day-to-day banking transactions.”
“In addition to mobile money solutions, most African countries have made a concerted effort to improve their transactional security by moving from the traditional ‘swipe card’ form of retail banking to chip and pin.”
“From a logistics point of view, while banking sector documents continue to present significant shipment volumes intra-Africa, with the new technologies available, there is an increased need for equipment such as servers, ATMs and supplies to be moved into and around the continent, as banks expand into new countries and rural areas. As technology and requirements change, so do our supply chains, and we work very closely with our customers to ensure that we offer them the best possible solutions” he said.

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.