UAE Exchange Rebrands its Uganda Operations as Unimoni

UAE Exchange Rebrands its Uganda Operations as Unimoni

KAMPALA, Uganda, July 19, 2018/ — UAE Exchange, a leading global money transfer, foreign exchange and payment solutions brand, announced the rebranding of its Uganda operations as “ Unimoni”. The announcement was made by Promoth Manghat, Executive Director of Finablr and Group CEO, at an event held at Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala, in the presence of Vice President of Uganda Hon. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, and other dignitaries, partners and guests.

Short for ‘Universal Money’, the new brand “ Unimoni” reflects the company’s aspirations to strengthen its global presence and provide a broader spectrum of innovative financial services to its customers. As part of its Africa growth strategy, Unimoni plans to be present in 14 African markets by the year 2020, and has developed a healthy pipeline of digital payment solutions designed to cater to the specific needs of the African customers.

Promoth Manghat, Executive Director of Finablr, said: “Home to some of the fastest growing economies globally, Africa holds tremendous potential and is a critical component of our growth strategy as a group. We will continue to invest in enhancing the breadth of our reach and depth of our operations in the African continent. As a group, we have earmarked USD 100 million in investments to support our growth and expansion efforts in Africa over the next decade. As Unimoni, we will facilitate seamless and connected experiences for our customers and pave the way towards sustainable development and inclusive growth of the various African markets.”

Through its category-leading brands such as Unimoni, UAE Exchange, Travelex and Xpress Money, the Finablr network extends across 45 African markets. With 29 branches in Africa offering affordable money transfer and foreign exchange services, Unimoni plans to significantly increase its retail footprint over the coming years. Additionally, the brand is also making aggressive investments in customer-focused technology innovations as well as collaborating with ecosystem partners to provide an enhanced service proposition to its customer base.

Speaking about the future expansion plans for its Africa operations, Allen Semboze, Regional Head Africa, Unimoni, said: “The next few years are going to be very eventful for us at Unimoni, as we set out to achieve our ambitious growth strategy. We are in advanced discussions with various ecosystem partners including Mobile Network Operators and aggregators to develop new money transfer solutions. These services will be available in four of our seven markets in Africa by the second half of 2018. We are also working on developing our digital capabilities including an online remittance platform, a white-label solution for our corporate customers and an online forex solution. While we are adopting a phased approach towards our growth in Africa, all these offerings will be live by 2020 across all our African markets.”

The rebranding exercise follows an earlier announcement made by noted UAE-based businessman and philanthropist, Dr. Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, Founder and Chairman of the UAE Exchange Group. In April 2018, Dr. Shetty launched “ Finablr”, a holding company which, subject to regulatory approvals, aims to bring together his global portfolio of category-leading financial services brands including Unimoni, UAE Exchange, Travelex and Xpress Money under one umbrella.

(L-R): Allen Semboze (Regional Head of Unimoni Africa), Hon. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi (Vice President of Uganda) and Promoth Manghat (Executive Director of Finablr & Group CEO) (Source: Unimoni |

(L-R): Allen Semboze (Regional Head of Unimoni Africa), Hon. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi (Vice President of Uganda) and Promoth Manghat (Executive Director of Finablr & Group CEO)
(Source: Unimoni |

Capital floods in for flourishing African fintech and payments sector

Capital floods in for flourishing African fintech and payments sector

LONDON, United Kingdom, July 19, 2018/ — Close to US$100m of fundraising has been injected already in 2018 into Africa’s burgeoning fintech and mobile payments sector, with a significant amount of capital still to be deployed this year, and prospects for the sector looking bullish, according to telecom, media and tech news and events company, TMT Finance.

Joseph d’Arrast, EMEA Editor at TMT Finance said: “The increasing demand for payment transaction and lending services are attracting investment from mobile operators, banks and international funds, all jostling to position themselves across the continent. These new initiatives also achieve inclusive goals set by international development finance institutions, which have been joining multiple fundraisings over the last twelve months.”

Demand for services are also tipped to see a large uptick: financial transactions made via the internet or a mobile phone are expected to grow from US$200m at the moment to an eyewatering US$3bn by 2020, according to a recent report by pan-African banking group Ecobank.

Regulation, access to reliable and affordable internet and the development of blockchain are also all key topics affecting Africa’s Fintech sector, according to d’Arrast. “We expect B2B lending platforms and anti-fraud startups to attract most interest from investors. Venture capital funds are playing an important role – both local firms and international investors often originating from Europe or the USA” he said.

With huge opportunities for fundraising and investment in the space, chief executives and leaders from Africa’s key fintech and payment companies will join a dedicated Mobile Payments & Fintech panel at TMT Finance Africa 2018 on Sep 19 in London to discuss investment strategies. Speakers on the session include: Chris Low, Group CEO, Letshego; Alix Murphy, Director of Mobile Partnerships, WorldRemit; Ercin Eksin, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Lidya ; Rostan Schwab, Africa Head Fintech Investments, IFC; and Adia Sowho, VP Commercial / MD, Nigeria,

A deeper dive into how to grow and scale fintech companies in Africa will also take place earlier in the day at the conference on a dedicated breakout session, with CEOs and MDs represented from Verdant Capital, goAfrica, Strider, Transsnet Payments, MFS Africa Ltd, One Finance & Investment Limited and chaired by advisory firm Obsidian Occident.

Over 70 key speakers have been announced for the event, with CxOs and senior executives also confirmed from companies including Orange, IHS Towers, Econet Wireless, Millicom Africa, The Carlyle Group, Standard Bank, PAIX, East Africa Data Centre, Ethos Private Equity, Rack Centre, Jumia, Uber, Intelsat, Huawei, Credit Suisse and World Remit, among others.

Basic Education Chairperson Saddened by Shooting of Learner at School

Basic Education Chairperson Saddened by Shooting of Learner at School

PRETORIA, South Africa, July 19, 2018/ — The Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Basic Education is shocked and saddened by the killing on Wednesday of a 17-year old Grade 10 learner on the Mokgolokwe Middle School grounds, near Batlaharo in the Northern Cape. According to media reports, a 38-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the case.

Committee Chairperson Ms Nomalungelo Gina condemned yesterday’s shooting and expressed concern that a firearm was used on the school grounds, as this indicates gaps in the school’s security measures. “This is indeed sad. We have been robbed of a young life who could have had a bright future, stolen in a place that is supposed to be a safe space. This is surely the last thing this young man’s family expected when he left for school in the morning.

“Furthermore, learners and educators who witnessed the shooting have now been exposed to trauma. Friends and family of the deceased learner now need to deal with his untimely death,” Ms Gina said.

Ms Gina urged communities to get involved to ensure that schools are safe areas. “Communities must ensure that criminals are not allowed to get away with such heinous crimes. They should ensure that criminals are aware that there is nowhere to hide should they attempt to enter our schools and commit crimes.”

Egypt Moving Forward: Key Challenges and Opportunities

Egypt Moving Forward: Key Challenges and Opportunities

By: APO Group.

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, July 17, 2018/ — The most important issues that face Egypt over the coming years are tied to a rapidly growing population, the modernization of its economy, and how best to ensure a modern social safety net to protect the most vulnerable in society. Below, IMF Mission Chief for Egypt Subir Lall discusses these three issues in detail.

1. Take advantage of the rapidly growing population

Over the next five years, around 3.5 million young Egyptians are projected to join the labor force. Absorbing these new entrants into the labor market will be a challenge. However, this also creates a tremendous opportunity for faster growth—if Egypt can support the emergence of a strong and vibrant private sector to productively employ this emerging generation of workers.

Over the past several decades, the private sector in Egypt has been less dynamic and outward-oriented than in peer countries, with a small share of firms able to compete outside the domestic market. To foster greater private sector development and export-led growth, the authorities have broadened the structural reform agenda under their program, initiating reforms to improve the efficiency of land allocation, strengthen competition and public procurement, improve transparency of state-owned enterprises, and tackle corruption.

2. Modernize the economy

With nearly 100 million people and a geographic location that provides excellent access to important foreign markets, Egypt has immense potential. However, economic development has been constrained by the legacy of inward-oriented economic policies, weak governance, and a large role for the state in economic activity that has resulted in significant misallocation of resources.

With the economy now stabilizing, Egypt’s challenge is to modernize its economy to better take advantage of its potential. An essential element of that process is to ensure the best allocation of resources to generate higher growth, and remove price distortions that impede markets from functioning efficiently.

Energy subsidies have been among the most significant price distortions. They keep fuel costs well below the market price, which encourage inefficient use of energy and overinvestment in capital intensive industries to take advantage of low fuel costs. Energy subsidies are costly and inequitable, tending to benefit the well-off who are disproportionately large energy consumers.

Pricing energy correctly will help improve economic efficiency so that investment is not channeled to capital intensive and heavy energy-use sectors. Rather, investment should be made into job creating sectors that benefit small and medium-sized businesses that take advantage of Egypt’s strengths, and help integrate the country into global supply chains. Reducing energy subsidies also frees up resources for health and education—critical to long-term economic growth and societal progress.

3. Provide a modern social safety net to protect the vulnerable

As Egypt begins to modernize its economy and make it more competitive, it will also need to continue to bring down public debt to a level consistent with long-term sustainability. The challenge is to ensure that the most vulnerable segments of society are protected during this process, and that fiscal resources are safeguarded for spending on health and education.

The shift away from a social protection system based on energy subsidies is crucial in moving toward a better-targeted and more effective social safety net. The 2018/19 budget will continue to replace poorly-targeted energy subsidies with programs that directly support the poorest households through expanded cash transfer and food subsidy programs. The authorities have strengthened programs like food smart cards, and more than doubled the amount of assistance provided through these cards.

The government has also strengthened social solidarity pensions, and the Takaful and Karama cash transfer programs. Takaful is an income support program for families with children, and Karama is a social inclusion program for persons who cannot work, specifically the elderly and people with disabilities.

These efforts are also being supported by reforms to improve the efficiency of government spending and tax collection to ensure that pro-poor spending and investments in health and education are protected. More broadly, the faster creation of private sector job opportunities and the integration of women into the labor force as part of the authorities’ inclusive growth strategy is expected to steadily improve living standards, including for lower-skilled workers.

Zambia One Step Closer to Gold Cup Qualification

Zambia One Step Closer to Gold Cup Qualification

LUSAKA, Zambia, July 16, 2018/ — The Zambia Rugby National Team has moved one step closer to Gold Cup qualification after beating Madagascar 31:29 at Mufulira Rugby Club on Saturday 14th July, 2018. The game which was dominated by the visitors from kick off saw the host team being pressurised.

Both Zambia and Madagascar came into the contest with a win each after beating Botswana on Sunday 08th July and Wednesday 14th July, 2018. The hosts were under pressure from the Islanders who had a better scoreline against Botswana… a situation which was very evident to all local rugby fanatics in Mufulira, whose expectations were sky high.

Zambia beat Madagascar with a minimal scoreline of 31:29. The Islanders try scorers were Saidi Rakotoarimanana (1) and Michael Raharijaona (1) who also scored (2) conversions, (3) penalties and (2) drop goals. The hosts scored tries via Bruce Saimbunji (1), Rodgers Mukupa (1) and Edward Mumba (1). Laston Mukosa scored (1) conversion and (2) penalties, while Dean Zulu also scored (1) conversion and (2) penalties.

Prior to the Silver Cup finale, Zambia Women played Zimbabwe in an International friendly dubbed “Battle of the Zambezi” by local rugby enthusiasts. Zambia scored a try by Team Captain Shirley Mwami which was converted by Rennie Sunzu Wilima. Their neighbours Zimbabwe scored a penalty by Precious Marange.

Africa Rugby Executive Committee Member Colleen de Jong commended the the Zambia Rugby Union executive and the local organising committee for their hard work and dedication in ensuring a successful international tourney. She also paid glowing tribute to Mopani Copper Mines for partnering with the Rugby Union and said such a gesture needed to be emulated by other organisations. She added that the union’s inclusion of a communications department headed by Mr Tom Chaloba has helped publicise the tournament to both local and international audiences.

Copperbelt Province Minister Japhen Mwakalombe said his government was happy to see the growth of rugby in Zambia. He added that “Most of our citizens have got no idea what rugby is all about, but what Zambia Rugby Union and Mopani Copper Mines have achieved will most certainly spring interest in alot of people”. The presence of representatives from Africa Rugby, Mopani and all walks of life is testimony that Zambia is ready to host similar or even bigger sports events. This win by the Rugby National Team has really come at the right time as it shows that as a government we have created an enabling environment for partnerships between sporting bodies and corporate institutions.

The Zambia Rugby Union president Gen Clement Sinkamba said the partnership between his union and Mopani was testament that with right foundations and great understanding, alot could be achieved. Our partnership with Mopani Copper Mines has really boosted our efforts in ensuring qualification to the play off, we are now one game away from playing in the Gold Cup of African Rugby. “We shall ensure that the technical bench hits the ground running as we prepare for the game against Algeria at a venue to be announced”. We played and lost our first game against Algeria in November 2017, the coaches will start assessing areas of concern before the team is recalled for residential camp.

In an interview after the game, Mopani Copper Mines Chief Executive Officer Chris Vermeulen reaffirmed his firms commitment to the growth and development of rugby in Zambia. He said “Mopani is committed to its partnership with the Zambia Rugby Union and we are glad that results are showing both on and off the field of play” The CEO said the mining giant was intent on making sure that Zambian rugby goes global.

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