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Nigerian maritime startup OnePort 365 secures $5m seed funding to digitise freight management across Africa

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A Nigerian maritime startup, OnePort 365, has secured a $5 million seed funding to drive end-to-end digitisation of freight management in Africa and support its expansion into new markets across the continent.

According to the CEO and founder of OnePort 365, Hio Sola-Usidame, the digital freight forwarding company makes it easier for importers and exporters to move their cargo to and from Nigeria to other parts of Africa.

“OnePort 365 has developed a freight forwarding platform that enables traders to efficiently and conveniently move cargo to, from and within Africa, providing complete transparency, visibility and control, minimizing cost inefficiencies and eliminating time and effort inefficiencies resulting from traditional supply chain management methods,” Sola-Usidame said.

“With active operations in Nigeria and Ghana, the startup is building an operating system for cross-border trade in Africa, and it has now raised a US$5 million seed round to support its efforts.

“We are super excited to have these investors onboard to support our mission to optimise cross-border trading across the continent.

“With new regulations like the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement creating the potential for a new era of trade on the continent, we want to make it easier for traders to maximise the opportunity.

“We believe managing freights should be as easy as booking a flight or ordering a ride-hailing service and we are building the operating system to make this possible,” the startup CEO said.

Takeshi Watanabe, CEO of Mobility 54 Investment SAS who facilitated the sec fund, said he was delighted to support the OnePort 365 team as it embarked on the journey of digitising the end-to-end freight management process in Africa.

“There is great potential to unlock significant commercial opportunities across the continent by addressing the longstanding challenges that have made it difficult to move freights into and around the continent, and we are confident that OnePort 365 has what it takes to succeed,” Watabnabe said.

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Ethiopia’s Awash Bank partners Mastercard to launch international prepaid cards

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Ethiopia’s leading private financial institution, Awash Bank S.C, has partnered with global payments company, Mastercard, to launch the Awash international prepaid cards.

Yohannes Merga, Senior Chief, Marketing Officer for Awash Bank, who announced the partnership on Thursday, said the launching of the Mastercard-branded international prepaid plastic card “marks a significant milestone in Ethiopia’s card business, as the cards enable customers and merchants to make and receive payments online from anywhere in the world.”

He added that the plastic card would offer added flexibility and convenience to customers as it was enabled to make contact or contactless transactions on ATMs and POS machines.

“This innovative offering is a testament to Awash Bank’s commitment to delivering convenient and secure financial solutions to our customers,” said Merga.

“Awash Mastercard empowers travelers with the freedom to manage their finances seamlessly while exploring the world.

“Along with the card, the bank will also introduce Mastercard’s Payment Gateway Services (MPGS) which will diversify and expand Awash Bank’s service offering.

“Mastercard’s Payment Gateway allows local merchants that have mobile applications or websites to integrate with it and accept international payments online. Customers from all over the world can place online orders and reservations and pay merchants that are integrated with MPGS using their cards.

Also speaking in the partnership, Shehryar Ali, Senior Vice President and Country Manager for East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands at Mastercard, said:

“This collaboration with Awash Bank is driving our commitment as Mastercard to enable financial inclusion across Africa.

“Our technological advancements in the payments landscape, enable consumers to be connected to endless possibilities, when transacting, in a safe, secure, and simple manner, which places power and convenience in their hands.”

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M-PESA partners IFC to increase financial inclusion for farmers in Mozambique

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Mobile money transfer and payment service provider, M-Pesa, has entered into a partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) aimed at boosting financial inclusion for small-holder farmers in Mozambique.

The agreement will see IFC cooperating with Vodafone M-PESA Mozambique to support M-PESA in several key areas, including revamping and strengthening its existing agent network and conducting comprehensive countrywide training for M-PESA’s sales team and agents.

IFC will also assist M-PESA to review and expand its merchant acquisition and management strategy in Mozambique, and support M-PESA’s activities across different regions.

Sergio Gomes, Director of Vodafone M-PESA Mozambique, who announced the partnership, said the IFC and M-PESA Mozambique will “work together to explore and pilot new ways to expand mobile money services in rural areas, with the aim of increasing financial inclusion for smallholder farmers.”

“We have seen very positive results since M-PESA was launched in Mozambique in 2013 having paid about 9 billion Meticais ($142 million) in commissions to agents just in the last 5 years,” said Gomes.

“The new phase of M-PESA will focus on expanding our value proposition and use cases to limit the use of cash in the economy. One important vertical where we want to intervene is in agriculture where payments are dominated by cash.

“We believe that through this partnership with IFC, we can have an impact on farmers by digitizing their value chains beginning with payments received for their produce and moving out to developing more sophisticated products like insurance,” he added.

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