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MTN launches 5G network in Zambia

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Pan-African mobile operator, MTN, has officially launched its 5G network in Zambia, after beginning a test run in January, making the country the third in Africa after previous launches South Africa in June 2020 and in Nigeria in September 2022.

The 5G services which will run commercially in six Zambian cities, according to MTN Group’s President and CEO, Ralph Mupita, will help transform businesses and livelihoods in the southern African nation.

“5G can transform business and livelihoods beyond simple connectivity, with the potential to unlock many new use cases. In Zambia, we see great opportunities across many sectors, and in the mining industry in particular,” Mupita said at the launch on Friday.

MTN Zambia CEO, Bart Hofker, said the 5G services had been activated to cover about 65% of the population in the cities of Lusaka, Kitwe and Ndola, and parts of Chingola, Solwezi and Kalumbila, which translates into about 15% of the overall population of the country.

“We plan to reach 100% 5G coverage in Lusaka, Kitwe and Ndola by the middle of 2023, while gradually expanding the 5G network to other locations,” Hofker said.

MTN’s 5G is a fifth-generation mobile network technology which offers faster speeds, lower latency, better security and stability and the ability to handle high-volume connections and mobile data. It can connect virtually everything, including machines, vehicles and robots,” he added.

The launching of the network in Lusaka, the country’s capital, was witnessed by Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema, along with top government ministers and representatives of the telecoms regulator and the Central Bank governor

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South African commerce startup, Clickatell, launches platform for WhatsApp mobile payments

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Foremost South African commerce and mobile messaging startup, Clickatell, has launched a Whatsapp Chat 2 Pay feature in conjunction with South Africa’s first low-cost airline, FlySafair.

During the launch of the platform on Saturday, Clickatell’s Chief Product and Technology Officer, Jeppe Dorff, said the feature will make FlySafair the first airline in the world to deploy Chat 2 Pay with a pay-by-link capability that allows its customers the convenience of effortless mobile payments via FlySafair’s WhatsApp channel.

“No one has time to stand in queues anymore, and almost every adult on the planet has a mobile phone,” Dorff said.

“There is a major opportunity for airlines across the globe to enhance their customers’ travel experience by making it possible to browse, book and pay for, as well as manage their travel bookings on their mobile phones.

“We are thrilled to work with FlySafair to transform its customers’ experience by making it possible to make payments using their mobile phones,” he added.

Kirby Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer at FlySafair, said the airline is delighted to have pioneered with Clickatell for the first of its kind innovation.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our customer experience and are therefore very excited that our customers can now pay for their luggage with a payment link shared to their mobile phones via WhatsApp.

“There is no need any more for our customers to go stand in a queue at the airport to pay for luggage.

“By adding Chat 2 Pay, FlySafair helps its customers to save time and safely make payments further by clicking on the Chat 2 Pay link delivered in a message in WhatsApp without requiring them to expose their personal payment information,” she explained.

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Ghana’s agrotech startup, FLUID, launches platform to help small scale farmers access to credit

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Ghana’s agrotech startup, FLUID, has successfully launched a new platform that will help small scale farmers access to loans, according to founder and CEO, Moustapha Seck.

Founded in January, 2020, to give fillip to local farmers who had no access to loan and credit facilities, Seck said the company has already signed a 12-month contract with a local bank to provide financing to 25,000 farmers in Northern Ghana.

“We penetrated the Ghanaian financial industry through research first. In October 2020, we partnered with 29 financial institutions to study the challenges in the rural banking space,” Seck said while announcing the launch of the platform.

“Through this engagement, we developed FLUID SafeSusu, a mobile application to create bank accounts and track savings deposits in rural areas without connectivity,” Seck, who left his job at the Canadian investment fund, Clearco, to pursue his goal of helping the poorest Africans access financial services, said.

He added that the FLUID SafeSusu platform has piloted with four banks and connected 26,000 bank accounts to its platform, with an investment fund base of $200,000 in savings deposits.

“Our research led us to discover that half of Ghanaians work in agriculture, but only 4.6 per cent of loans go to farming. This disparity leaves close to 12.5 million smallholders farmers in Ghana financially excluded.”

“While banks use many different technology providers to be closer to the field, only FLUID and AgroCenta, to our knowledge, focus on the huge market of smallholder financing. FLUID stands alone in its focus on mitigating risks for the bank and the farmer,” he added.

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