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Ugandan electric cooking startup PowerUP secures seed funding for expansion

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Ugandan electric cooking startup, PowerUP, has secured new seed funding which is aimed at helping it expand beyond the eastern African country.

CEO of PowerUP, Kato Kibuka, who made the announcement, said the startup secured the funding in a round led by Delta40, a Nairobi-based venture studio and VC fund that invests in and supports inclusive climate ventures, and also featuring Autodesk Foundation.

“Cooking has been done the same way for centuries – setting fire to an inefficient fuel to heat a pot that holds food,” Kibuka said.

“It is time to go beyond fire and use the most efficient fuel. Our electric cooking solutions will save money, save time, and avoid harmful fumes for millions.

PowerUP will start offering a new range of electric stoves later this year to address the diverse cooking styles across Africa. It will invest in leveraging data to understand its customers better and to digitalise its carbon credit programme of activities,” he added.

The startup, according to Kibuka, develops and deploys smart-metered PAYGO electric stoves customised for the African markets, with the solutions having so far cleaned up cooking in over 40,000 homes across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Ghana.

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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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Opera MiniPay wallet celebrates 1 million users in Africa

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Opera MiniPay wallet, a self-custodial dollar stablecoin wallet, has announced a significant achievement of surpassing one million users across Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana.

Charles Hamel, Product Director at MiniPay, who made the announcement, said the stablecoin wallet had seamlessly integrated into the Opera Mini browser for Android users and built on the Celo blockchain.

“The MiniPay wallet has been designed to be intuitive for users of all experience levels to reap the benefits that decentralized finance can bring,” Hamel said.

“Via a familiar Web2 experience, MiniPay makes it easier and more affordable for individuals across Africa to acquire, send and receive Mento cUSD stablecoins – simply by using mobile phone numbers.

“The wallet enables users to save, send, and receive funds instantly on their mobile phones with very low transaction fees and with a mission to onboard millions of users to Web3 across Africa, Celo and Mento Labs aim to provide accessible financial tools through MiniPay embedded in Opera Mini,” he stated.

According to Hamel, MiniPay enables fast, easy, and affordable payments through its stablecoin wallet, offering sub-cent fees through the Celo network.

“MiniPay is currently live in Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana, with plans for expansion into South Africa, and more,” Hamel added.

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