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American Express signs agreement with Ecobank Group to expand card acceptance in 21 Africa countries

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American Express has signed an agreement with Ecobank Group aimed at expanding its card acceptance in 21 sub-Saharan Africa countries.

The CEO of Ecobank Group, Jeremy Awori, who made the announcement in a statement at the African Development Bank Group Annual Meetings 2024, said, with the deal which was penned by American Express and pan-African financial services arm of the bank, American Express Card Members would be able to use their cards in 12 new countries which include Burundi, Central African Republic, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Niger, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Togo.

“We are delighted to welcome American Express to our network, reinforcing our commitment to offering innovative payments solutions for customers across Africa,” said Awori.

“This agreement will benefit American Express Card Members, providing them with greater choice and will help merchants to grow their businesses. It also highlights the scalability of Ecobank’s unrivalled borderless banking ecosystem and network across Africa.”

He added that the number of merchants accepting American Express Card payments will increase in nine further countries where American Express acceptance already exists which are Cape Verde, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

“Acceptance in these countries will be rolled out over the next 12 months. Ecobank will also provide ATM acceptance for American Express in all countries where they operate in Africa (with the exception of Cape Verde).

“The agreement will also enable merchants to attract business from a new customer base of American Express consumer, business and corporate Card Members in Africa and around the world,” Awori added.

In his submission, Mohammed Badi, President of Global Network Services at American Express, said:

“This agreement with Ecobank is a major milestone for American Express acceptance across Africa as it will expand our presence in sub-Saharan Africa to 42 countries from 30 at present.

“With Ecobank’s support, we look forward to providing merchants in these countries access to higher-spending American Express Card Members both in Africa and from around the world.”

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Meta faces $220 million fine from Nigeria for breaking consumer, data rules

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Nigeria’s competition watchdog has fined Meta Platforms $220 million after findings that data-sharing on social media platforms breached regional consumer, privacy, and data protection rules.

According to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) of Nigeria, Meta exploited its market dominance by forcing users to agree to exploitative privacy policies, appropriated the data of Nigerian users on its platforms without their consent, and treated Nigerians differently and discriminatorily than people in other jurisdictions with comparable laws.

Meta refrained from commenting right away, but the FCCPC stated in a statement that the business had given some papers and had hired attorneys who had interacted with the agency.

The investigations, which lasted more than 38 months, were conducted in tandem with Nigeria’s Data Protection Commission, according to FCCPC head Adamu Abdullahi. He also claimed that the investigations revealed that Meta policies do not give users the choice or chance to decide for themselves whether or not to provide consent for the collection, use, and sharing of personal data.

“The totality of the investigation has concluded that Meta over the protracted period has engaged in conduct that constituted multiple and repeated, as well as continuing infringements… particularly, but not limited to abusive, and invasive practices against data subjects in Nigeria,” Abdullahi said.

“Being satisfied with the significant evidence on the record, and that Meta has been provided every opportunity to articulate any position, representations, refutations, explanations or defences of their conduct, the Commission has now entered a final order and issued a penalty against Meta,” Abdullahi said.

 

According to Abdullahi, the final ruling specifies the procedures that Meta must follow in order to abide with local legislation.

Turkey’s Competition Board penalized Meta 1.2 billion lira in May after looking into data-sharing on the company’s WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Threads services.

Meta has encountered opposition in Europe and other regions due to purported violations of data privacy regulations. Europe has expressed disapproval of Meta’s proposal to develop its artificial intelligence algorithms using personal data without obtaining authorization.

In the meantime, intentions to look into whether digital platforms, like Meta, unfairly compete with news publishers by leveraging their content to earn ad revenue have been announced by South Africa’s competition authority.

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SA’s e-health startup RecoMed partners Discovery Vitality to simplify flu vaccinations

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South African e-health startup, RecoMed, has struck a partnership with Discovery Vitality to simplify bookings for flu vaccines and Vitality Health Checks.

RecoMed is a technology-driven online healthcare marketplace and booking platform that seamlessly connects practitioners, patients, and other stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem.

According to its profile, patients can easily book appointments with a diverse selection of healthcare practitioners in their area quickly and privately from a phone, tablet, or PC, 24/7.

Vitality, on the other hand, is the largest global platform for behaviour change, underpinning the insurance products of leading insurers worldwide, impacting 30 million lives in over 40 markets.

Sheraan Amod, CEO at RecoMed who issued a statement on the partnership, said the collaboration between Discovery Vitality and RecoMed has reimagined bookings and efficiencies for independent members and corporates.

“This collaboration showcases Discovery Vitality’s commitment to supporting and empowering their members,” Amod said.

“Members can easily manage their family’s health within a simple system that allows them to stay ahead of their Vitality Health Checks, and the benefits this delivers, as well as to protect themselves ahead of flu season.

“As South Africa has entered the flu season, it’s important that we make it as easy as possible for our members to find an approved Discovery Vitality partner at a convenient location for their flu vaccine and Vitality Health Check.

“Moving the booking journey onto this accessible, digital platform has allowed our members to simply click and book vaccines and Vitality Health Checks without waiting in a queue or spending time navigating long lists.

“The collaboration has allowed for Discovery Vitality to radically modernise and speed up access to healthcare providers for these essential services while transforming member experiences,” he added.

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