The era of WhatsApp banking is with us — Quartz Africa Weekly — Quartz

Hi Quartz Africa readers,

How about forgetting about all the ATM cards and banking apps you have and transacting via WhatsApp? This practice is already making inroads in East Africa, and it might be bigger than you can imagine.

This week I met with Kihara Maina, Managing Director of I&M Bank, which has branches across East Africa. He is optimistic about the potential of WhatsApp banking, fueled by the growing accessibility of smartphones and mobile internet.

“We want to continue to offer customer-centric solutions to African youth.”

Although Absa was the first bank to launch the service in the region when it unveiled it to Kenyans last year, I&M has rolled it out in Tanzania and Rwanda in recent months. Maina says it will launch in Kenya later this year.

How it works? Well, the bank usually has a contact that acts like a WhatsApp Business number. You need to save it to your contacts and then start a conversation by saying “Hi”. It will prompt you to check balances, statements, request new checks, etc. To send money, all you have to do is open the recipient’s chat window, tap the payment option, enter the amount, enter the PIN and send the money.

Last year I interviewed Absa’s Head of Digital Channels, Andrew Mwithiga, and he said of security: “We have strict measures in place to secure WhatsApp banking for everyone. We have multiple layers of security on the platform.He also talked about Meta’s double encryption and internal cybersecurity mechanisms.

The long-term goal is to make your WhatsApp number your bank account, just like your email is the bank account number on PayPal. It seems practical. If history has shown anything, it’s that wherever banks innovate, fraudsters will be on the lookout for loopholes. —Faustine Ngila, East Africa correspondent

What to look out for in the Quartz Africa member briefing

The number of businesses selling online in Africa has grown alongside the penetration of smartphones and the internet as well as the adoption of digital payment services. E-commerce revenues in Africa, which stood at $27.97 billion in 2020, are expected to reach $46.1 billion by 2025.

Sendy is a Kenyan logistics company founded in 2014 that primarily offered an on-demand delivery platform connecting passengers and drivers to customers, which included businesses and individuals. The company has moved from A-to-B delivery to providing a complete fulfillment infrastructure for e-commerce and consumer brands across the continent.

Learn more about Sendy in next Wednesday’s edition of Quartz Africa’s Member Briefing. Get the Member Brief delivered straight to your inbox (and save 40%) by becoming a member today.

Join Quartz Africa with 40% off

Stories this week

Nairobi’s startup magnet is growing stronger. After Rwanda launched a fourth industrial revolution center, Kenya responded by launching an international financial center. Conrad Onyango explores how this could attract more funding for startups.

MTN Nigeria’s new bank lost $53 million in a matter of days. The company’s finserve subsidiary, MoMo, suffered a widespread cyberattack. Alexander Onukwue reports on the extent of the damage and examines why MTN is suing 18 commercial banks.

This is where you need to invest in West Africa. Startups in the region attract more funding than any other cardinal region in Africa. Seth Onyango explains why, highlighting the best countries to invest in.

How Rwanda became a nation of four official languages. Linguistics researcher Jeremie Eyssette examines how Rwanda’s language history and policies benefit the land of a thousand hills.

Morocco is cracking down on migrants. Instead of prosecuting rogue police forces who contributed to the deaths of 23 migrants attempting to cross the border from Melilla into Spain, Morocco is charging 65 migrants in court. Faustine Ngila examines the Calvary.

person of interest

A woman laughing as she leans over a pot over an open fire.  There are brick huts in the background with thatched roofs and three other smiling people in the photo.

Image copyright: Courtesy of the Basque World Culinary Prize

Binta uses food to make the world a better place to live.

Fatmata Binta popularized the culture and cuisines of the Fulani, who are nomadic herders in West Africa. The Fulani are the largest nomadic tribe in the world, with over 20 million people moving tirelessly across the Sahara desert.

Binta is the first African to win the Basque Culinary World Prize worth $105,000. Faustine Ngila reflects on how Binta beat 1,000 candidates around the world.


“It’s surprising that a bandit has a gun while a good man trying to defend himself and his family doesn’t.” —Bello Masari, Governor of Katsina State in Nigeria

Zamfara State in Nigeria wants farmers to arm themselves. The state is asking 10,000 farmers to apply for gun licenses to defend against attacks. Alexander Onukwue explores the reasons for this curious occurrence, but also the risks of getting more guns into people’s hands in a country that has a huge black market for guns.

Spotlight on a Quartz Africa 2021 Innovator

Stylized image of Fara Jituboh

When we use carpooling, food delivery or banking services, each transaction generates specific data about us that can be used to create new personalized services. But that data sits in each vendor’s silo, which means innovators often don’t have reliable and secure access to it.

That’s the problem Fara Ashiru Jituboh is solving with Okra, a financial data company that’s going beyond open banking (getting banks to open their customer data vaults) to pioneering open finance in Africa. . Jituboh’s vision is for Okra to become a single channel for any business to request customer data, anywhere, with user consent and at the lowest possible cost. For customers, the reward is a larger pool of solutions based on their own data.

Check out Quartz Africa’s 2021 Innovators List, which showcases the pioneering work of African women.

A negotiator

Kukuathe company behind Africa’s first animated superhero franchise, Super Sema, raised $6 million in a ride led by Chinese tech giant Tencent and Alchimia. Kukua’s offices are in Nairobi and London, and this is its second raise since a round of $2.5 million in 2018 when it was established.

Savea South African fintech start-up, raised $2 million in a cycle in which many African investors, including Capital Quona, Breega, CRE Venturesand Ingressive capital– participated. The Company’s product is aimed at small businesses to manage expenses and maintain records. His next step: provide credit cards.

quartz gems

Image copyright: Photographic illustration by Quartz

The end of globalization has been greatly exaggerated. In 2016, after the British voted to leave the EU, many took it as a sign of the dismantling of globalization. Alarm bells rang again in 2018, when then-President Donald Trump launched a trade war on various fronts. In 2020, covid has triggered a whole new wave of predictions about the collapse of global economic integration, with calls for the death of globalization reaching a fever pitch after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year.

Research "end of globalization"  keep climbing.

Image copyright: Quartz

The Best of Quartz Obsession Podcast

Obsession podcast logo with sound waves flowing behind

🐱 A pasta ad where a child saves a kitten.

🦶 An old wooden toe.

🤢 A ball of undigested squid beaks.

We had so much fun on the Quartz Obsession podcast we created a bonus episode of some of our favorite moments of last season. We’ve teamed up with Hark Audio, a podcast curation app, to share them with you. The cool thing about Hark is that you can go from any moment to a full episode. Try it!

Other things we liked

LGBTQ asylum seekers from Nigeria are among those deported from the UK. Nigerian authorities received 38 migrants including gay men from the UK last Thursday. BBC’s Chris Ewokor explains why they were fired although he remained in the UK for decades.

Ghanaians are protesting against a new levy. At 26%, inflation is hitting Ghana hard. Citizens were angered by the government’s decision to impose a 1.5% tax on electronics transactions and took to the streets, as Business Insider’s Emmanuel Abara Benson reported.

Zimbabwe’s plan to mint gold is exciting for investors. Al Jazeera’s Chris Muronzi reports that President Emerson Mnagangwa is eager to strike gold to curb rising inflation in the country and triple the lending rate from 80% to 200% – a move that makes investors happy.

when you kiss nyaopeyou marry him. New Frame’s Nation Nyoka explores the fate of young women live in a drug house in Gauteng, South Africa, and are addicted to a low-grade form of heroin called nyaope.


Imagine the global good. Apply for the 2022 CatchLight Fellowship for Creative Leaders in Storytelling and stand a chance to receive $30,000 in financial support. (July 18)

Apply for a $12,000 grant. The Association of Commonwealth Universities announced apps for Higher Education Human Resources Community Challenge Grants. (August 15th)

🎵 This brief was made by listening to “Hello” by Balti (Tunisia)

Our best wishes for a productive and idea-filled week ahead. Please send your news, comments, suggestions, ideas, WhatsApp banks and Fulani dishes to [email protected] You can follow us on Twitter at @qzafrica for updates throughout the day.

If you received this email from a friend or colleague, you can register here to get the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief delivered to your inbox each week. You can also follow Quartz Afrique on Facebook.

Comments are closed.