Beyond South Africa

A complete overview of all our Beyond South Africa articles.

Are fintechs the answer to cross-border payment pains?

During a CFO South Africa webinar, Verto experts Tim Rudman and Ola Oyetayo, as well as Hatch Africa CFO Craig Sumption, unpacked the challenges and possible solutions when it comes to cross-border payments.

Village Capital and PayPal get behind African FinTechs

Venture capital firm Village Capital has partnered with US payment platform PayPal to launch a three-month investment readiness programme Village Capital FinTech Africa, which will see two early-stage African startups walking away with $50 000 in investment funding. Applications to the programme opened last week and will close on 24 November.

Gates Foundation launches open-source financial inclusion software

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has released a new open-source software for creating payment platforms that will help unbanked people around the world access digital financial services. The software is designed to provide a reference model for payment interoperability between banks and other providers across a country’s economy. It is available now, free-of-cost, for software developers to adapt and banks, financial service providers and companies to implement. Information on the code can be found at

Mama Money simplifies Fica registration

South African FinTech Mama Money, which offers affordable cross-border money transfers across Africa, has introduced a groundbreaking Fica registration process using photos and its app.

Digitisation take centre stage in African banking strategy

Africa presents the ideal environment in which to evolve a new cash and payments services architecture – by linking rapidly changing customer expectations with new technologies. This puts banks squarely at the centre of mediating the creative clash of trends and technology – as Africa’s financial institutions harness disruption for innovation and growth.

Things are looking up for SSA

The economy of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is expected to grow a moderate 2.4 percent in 2017 before gaining steam next year, says FocusEconomics.

"Join us in transforming Africa" - Kalon Venture Partners at the African FinTech Awards

This is the most transformative era in history and Section 12J venture capital company Kalon Venture Partners, formerly known as Grotech, is expecting to be at the forefront of change in Africa, said CEO Clive Butkow in an informative session at the African FinTech Awards at Finance Indaba Africa at the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 October.

Finance Indaba: TransUnion Africa driving digital transformation agenda

"TransUnion is an exciting business to be a part of. It’s an organisation that has amazing global intellectual property, and when you combine that with great people and data, it allows us to solve some of the greatest challenges businesses and consumers are facing today," says Lee Naik, CEO of TransUnion Africa, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2017 on 12 and 13 October 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

CoAL sells its shares in Mooiplaats colliery

Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) and its subsidiaries (which includes GVM Metals Administration and Ferret) has announced their intention to sell their shares in Mooiplaats thermal coal colliery to a group of investors, MCH, for a price of R179.9 million.

Put your money where your mouth is - Africa's best investment destinations

Rand Merchant Bank’s (RMB) recently released ‘Where to Invest in Africa 2018’ report reveals interesting changes in its ratings of the continent’s most attractive investment destinations. Not only have Nigeria and Algeria dropped out of the top 10 (moving to positions 13 and 15 respectively), South Africa has surrendered its first place position to Egypt, now Africa’s most attractive investment destination.

Manufacturing output down

South Africa’s manufacturing output fell 1.4 percent year-on-year in July, after contracting by a revised 2.2 percent in June, Statistics South Africa has said.

Google expands Launchpad Accelerator

Google has expanded its six-month, equity-free Launchpad Accelerator programme to seven more countries in Africa, after initially only opening it up to startups from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. The tech behemoth will now also accept applicants from Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda.

Tourism growth will boost SSA economies

Several Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries can expect strong growth in the tourism sector, says new data revealed by Euromonitor International at the recent 41st Annual World Tourism Conference held in Kigali, Rwanda. International arrivals to Africa grew by 6.5 percent this year, reaching 18,550 million, it said.

World Bank lines up startups for XL Africa accelerator

The World Bank has selected 20 startups to participate in its XL Africa accelerator programme, which offers help in securing early stage funding, a tailored curriculum and mentoring from a range of experts. A number of investment groups support the programme, which will see participants engaging online before attending a two-week residency in Cape Town.

South Africa's financials remain positive despite economic failings

The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) recent warning that South Africa's economic vulnerabilities could become more pronounced wasn't good news. Indeed, when the assessment was made in July 2017, it cast a shadow of what's already a turbulent time for the country.

Shoprite defies challenging market conditions

Africa’s largest retailer with a customer base of more than 35 million people across the continent, Shoprite Group announced an investor-pleasing set of annual results on Tuesday, adding thousands of jobs, increasing sales and profit, and staving off food inflation, despite having to deal with a pressurised consumer environment.

SA's public debt 50% of GDP

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) latest Economic Survey of South Africa 2017, the country’s public debt has risen to just under 50 percent of GDP.

Nigerian FinTech market up 90% since 2015 - report

The Nigerian FinTech market has grown by 90% in the past 3-4 years and startups in the populous West African nation are radically transforming the banking and financial sectors, according to Kantar TNS Nigeria CEO Aggrey Maposa.

The impact of cybercrime on SA companies: are we better or WORSE off?

During the last year, the public became painfully aware of what cybersecurity experts have long been warning us about: That cybercrime is on the rise and that everyone is a potential target. The recent WannaCry and Petya attacks have revealed that hackers have adopted an increasingly financial focus, as they demand ransom (usually in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin) in exchange for unlocking the affected users’ data. Companies throughout the globe have been affected in the latest attack this June, with South African companies being no exception.

Mukuru joins Finance Indaba 2017

Mukuru has joined Finance Indaba 2017 as a silver partner and will make its debut at the event at the Sandton Convention Centre in October.

CIMA announces new Africa regional board

Following a call for nominations and elections for the first Africa regional board under the Association, Badibanga Promesse (pictured), regional VP Africa for CIMA, has announced that the following people have accepted their election and appointment to the new Africa regional board:

CFOs must have a deep understanding of operations, says Hatch CFO Craig Sumption

Craig Sumption has been with Hatch, a global concern headquartered in Canada and supplying engineering, project and construction management services, process and business consulting and operational services to the mining, metallurgical, energy and infrastructure industries, for more than a decade. He assumed the role of Regional Director of Finance for the firm's African, European and Middle Eastern operations two years ago. A passionate finance man who knew very early on that he wanted to go into the field, the father of three's grasp of the numbers remains second to none. He shared his thoughts with us about volatility, moving into Africa and leadership.

5 tips for CFOs on approaching rapid-growth markets

EY warns CFOs against over-committing to rapid-growth markets and letting the enthusiasm for using them as the torch-bearer for sustainable long-term growth bubble over. Here are a number of key lessons from the financial services giant that will be applicable for the just about any company and its CFO.

TechPreneur Africa and Abu Dhabi sign FinTech agreement

TechPreneur Africa, which aims to support FinTech firms and entrepreneurs that want to increase financial inclusion and opportunities for growth across Africa, has signed a memorandum of agreement with international financial hub Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

PPC rocked by S&P downgrade

South African cement-maker PPC has reported an astonishing 93% plunge in full-year earnings after enduring a liquidity crisis following a cut in its credit rating to junk status by S&P Global Ratings.

Golden opportunity: WATCH Standard Bank's Tiro Motlogeloa at #findaba16

As one of the foremost financial institutions on the continent, Standard Bank has been making great things happen in Africa for over 154 years. The bank currently operates in 20 countries on the African continent, including South Africa, as well as in other selected emerging markets, and employs more than 54 000 people across its 1 221 branches. CFO South Africa is pleased to have retained such a prestigious diamond partner for Finance Indaba 2017.

Entersekt clinches second banking award

South African FinTech company, Entersekt has won the Judges' Choice: Best Technology Provider at the fourth Banker Africa East Africa Awards held recently at a gala dinner in Nairobi. In April, the firm won the award for Best Mobile Security Technology in the 2017 Banker Africa Southern Africa Banking Awards for the second year in a row.

Meet Debbie Ransby (Takeda), winner of the Moving into Africa Award

At the recent CFO Awards, held on 11 May at the stunning Summer Place in Johannesburg, Debbie Ransby of pharmaceutical firm Takeda Africa walked away with the Moving into Africa Award, received largely because of her change management work in Egypt, where she faced numerous tough challenges, including diverse cultures and complex business practices.

Cybersecurity skills shortages leave us open to attack, says MWR Infosecurity SA's MD, Riaan van Boom

According to Europol’s 2016 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA), several EU states have found that cybercrime offences have surpassed traditional crimes, with trends such as crime-as-a-service and ransomware rising significantly. Given the increasing sophistication of the attack landscape, hacking has become a genuine threat facing organisations and countries across the globe. And yet, the ability of those targeted to manage such attacks remain, for the most part, limited. Riaan van Boom, Managing Director, MWR Infosecurity South Africa, unpacks the issue.

Former British minister delivers FinTech boost to African farmers

Former UK government minister Mark Simmonds (pictured) has teamed up with FinTech veteran Hirander Misra on a venture that aims to help African smallholder farmers boost their earnings by connecting them with local commodity exchanges. The Financial and Commodities Ecosystem (FinComEco) says it wants to improve food security, economic diversity and financial inclusion by connecting farmers with exchanges, financial infrastructure and national economies.

World Bank launches African digital entrepreneurship programme

The World Bank has launched an accelerator for African digital entrepreneurs. The five-month long XL Africa – which includes a two-week residency in Cape Town and the Venture Showcase pitching event – is backed Finland, Norway, and Sweden, XL Africa. Participants will be mentored global and local experts through a tailor-made curriculum, increase their regional visibility, and receive access to potential corporate partners and investors.

3 CFOs on succeeding in Africa

For many South African companies, expanding successfully through the rest of the continent is a sort of Holy Grail. Many have been burned in their efforts and some abandon their plans completely after failing to negotiate difficult terrain. Here are three financial executives’ advice on doing business in Africa from our interview archives.

MENA FinTech challenge open to North Africa

North African startups are eligible for the SANAD Fincluders Startup Challenge in Amman, Jordan, on 3-4 May 2017 and its $15 000 cash prize. The challenge, which also includes Middle Eastern startups, aims to find innovative SMEs focusing on financial inclusion and follows the Arab Day dedicated to increasing access to financial services.

Sanlam expands in East Africa with PineBridge Investments acquisition

Financial services group Sanlam has reached an agreement with asset manager PineBridge Investments, a leading global multi-asset class asset manager, which has operations in Kenya and Uganda, to acquire PineBridge’s majority stake in PineBridge Investments East Africa Limited in Kenya (PIEAL).

Mena region set for FinTech boom

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) is set to experience a boom in fintech innovation over the next three years, propelled by a large unbanked population, VC inflows and the rapid emergence of a host of new startups, according to a state of the nation report prepared by local payment services outfit Payfort and entrepreneurial platform Wamda. According to the report, the number of startups in Mena’s FinTech ecosystem doubled from 46 to 105 over the three years 2013 to 2015 and the region could see a total of 250 FinTech startups launch by the year 2020.

Mauritius is an ideal FinTech location - Inter Pay Tech's Mark O' Sullivan

Mauritius-based payment solutions provider Inter Payments Tech will be one of the FinTechs pitching at the FinTech Africa Future of Payments event in Sandton, Johannesburg, on 14 March. Topics of discussion relevant to the exciting and expanding space on the evening will include the the death of credit cards and systems enabling digital currencies. We spoke to founder and CEO Mark O’ Sullivan to find out more about the company’s activities and involvement in the event.

Kevin Johnson new VP for Colfax Corporation

Kevin Johnson (pictured), who was nominated for a CFO Award in 2014, is the new Vice President of Colfax Corporation. Kevin took on the role earlier this year, leaving Marinella Vigouroux in charge of finance at Howden Africa.

FinTech roadshow on the way

Accelerator Sw7, in partnership with the law firm Webber Wentzel, is set to launch its FinTech Innovation Africa roadshow in Cape Town and Johannesburg next week. FinTech specialists will be making presentations at various events at the Webber Wentzel offices in Cape Town and the SW7 workplace in Rivonia, Johannesburg.

IBM to train 25 million Africans

US tech giant IBM is gearing up its digital skills training programme as it moves to train some 25 million Africans for free over the next five years, in a bid to grow the continent’s workforce.

Marinella Vigouroux new Howden Africa CFO

Marinella Vigouroux has taken over from Kevin Johnson as CFO of Howden Africa. The finance department is not only a source of information but key to the business strategy and operational success of a company, she says.

Innotribe FinTech challenge open for applications

Financial messaging service provider SWIFT Innotribe's Startup Challenge for Africa is open for applications. For the third year running, the Challenge will be part of SWIFT’s African Regional Conference (ARC) held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from 16-18 May 2017. ARC brings together policy-makers, industry leaders and the broader financial community from across the African continent. Typically attracting up to 500 delegates from around 40 countries, ARC is a unique forum for networking, education, discussion and debate and a great platform for FinTech startups to connect with the financial sector.

Ecobank launches African FinTech challenge

Pan-African banking conglomerate Ecobank, which boasts operations in 36 countries on the continent, has launched a FinTech challenge for African startups. The Ecobank FinTech Challenge provides selected startups with tailored mentorship from leading industry experts, funding of up to $500 000, a partnership with the multinational, and access to Africa’s biggest banking ecosystem, maximising exposure across the continent. The winner will also showcase their idea at Ecobank’s Innovation Fair.

Africa has great potential: WATCH Eclectics consultant Sebi Salim at #afta16 #findaba16

"We believe there is a lot of potential in Africa and this is why we are investing heavily. Up to 60 percent of our solutions are USSD- and SMS-based, but as Internet access becomes cheaper and easier, we are increasing our investment in web and mobile banking apps. Through our partnership model, we sit down with banks and understand their requirements to produce customised solutions," said Sebi Salim, a consultant at Eclectics International, a Microsoft Africa Partner of the Year in 2016.

Dubai to support African FinTech

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and professional services firm Accenture are set to launch a fintech accelerator that will support startups from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

African FinTechs garnered most investment in 2016

African FinTechs received the lion’s share of the $129 million invested in 146 of the continent’s tech startups in 2016, accounting for a combined $31,4 million, according to Disrupt Africa’s African Tech Startups Funding Report. It was followed by the agricultural sector.

Cybercriminals take aim at Africa

Check Point has revealed that five African nations were among the top 10 most-attacked countries in November as cybercriminals made increasing use of ransomware attacks using the Locky and Cryptowall viruses.

VW expands into Kenya & Rwanda

German car manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) is expanding into East Africa. The company has opened a new assembly plant in Kenya, in the industrial town of Thika, and has also launched plans for a ride-sharing service to take advantage of the increased demand for vehicles in Africa. A few weeks prior, VW signed a deal to build an assembly plant in Algeria, too.

Visa aims to boost African fintech

Visa, in partnership with Hong Kong-based venture capital firm and incubator Nest, to run a four-day fintech bootcamp in Nairobi, Kenya, for innovative startups in Africa.

Marinella Vigouroux new Howden Africa CFO, replacing Kevin Johnson

Kevin Johnson has left his position as CFO of Howden Africa Holdings Limited (HAHL), moving to the Colfax Corporation where he has accepted a senior position in the company. Marinella Vigouroux (pictured) has taken over the CFO role at HAHL, effective 8 December. Vogouroux is also an Executive Director of the company.

Four top finance bosses reveal the reasons for their success on the continent

What does it take to be successful in the rest of Africa? We asked four CFOs who were nominated for the 2016 CFO Awards to share some tips. Here’s what Bikash Prasad from Olam International, Johan Geel from Afgri, Mohammed Abdool-Samad from Illovo, and Osman Arbee from Imperial Group had to say on the matter. Bikash Prasad (right): look at the long term Bikash Prasad has quickly moved through the ranks and last year became CFO for Africa and the Middle-East at Olam International, a global agri-business operating from seed to shelf. Bikash has been a long-standing supporter of CFO South Africa and the panel of judges voted him as winner or the 2016 Moving into Africa Award, which he received out of the hands of Standard Bank’s CIB CFO Luvuyo Masinda on 12 May 2016. We asked him what it takes to be successful in Africa. “Look at the long term. You might have challenges in the short term, with the global economic slowdown and the slowdown in China impacting the continent, but the long term is looking very bullish and positive.” “To operate in Africa, you have to be a noble corporate citizen. You cannot be non-compliant. You need to really believe in sustainability and get a license from the community you want to work in, not just an official license from the government you are dealing with. We hardly ever run into any trouble because of that approach. Recruiting and developing talent is also crucial.”

Local currency and DFIs: an opportunity for African financing - Standard Bank at #findaba16

Standard Bank treasurer Paul Burgoyne brought together a strong panel at the Finance Indaba Africa on 13 October 2016, to discuss accessing liquidity in Africa. The speakers included CFO and VP of Olam International, Bikash Prasad, as well as three Standard Bank team members: head of institutional sales Africa, Mark Kalil, VP for power and infrastructure finance, George Kotsovos, and global head: client solutions & distribution, global markets Steve Barnes.

Bruno Bayet new CFO for Lafarge Africa

Lafarge Africa has announced the appointment of a new CFO, Bruno Bayet (pictured), effective 1 October 2016. Prior to becoming CFO of Lafarge Africa Bayet was the Strategy Director; a position he held since April this year. Bayet, a Belgian, was Manager, Corporate Finance, with PwC from 1998 to 2005, and Senior Analyst in the Investments team of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert from 2005 to 2011. Before joining Lafarge, Bayet was an executive committee member of Enterprise Generale Malta Forrest (RDC) from 2011 to 2013, having gained over 15 years of experience in the construction and materials industry. He was appointed Director of Ashakacem Plc in later 2013, combining the role of CFO in September 2014. Bayet holds a Business Engineering degree from Universite Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium, and completed his Master’s in Business Administration at Georgetown University, specialising in Financial Risks Management.

Diversity makes business sense: Gusti Coetzer chats to Brett Tromp - #findaba16

Diversity in the workplace is both constitutionally mandated and fundamentally good for business. This was the message from award-winning Discovery Health CFO Brett Tromp, in a discussion moderated by Talent Africa’s Auguste Coetzer, at the Finance Indaba held at the Sandton Convention Centre on 14 October 2016.

Riding the tides of African volatility: Standard Bank discusses the continent - #findaba16

The “Africa rising” narrative that dominated headlines ten years ago has taken an anecdotal beating, affected by the downturn in commodities, and several of the continent’s biggest economies being plagued with poor growth, both private and public corruption, and political bad news. But, investment wise, does that mean Africa is no longer a strong growth space? Do investors consider this bubble burst?

Finance Indaba: meet silver partner Connect Africa Payments

Connect Africa Payments is a B2B technology solution, connecting various payment networks. Members of the hub are able to facilitate cross-network transfers. The Kenya-based FinTech company is a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa. We asked Caroline Cherotich to tell us a bit more.

Finance Indaba programme: Finance for Africa - #findaba16

The Finance Indaba Africa 2016 is almost upon us and it is time to start looking at what exactly lies ahead at the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 and 14 October 2016. Every day until the event, we will shine a light on the parts of the amazing programme. Today: Finance for Africa, a two-day programme moderated by Didi Sehume, Treasury and Securities Services associate at JP Morgan.

We are hiring! Are you a young, computer savvy social media and marketing fundi?

Are you looking for a great job in a fast growing international company? You have found it. This is an awesome chance for young and talented computer savvy social media and marketing fundi. A great challenge for an enthusiastic professional that wants to make a real contribution to the company - CFO South Africa - and to the country.

Edcon loses the battle; gets taken over

Struggling South African clothes retailer Edcon has been taken over by banks and bondholders, including Standard Bank, Barclays Africa Group and FirstRand. Furthermore, creditors in Edcon have agreed to substitute R21 billion in debt for equity control of the retailer. The retailer has been struggling with an over-leveraged capital structure for years. Having been taken private in a R25-billion buyout by Bain almost a decade ago, Edcon has been unable to to grow at a fast enough rate to pay down debt.

DFA interested in acquiring non-performing state-owned Broadband Infraco

Optical fibre connectivity provider Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) has expressed interest in buying state-owned Broadband Infraco, which provides high-speed fixed-line infrastructure. The government has been looking at rationalising and selling non-performing state-owned entities, with Broadband Infraco identified as one such company.

Finance Indaba 2016: Stay ahead of the curve with Profectus Africa

"It is clear that the techniques for detecting trends, and better predictions using Big Data, haven't as yet been mastered," says Chris Kamffer, director of Profectus Africa, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

SA once again Africa's largest economy

South Africa has regained its position as Africa’s largest economy in dollar terms after being bumped to second and then third place (with Nigeria in first and Egypt in second).

Barclays Africa to spend R1.4 billion on skills development

Barclays Africa CE Maria Ramos (pictured) recently announced that the bank will be partnering with clients, governments, NGOs and economic development agencies on a multimillion-rand shared growth initiative aimed at boosting education and skills development.

Cilliers Steyn new Dark Fibre Africa CFO

Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) has appointed Cilliers Steyn as its new CFO. Steyn previously held the position of CEO of Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH), of which DFA is a subsidiary. Steyn takes over from Thinus Mulder, who has accepted the position of permanent CEO, following Gustav Smit stepping down. Mulder said of Steyn's appointment:

MTN appoints Stephen van Coller as VP of strategy and M&A

MTN has appointed Stephen van Coller (pictured) as vice president of strategy and mergers & acquisitions, effective 1 October 2016. Van Coller’s appointment comes amid various executive changes at MTN, including the recent appointment of Rob Shuter as CEO and the resignation of Brett Goschen as CFO.

MD Sneha Shah reveals Thomson Reuters plans for Africa

No matter what the question is, in Sneha Shah’s world, the answer always starts with the same two words: the customer. In an exclusive interview with CFO South Africa, the charismatic Africa MD of Thomson Reuters speaks about her time in New York, the challenges facing modern CFOs and about her drive to help transform Africa’s aid-based economies into knowledge-based economies. Most of the successful projects Sneha has run, delivered because of a firm focus on customers. “For me, the customer is a passion,” Kenyan-born Sneha Sanghrajka Shah reflects. “Too many companies start with their products and ideas, risking irrelevance when the customer needs change. You cannot afford to lose sight of the customer, so my team starts with the customer every day. Even HR, which many organisations would see as a back-office role, has customer-facing targets to meet.” The same rules apply for CFOs, says Sneha, as “they have had to become more customer focused in order to be able to manage the increasing burden of regulation and risk. But overall, there is a trend globally where CFOs are becoming much more market-aware and client-facing. CEOs are becoming less of the singular face to the market and more like coaches to a strong business focused leadership team, and this has led to CFOs and other C-Level roles evolving accordingly.” Reuters has had news reporters in South Africa since the 1860s, and the finance business here started in the 1980s. The name has become synonymous with FX trading across the continent, but Thomson Reuters actually does much more, across a variety of industries and customer segments. “For a global information company with strong roots on the continent, we definitely need to do a better job of sharing who we are and what we do,” says Sneha, as she lists the range of Thomson Reuters services that can benefit businesses and their CFOs. The firm brands itself as ‘the answer company’ and combines news, broad and deep content and industry expertise with innovative technology to provide information to decision-makers in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, intellectual property and science and media markets.

IMF: SA is Africa's third biggest economy

The latest economic update from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revealed that South Africa is now the third biggest economy in Africa, with Nigeria taking first place and Egypt second. According to the IMF, the weak rand, which worked against South Africa in the conversion to dollars in the IMF report, is the reason for the country’s drop to third place.