THE National Association of Savings and Credit Unions (NASCU), the apex organisation for all financial cooperatives in Zambia, today announced the successful implementation and testing of UnionPay International Debit Card.
In 2021, UnionPay International entered into an agreement with NASCU as part of the its Financial Inclusion Program to introduce safe, secure, efficient and transparent electronic systems to help Cooperatives and Credit Union members access their savings, transacting and loan accounts.
The deployed products and services around the UnionPay International solutions shall be availed to all cooperative society members, including savings and village banking groups in alignment with Zambia’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2017 to 2022, – which aims to increase financial inclusion from 59 percent to 80 percent – by enabling more people and businesses to access digital payments and formal financial services.
“It is truly exciting to be part of an initiative using the best technology from strategic partners. After various discussions and evaluations, NASCU partnered with UnionPay International as their platform enhances NASCU’s strategy to include all cooperative societies in the drive to digitise cooperative activities and their respective access to cooperative focused financial services and business enabling tools and services.” says Febian Mubuyaeta, Chief Executive Officer of NASCU. “All NASCU’s line of business applications are guided by best practice recommendations from the Registrar of Cooperatives at the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise Development. This cost-effective payment platform shall change the way we as co-operators have engaged with each other, developing our communities and enabling our fellow members to empower themselves, with secured savings, affordable loans and a trusted environment to transact.”
NASCU having successfully completed testing of the card products shall commence card issuance to members, focused on developing a modernised and inclusive financial cooperative environment in Zambia. With UnionPay International card products and the additional services, cooperatives will be able to securely operate and deliver products that are competitive with any savings and lending solution on the market.
Zambia Tech Startup Wins International Award
Zambia is winning internationally again. Bosso, a construction tech startup took to Cape Town and pitched at Africa Arena and where they walked away with Saint Gobain’s top award, an award that recognizes promising startups in the construction sector in Africa.
Bosso launched in June 2022 with a mission to change the construction industry for the better. To make building a home and supplying hardware stores easier, faster and cheaper. No more price shopping as Bosso makes building material prices as low as possible.
In a few months, when we look back at the progress of Bosso, 2022 will be remembered as the year Bosso established itself as a force to be reckoned with in both the construction and tech sectors. So it’s probably no surprise that Bosso has won this year’s Saint-Gobain challenge six months after launching on the market.
Two weeks ago, Bosso CEO, Chisepo Chirwa and CFO, Salwa Shamapande were on hand to receive the award presented by Saint Gobain, a world leader in building material manufacturing, at the 6th annual AFRICARENA Summit held in Cape Town, South Africa.
Perhaps more important than the recognition the award brings is what Bosso has done and continues to do so far in mending the fragmented supply chain of construction material. Over the past six months, Bosso has quickly expanded to make affordable, reliable sourcing and transportation of construction materials available for more than 400 hardware stores in Lusaka alone. The company last month launched a new partnership with Solid Green Investments that will see the construction of 100 affordable housing units in Lusaka’s New Kasama suburb valued at over 100 million Kwacha.
Multimillion-dollar boost for small business as more African countries join MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme
FOLLOWING the success of the MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme, which secured $16 million (USD) of funding for six emerging businesses last year, the programme has been expanded to eight more countries across Africa.
Many more small businesses in Africa’s technology sector now have the chance to benefit from the 2023 programme, which provides the skills and opportunities needed to attract transformative business funding.
“We’re really excited to be expanding the MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme to more African countries. It’s part of our long-term commitment to growing and multiplying Africa’s technology potential, which is critical to our future growth,” said Mrs Leah Kooma, Managing Director MultiChoice Zambia.
The MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme, which kicked off during Global Entrepreneurship Week, is aimed at established start-ups and small enterprises in specific technology sectors – healthtech, agritech, fintech, edutech, the circular economy and the creative industries.
“There is such incredible business talent across Africa,” said Mrs Kooma. “MultiChoice Africa Accelerator is an opportunity for investors and small enterprise to collaborate to multiply the impact of this talent and scale it across Africa.”
Having started in South Africa in 2021, the MultiChoice Africa Accelerator is expanding to Ivory Coast, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Angola and Ethiopia. The initiative equips emerging entrepreneurs to secure funding and scale up their businesses, and also provides opportunities to pitch to international investors.
African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi Adesina has previously noted that, “the private sector is Africa’s growth accelerator”, and several African nations have backed small-business development as part of their economic strategy. The MultiChoice Africa Accelerator dovetails with these development objectives.
The MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme is an initiative of the MultiChoice Innovation Fund, in collaboration with Dubai-based business incubator Companies Creating Change (C3), which gives entrepreneurs access to the tools, skills and financial support to grow their business. MultiChoice has also partnered with EOH, a tech services company who will bring their expertise to the table especially in terms of tech advisory, development sprint and technical support.
The first phase of the MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme sees public and private-sector partners in each country nominating businesses or entrepreneurs for the programme. From there, 29 of the start-ups embark on an intensive virtual training course. The initiative is aimed at established businesses that are already operating and looking to scale up by attracting further investment.
The virtual training course takes place over several weeks, teaching start-up owners media skills, how best to market their businesses to investors, how to create attractive business plans, and to know what investors are looking for.
Later, the entrepreneurs will come together at a finals event, where 11 start-ups will be selected for the final pitch phase. They will attend a dedicated C3 boot camp to learn how to shape their story for international investors, and to get “pitch ready” before their big presentations.
“We believe SMEs in the technology, sustainability and creative sectors will be fundamental to the next phase of Africa’s growth,” says Mrs Kooma. “The MultiChoice Africa Accelerator is geared to finding the most promising start-ups and empowering them to play this critical role.”
Zambezi River Authority orders the shut down of Kariba South Bank power station to avert the risk of total shutdown of power generation operations at Kariba
THE Zambezi River Authority has firmly guided that the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Kariba Hydro Power Company Limited (KHPC) immediately ensure that generation activities at the South Bank Power Station are wholly suspended henceforth, until January 2023.
Authority chief executive engineer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the suspension will be in place untill a further review of the substantive hydrological outlook at Kariba is undertaken which will include consideration of the total reservoir live storage build-up which would have resulted from a shutdown of the Kariba South Bank Power Station power generation operations.
In a letter addressed to Zimbabwe Power Company managing director and copied to Zesco managing director , engineer Munodawafa said there is highly unlikely that there will be any reasonable inflow augmentation in the remaining period of the year 2022, giving little or no chance of improvement in the reservoir storage levels during the remaining period of the year 2022 and going into the first quarter of the year 2023.
“Please be advised that as of 25th November 2022, Kariba South Bank Power Station had utilised 23.89 Billion Cubic Meters (BCM) of water, accounting for 1.39 BCM (or 6.16%) above the 2022 water allocation of 22.50 BCM.
Given that the Kariba Reservoir usable storage currently stands at a paltry 2.98 BCM or 4.60% full, and that ZESCO Limited still has a positive balance of 2.44BCM (10.82%) as of 25th November 2022, ZPC/KHPC no longer has any usable water to continue undertaking power generation operations at Kariba South Bank Power Station.With the current performance of the 2022/2023 rainfall season in the Kariba Lower Catchment where the river flows are yet to improve and the associated inflows from the Upper Kariba Catchment which will only influence any potential increase in the Lake Level at Kariba during the later part of the first quarter of 2023,” he said.
Engineer Munodawafa said if the current water utilisation above allocation at Kariba South Bank Power Station continues, the remaining water for power generation at Kariba (will run out by mid-December 2022 or much earlier.
“Guided by the Water Purchase Agreement and the provisions of the ZRA Acts, as well as the agreed Reservoir Operational Framework under the Joint Technical Committee (JTC), where the Authority and the two Kariba Power Generation Utilities are obligated and have agreed to sustainably operate the reservoir, the Zambezi River Authority is left with no choice but to firmly guide that ZPC/KHPC immediately ensures that generation activities at the South Bank Power Station are wholly suspended henceforth, until January 2023 when a further review of the substantive Hydrological Outlook at Kariba will be undertaken which will include consideration of the total reservoir live storage build-up which would have resulted from a shutdown of the Kariba South Bank Power Station power generation operations,” he said.
(Mwebantu, Monday, 28th November, 2022)