Kenyan fintech Asante announces $7.5m Series A funding for pan-African expansion

Kenya-based fintech startup Asante has announced a US$7.5 million Series A investment to help its credit offerings to a host of African countries.

Asante has developed a digital lending platform that uses alternative data and a proprietary AI loan decisioning management system to approve loans to micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The company works directly with ecosystem channel partners, including telcos, mobile-based marketplaces, airlines, retailers, payment processors, insurance companies, smartphone phone OEMs and large FMCGs, to collect conventional and non-conventional MSME data, with the prior consent of the clients, in order to reduce the cost of customer acquisition and due diligence while providing sufficient alternative data for credit underwriting.

Asante has executed over 16 strategic corporate channel partnerships, giving Asante direct access to 2m MSMEs with a monthly lending opportunity in excess of US$200 million. Incorporated in Mauritius, Asante has grown exponentially since it commenced operations in 2018, and now operates in Kenya and Uganda.

The startup has active plans to be in 12 countries by 2025, and looks set to realise part of that goal after announcing a US$7.5 million Series A round anchored by Goodwell Investments with participation by other investors including Sorenson Impact Foundation and Forsage Holdings.

The Series A investment enables Asante to scale its credit offerings to the underserved segment of MSMEs in Kenya and Uganda, and expand to Nigeria and Rwanda.

“We are delighted to welcome our new investors including Goodwell, Sorenson and Forsage in our inaugural institutional fundraise. Together, we will advance access to finance, and financial independence and wellbeing for the millions of small businesses on the continent,” said Chidi Okpala, founding chief executive officer (CEO) of Asante.

“With over 650 per cent growth in lending activities since Q1 2021 and a sustained average all-in default rate of 2.5 per cent, Asante is well-positioned to fast track scale and deepen our impact in our operating markets. Our bold post-COVID response is helping small businesses recover, reconstruct and reposition for growth while ensuring that thousands of jobs are safeguarded. We look forward to a round extension very early in the new year to support the solid growth momentum.”

Orginal Article Link: https://disrupt-africa.com/2021/10/20/kenyan-fintech-asante-announces-7-5m-series-a-funding-for-pan-african-expansion/


Caltex Starts Manufacturing Local Lubricants In Kenya:

FAL Manufacturing Limited (AML), which is owned by Tristar Group, has officially launched the local manufacturing of Caltex lubricants in East Africa a month after signing a license agreement with Chevron Brands International LLC to produce, distribute and market Caltex lubricants in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

Tristar Group CEO Eugene Mayne, who spoke during the launch, said that local manufacturing will add value to enable the firm to take the Caltex lubricants brand to a strong market position by supplying high-quality lubricants backed by competitive prices and service.

“We are confident that with more than eight years of local market knowledge, we are confident that there is a growing need for high quality lubricants in the region and we are extremely pleased with this move to be able to sell and distribute locally manufactured, cutting edge Caltex lubricants,” Mayne said.

During the initial stage, Caltex lubricants that will be blended locally are Havoline and Delo engine oils.

Douglas Rankine, the firm’s General Manager Middle East and Africa – Fuels & Lubricants. said the “Caltex Delo advanced products are designed to deliver high-level engine and transmission protection with optimized fuel economy, for improved running costs, less downtime, and helps to save money.

In 2013, Chevron signed a lubricants distribution agreement with Africa Fuels & Lubricants Limited, an affiliate of AML.

“The success of this new brand licensing model is anchored by the strong equity we have in our brands and a focus on implementing a compelling customer experience through our integrated fuels and lubricants business and strategic partnerships. We look forward to a long, and successful relationship with AML,” said Rachna Kaul, Vice President, Europe, Africa, Middle East, South Asia Sales & Global Marine.

Douglas Rankine, GM Middle East & Africa – Fuels & Lubricants. added that “as part of this new relationship with AML, Chevron is excited to grow the Caltex brand across Eastern Africa and will continue to explore future growth opportunities in new and existing markets.

Orginal Article Link: https://www.capitalfm.co.ke/business/2021/10/caltex-starts-manufacturing-local-lubricants-in-kenya/


Uganda coffee in hot demand as exports climb to 30-year high

Demand for Ugandan coffee in Italy, where espresso lovers abound, has helped increase the East African nation’s exports of the beans to the highest in at least 30 years.

In August, Uganda overtook Vietnam to become the second-largest supplier of coffee to Italy for the first time this year, behind Brazil. Total shipments jumped 21% to 6.5 million 60-kilogram bags in the year through September - Uganda’s highest in three decades - about a third of that going to Italy.

Italy and Germany, which together produced more than 60% of the European Union’s roasted coffee last year, have diversified their sources for the beans. With Brazil and Vietnam having had trouble exporting amid shipping disruptions, European buyers increased uptake from growers including Uganda and India.

"Uganda has been a surprise over the past couple of years, it’s a successful case of production, expansion and promotion," said Carlos Mera, head of agricultural commodities markets analysis at Rabobank in London. Given supply chain problems in South America and southeast Asia, roasters have been buying a little more from elsewhere and have been more flexible in blending, according to Mera.

Orginal Article Link: https://www.news24.com/fin24/economy/uganda-coffee-in-hot-demand-as-exports-climb-to-30-year-high-20211020


Uganda to Construct 25 Industrial Parks Across the Country

25 Industrial parks are set to be constructed across Uganda. This follows a partnership agreement inked between Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) over the development.

The partnership agreement was signed between UIA’s Director General Robert Mukiza and the Managing Director of National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), Lt Gen James Mugira. NEC is the commercial arm of UPDF.

The project is under UIA’s strategic plan 2020-2025 themed “Accelerating Domestic and Foreign Direct Investment for Sustainable Industrial Industrialization” which targets creation of 400,000 jobs a year through industrial parks development. This is in line with Vision 2040 and the Third National Development Plan, which hinges on industrialization.

Reduce construction costs

The development involves construction of regionally located industrial parks and four science, technology and innovation parks (STIPs). UIA already operates eight industrial and business parks in Uganda including: Namanve, Bweyogerere, Luzira, Kasese, Mbarara, Jinja, Mbale, Soroti and Karamoja.

The new industrial parks are planned for Gulu, Arua, Lira, Hoima, Buliisa, Hoima, Kabarole, Nakasongola, Luwero-Nakaseke, Kabarole, Mubende, Mityana, Masaka, Kabale, Bushenyi, Tororo, Rakai and Iganga. The science, technology and innovation parks on the other hand will be set up in Pakwach, Kyankwanzi, Kamuli and Rubirizi.

Orginal Article Link: https://constructionreviewonline.com/news/uganda/uganda-to-construct-25-industrial-parks-across-the-country/