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August 20, 2019

Mobile phones are replacing bank accounts in Africa

It doesn’t look like the hub of an online bank. But that’s what the yellow and blue metal kiosk becomes when Albert Agane locks himself behind the metal bars every day at 6am.

From his perch along a dusty suburban thoroughfare in Accra, the 28-year-old helps fellow Ghanaians withdraw or deposit cash for accounts they operate from their mobile phones. All they need do is text.

Mobile money is the fastest-growing source of income for wireless-network operators like MTN and Vodafone’s Safaricom unit, outpacing data since many Africans don’t have the latest smartphones. They need agents like Agane because ATMs and bank branches are out of reach, or too costly.

“In a [...]

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June 3, 2019

Safaricom, Vodacom plan $13 million M-Pesa deal

Kenya’s Safaricom will start a joint venture worth $13 million with South Africa’s Vodacom to acquire the intellectual property rights of M-Pesa from Britain’s Vodafone, Safaricom’s CEO said on Thursday.

The two mobile phone operators will acquire the intellectual property rights to the financial services platform M-Pesa, from Britain’s Vodafone.

Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore said the deal would be used to expand M-Pesa services to more African markets, and to develop new products.

“It is about us (Safaricom) determining the future and the roadmap of M-Pesa. Because at the moment the roadmap is determined by Vodafone, and given that the bulk of the [...]

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March 13, 2018

Bringing 4G to the moon

Nokia, Vodafone and other partners look to deploy 4G to support data transmissions from lunar rovers.

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. Now come over here, Buzz. I want to get a selfie of this up on Insta; my ex-girlfriend’ll freak.” That’s not something astronaut Neil Armstrong ever said, but, if Nokia, Vodafone and partners work to realize the goal of establishing a 4G network on the moon, perhaps future generations of astronauts will be able to live tweet their lunar experiences.

The plan here is set up a 4G network on the moon that will use Nokia equipment to connect Audi lunar rovers with the network needed to transmit scientific data and [...]

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February 15, 2018

Rand firmer on trade surplus, weaker dollar

The Rand firmed against the dollar yesterday, supported by a weaker greenback and data showing the country’s trade surplus widened last year.

At 5pm, the rand bid at R11.8495 to the dollar, 11.34c stronger than at the same time on Tuesday, about 0.85percent firmer than its close on Tuesday.

South Africa’s trade surplus in December widened to R15.72billion from a R13.05bn surplus in November, the revenue agency said.

On a cumulative basis the trade balance between January and December was at a R80.55bn surplus compared to a R1.05bn surplus over the same period in 2016.

“One of the catalysts is the slight dollar weakness that has come into the market that [...]

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