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Visa’s ‘Everywhere Initiative’ comes to sub-Saharan Africa

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Visa’s Everywhere Initiative, an innovation program designed to encourage the development of the “next big thing” in payments, is to expand into the Sub Sahara Africa region for the first time.

Entrants will compete for a chance to win up to US$50,000 to support a development program with Visa, or through business partnership with Visa’s clients, and potentially have access to Visa APIs, executive mentors and technologists.

With just 17% of people in Africa having access to formal financial services, almost a third of funding raised by African startups in 2017 was in the Fintech sector. Venture funding for African startups jumped by 51% to R to $195 million in 2017.

“With over a hundred million dollars invested over the past ten years alone, the region’s Fintech industry is on the brink of a transformative breakthrough, and we believe the time is ripe to bring together its brightest minds and work on the next big idea in payments technology,” says Geraldine Mitchley, Senior Director for Digital Solutions for Visa Sub Sahara Africa. “With a clear goal of enabling cashless economies and financial inclusion, Visa is committed to fostering an entrepreneurial spirit and driving innovation in its payments landscape.”

Visa is inviting eligible participants in the SSA region to submit their business solutions that apply to one of the following three briefs:

·         How can startups leverage Visa Developer APIs to either:  Enable smaller merchants to accept payments in-store digitally OR Provide a safe and secure solution for online merchants to drive eCommerce and reduce cash on delivery?

·         How can startups use Visa’s APIs to leverage mass reach and social media partner platforms like Facebook to help businesses operating in fast-paced consumer centric environments improve cash flow and receive payments?

·         How can startups leverage technology to provide services that are functional for illiterate customers to provide them with secure transaction experiences that build and enhance their confidence in the banking system?

Each challenge has been structured keeping in mind the niche dynamics of the local landscape. As the region’s domestic merchants rapidly expand their digital commerce proposition, payment gateways must also evolve at a breakneck speed to offer their customers a hassle-free shopping experience.

Sub-Sahara Africa is a diverse region and home to products like MPesa in Kenya, Snapscan in South Africa and Paga in Nigeria. Payment solutions like Scan to Pay or Tap with mobile are fundamentally shifting the way people pay to provide more convenient yet ultimately secure ways to pay and be paid.

Participants can access Visa.com.za/EverywhereInitiative for details on the Visa’s Everywhere Initiative form today. Participants have until 17 May 2018 to submit their ideas, after which judges from Visa will select three finalists per brief who will be invited to present their ideas to the judging panel at Visa’s local offices in each region.

One winner per brief will be selected, and each will receive a US$25,000 cash prize. Winners of the prize will be invited to a working meeting with Visa, and may be presented with the opportunity to create a prototype. Visa will then select one overall winner to receive an additional US$25,000.

Visa says its Everywhere Initiative is part of a global implementation that is strategically important to the global payments company’s goal of fostering the growth of next generation payment technologies. Currently, it has nearly fifteen hundred participating Fintech startups across North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

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Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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