Google Invests in Lori Systems to Help Bring Digital Transport Management to Africa
Lori Systems (www.lorisystems.com), the e-logistics company digitizing haulage and providing shippers with solutions to efficiently manage their cargo and transporters, has announced an investment from Google.
Named by the Financial Times earlier this year as Africa’s seventh fastest-growing company, Lori Systems has helped thousands of shippers and carriers move over $10 billion of cargo across the continent since its founding in 2017.
According to Knight Frank’s Logistics Africa report, 75% of the price of a product in Africa is attributed to logistics (compared to just 6% in the U.S.). On the continent, logistics operators face a host of problems; from fragmented supply and demand markets to inconsistent pricing, paper documentation and little or no access to financing.
A pioneer in e-logistics in Africa, Lori Systems lowers the cost of goods by eliminating pain points along the cargo journey: seamlessly connecting shippers to transportation, providing shippers with solutions to efficiently manage their cargo and transporters, and digitizing their entire transport operations from sourcing transportation to documentation and payments.
This new investment is the third from Google’s $50 Million Africa Investment Fund, which CEO Sundar Pichai announced in October 2021. It comes off the back of the launch of Google’s first product development center on the continent, in Nairobi, Kenya, the city where Lori Systems first launched.
“At Google, we understand the transformative power digitisation can bring to the African continent. There is so much potential in the region, but it’s only through innovation that this can be fully unlocked. Lori Systems is a great example of how technology can be scalable across Africa, and how, in turn, this can drive meaningful economic development. We’re excited to see where the future takes a business like this.” comments Nitin Gajria, Google’s Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Jean-Claude Homawoo, Lori Systems Co-founder & CPO, comments, “In recent years the global logistics industry has seen much innovation. However global supply chains are in dire need of modernization, with technologies yet to reach critical scale.
On the continent, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to lead to an 81% increase in intra-African trade, providing a $21.9 Billion opportunity in untapped trade potential that the 54 ratifying countries are hoping to capitalize on over the next 5 years. Logistics is key to unlocking this opportunity.”
“We’re excited to have Google as a partner as we continue to build the operating system for emerging market logistics. Our vision of the future of logistics in Africa is one that is digital, scalable and more efficient.” said Lori Systems CEO Uche Ogboi.
“We have been successful, achieving up to 20% price reduction for cargo owners and nearly 2x increase in truck utilization for transporters on our platform. We are excited about this funding as it will allow us to continue driving superior efficiencies across logistics on the continent,” Ogboi added.
M-KOPA raises $250m to scale high-impact consumer fintech across Africa
M-KOPA, a leading fintech platform, today announced it successfully closed over $250m in new debt and equity funding to expand its financial services offering to underbanked consumers across Sub-Saharan Africa. This marks one of the largest combined debt and equity raises in the African tech sector, enabling M-KOPA to continue its rapid growth.
Over $200m in sustainability-linked debt financing was led and arranged by Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank and long-term strategic partner to M-KOPA. Other participating lenders include The International Finance Corporation (IFC), funds managed by Lion’s Head Global Partners, FMO: Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, British International Investment, Mirova SunFunder and Nithio. A further $55m in equity investment was backed by existing strategic investor Sumitomo Corporation, which is contributing $36.5m to the total raise and will engage closely with M-KOPA on new growth markets and products. Blue Haven Initiative, Lightrock, Broadscale Group and Latitude, the sister fund to Local Globe, also participated in the transaction.
M-KOPA’s fintech platform combines the power of digital micropayments with the Internet-of-Things (IoT) to provide customers with access to productive assets. In markets where individuals have limited pre-existing financial identities and conventional collateral, M-KOPA’s flexible credit model allows individuals to pay a small deposit and get instant access to everyday essentials, including smartphones, electric motorcycles and solar power systems, and then graduate to digital financial services such as loans and health insurance. M-KOPA’s solution embeds credit into the product through a smart digital connection, giving customers ownership instantly, which they can pay off through micro-instalments over time. The company has sold over 3 million of these products through a unique direct sales model that includes more than 10,000 agents. M-KOPA’s operations started in East Africa and successfully expanded to Nigeria in 2021 and, more recently, Ghana. From 2020 to 2022, M-KOPA recorded a compound annual growth rate of 85% in new customer acquisition, and was recently recognised as one of Africa’s Fastest-Growing Top 100 companies by the Financial Times for two consecutive years, in 2022 and 2023.
YouTube’s Alex Okosi Highlights The Need For A Comprehensive Digital Trade Strategy For Africa
YouTube’s Managing Director, Emerging Markets, EMEA, Alex Okosi, was among the key speakers at the Africa Debate 2023, which took place recently at the Guildhall in London.
Okosi’s session, titled “Building a Comprehensive Digital Trade Strategy for Africa,” highlighted the challenges facing Africa in terms of digital infrastructure despite advancements in digital trade and e-commerce. He debated the best path forward for a digital trade strategy, with a focus on the 7th protocol of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on e-commerce.
Joining Okosi on the panel were Michelle Chivunga, a Digital Trade Expert for AfCFTA and Chief Executive Officer & Founder of Global Policy House, who moderated the session, as well as Wayne Hennessy-Barrett, Chief Executive Officer, 4G Capital; Peter Njonjo, Chief Executive Officer, Twiga Foods; Toulay Oueslati, Head of Trade Finance & Commodity Trade Finance, Bank of Africa United Kingdom and Hardy Pemhiwa, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman, Cassava Technologies.
Organized by Invest Africa, a leading business and investment platform with over sixty years of experience on the continent, and in partnership with Africa Finance Corporation, the event was in its 9th year and focused on Africa’s trade profile through a comprehensive programme of talks, discussions, and networking opportunities.
“I believe that digital trade has the potential to transform Africa’s economy and improve trade relations with the rest of the world. However, to achieve this goal, we need to address the challenges of infrastructure development, regulatory frameworks, and digital skills training,” Okosi said.
The panel discussion explored the future of African trade and how the private sector can best support and prepare for a more integrated and competitive African trade environment.
“Collaboration between governments, businesses, and financial institutions is crucial in creating an enabling environment for digital trade. This includes developing regulatory frameworks, financing solutions, and digital infrastructure,” Okosi added.
Okosi is a highly experienced television, content, and tech executive with over 25 years of experience building successful businesses and brands globally. He has a track record of identifying and scaling new business opportunities, generating multi-million-dollar revenue streams, and delivering profitable growth.
Currently serving as Managing Director, Emerging Markets, YouTube EMEA, Okosi has been instrumental in driving the platform’s growth across key verticals, including music, gaming, TV/film, kids & family, news, and sports. In 2022, Okosi was named one of the UK Powerlist’s 100 most influential people of black heritage for the second year in a row.
Opportunik Global Fund Set to Break Barriers Through Its African and Diasporan-Focused Investment Fund
Opportunik, a private wealth fund giving Africans and Diasporans access to global investments, announced today that it will launch its licensed fund on the 2nd of May 2023. Administered by Accuvise Administrators Limited, a registered fund administrator based in Mauritius, Opportunik Global Fund [OGF] will present a diverse mix of asset classes enabling investors to create wealth with minimal currency or political risk.
OGF was created to address African investors’ pain points, including high barriers to global deals, insufficient yield on smaller ticket sizes, ever-changing foreign exchange rates, and high inflation and taxation. Participants can be located anywhere in the world but must invest in the most traded currencies, such as the US Dollar. As one of the first private retail funds aimed at Africans, the multi-asset growth fund will provide the following:
- Low-entry barrier with a minimum investment of $5,000 and optional monthly subscriptions in multiples of $1,000
- Access to diversified asset classes and investment strategies in multiple financial markets
- Projected return of 10-20% paid annually to investors’ bank accounts
- 5-year tenure for the principal with an annual payment of returns
- Ability to track wealth journey and measure returns and financial growth
Commenting on the fund, Kola Oyeneyin, CEO of Opportunik Global Fund, said: “We created Opportunik Global Fund to directly tackle the challenges many African investors face when looking for global investments. As an African-born fund, we recognise that the continent is full of wealth opportunities; however, there is a need to empower rising middle-class Africans with a platform to enable them to access new markets beyond the continent’s borders.
Driven by an in-house team of fund managers located across Africa (South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Zambia), OGF will work alongside Accuvise Administrators. With over $216m in Assets Under Administration, Accuvise has a proven track record of structuring and administrating investment funds.
According to the Henley & Partners’ Africa Wealth Report, a total of $2.4 trillion total investable wealth is held on the continent, with South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya and Morocco accounting for more than half of Africa’s high-net-worth individuals.
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