Quona Capital’s 2022 Impact Report reveals portfolio companies’ progress; firm provides deeper insights into Africa portfolio companies

The founders of Quona Capital Management LLC

Quona co-founders Jonathan Whittle, Monica Brand Engel, and Ganesh Rengaswamy

  • Quona’s Africa portfolio companies recorded $4.5 billion in payment transactions processed / transaction volume in 2022
  • $278 million in loans financed across 1.1 million loans across Africa
  • Portfolio has served 408K retail customers and 353K MSMEs

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, June 01, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Quona Capital, a venture capital firm investing in innovative fintech startups in emerging markets, has released its 2022 Impact Report, showcasing the measurable impact its investments have made on financial inclusion. The report highlights the progress its portfolio companies have made in helping underserved individuals and small businesses access affordable and reliable financial services, and features case studies on several companies. The complete report is available at https://tinyurl.com/bddxmnyc

Some highlights from Quona’s Africa portfolio:

  • Cowrywisean SEC-regulated personal finance management platform providing affordable core savings and investment products for Nigeria’s financially underserved, reported:
    • 775,000 registered customers on its platform
    • 93% of its customers are underserved, earning less than $10,000 per year
  • Lulaa South Africa SME banking and working capital provider, reported:
    • 25,000+ loans provided since inception
    • 10,000 SMEs financed to date
    • A repeat application rate of 84%
    • 75%+ of its customers accessed business term credit for the first time
    • 30%+ of its customers are female-owned businesses
  • Wasoko, a leading B2B e-commerce and fintech platform across 6 countries in Africa, reported:
    • 2.3 million orders delivered during 2022 across 6 countries in Africa
    • Over 50,000 registered merchants on the platform
    • 180 suppliers active on the Wasoko platform

Quona’s investments in Africa span a wide range of fintech solutions, including digital payments platforms, lending, insurance, embedded finance and other financial services that leverage technology to eliminate barriers to access. The firm’s approach to investing—which gives Quona insights across geographies from companies with common themes, such as embedded finance, logistics, and more—enable it to bring important perspectives to founders that they can’t easily obtain elsewhere.

“Our mission is to create a world in which everyone benefits from financial inclusion,” said Monica Brand Engel, co-founder and managing partner at Quona Capital, who leads the firm’s investments in Africa and the Middle East. “We are committed to investing in innovative fintech startups that tackle the world’s toughest problems and have the potential to deliver transformational impact by reaching underserved and unserved segments of society.”

Quona’s 2022 Impact Report reveals that since the firm’s inception in 2015:

  • Quona has made investments in 72 companies across India and Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
  • Together, these portfolio companies have touched more than 144.5 million customers’ lives, 79% of which were underserved.
  • These investments generated over $1.5 billion in revenue in 2022 alone, bringing significant social and economic benefits, including increased access to financial services, job creation, and improved financial health for individuals and communities.

The report underlines Quona’s ongoing commitment to investing in the fintech sector with a focus on driving greater financial inclusion and impacting positive change in developing economies. By working hand in hand with founders and entrepreneurs to scale transformative fintech businesses, Quona demonstrates its ability to help create impact at scale as well as financial returns.

“There’s never been a more important time for financial innovation in the region and the world,” added Johan Bosini, a Cape Town-based partner at Quona Capital. “We are proud to back so many entrepreneurs who are truly making a difference across the globe.”

ABOUT QUONA
Quona Capital is a venture firm focused on fintech that can expand access for underserved customers and small businesses in emerging markets including Africa and the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Quona’s global partners are experienced investors and operators in both emerging and developed markets, and back entrepreneurs whose companies have the potential to generate financial returns while promoting breakthrough innovation in financial inclusion for both consumers and SMEs. More: quona.com

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/74ff307f-b223-4ef8-adb5-d54d5a72b69c

MEDIA CONTACTS
Shannon Austin
+1 703.338.8813
[email protected]

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8849442

BERLINER TAGESZEITUNG: Queixa criminal apresentada em Berlim contra Elon Musk e o Twitter por possível fraude em detrimento dos utilizadores

BERLIN, May 31, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A BERLINER TAGESZEITUNG informa hoje que foi apresentada uma queixa-crime contra Elon Musk no Ministério Público de Berlim, número de processo: 253 UJs 1012/23, alegando que Musk cobrou os cartões de crédito dos utilizadores do Twitter, mas suspendeu as contas verificadas do Twitter sem dar qualquer motivo.

Fonte: https://www.BerlinerTageszeitung.de/wirtschaft/269895-criminal-complaint-in-berlin-germany-against-elon-musk-and-twitter-for-possible-fraud-to-the-detriment-of-twitter-users.html

“O bloqueio de contas de utilizadores está na ordem do dia no Twitter, mas o facto de depois cobrarem constantemente os cartões de crédito dos utilizadores torna o assunto explosivo e está actualmente a ocupar o Ministério Público de Berlim (República Federal da Alemanha). Em todo o caso, coloca-se a questão de saber até que ponto se pode conceder poder a um meio de comunicação como o Twitter e quando é que as autoridades de controlo devem intervir para proteger os utilizadores do Twitter.”

Aliás, esta não é a primeira vez que Elon Musk é investigado, já que o CEO da Tesla, Elon Musk, também é actualmente objecto de um processo judicial contra investidores. A ação judicial tem a ver com os tweets de Musk em agosto de 2018, anunciando prematuramente que queria tirar a empresa de carros elétricos do mercado de ações e que tinha garantido financiamento para o fazer. Mais tarde, verificou-se que não havia compromissos firmes por parte dos investidores.

“Elon Musk mentiu”, disse um advogado dos queixosos. O juiz norte-americano Edward Chen (juiz do Tribunal Distrital dos Estados Unidos para o Distrito Norte da Califórnia) já tinha considerado em 2022 que as declarações de Musk nos tweets não eram verdadeiras.

“Continuaremos a acompanhar o caso de perto e a relatar novos desenvolvimentos à medida que novas informações estiverem disponíveis. Resta saber como se desenvolverão as acusações criminais contra Elon Musk e o Twitter e quais serão as consequências.”

De um ponto de vista factual, é de notar que, de acordo com o artigo 48.º da Carta dos Direitos Fundamentais da União Europeia, a presunção de inocência aplica-se aos arguidos e acusados, o que também se deve aplicar no caso das acusações criminais contra Elon Musk por “alegada fraude em detrimento dos utilizadores do Twitter”.

META KEYS:
Elon Musk, Elon Musk Twitter, Elon Musk, acusações criminais, contas Twitter, Thierry Breton, Thierry Breton Twitter, Ministério Público de Berlim contra Elon Musk, utilizadores Twitter, BERLINER TAGESZEITUNG, contas Twitter verificadas

Foto deste comunicado disponível em https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/f3c50532-be3a-4bad-8e85-7253731d594c

BERLINER TAGESZEITUNG
Press Contact: P. Hansen
Unter den Linden 21
10117 Berlin
Germany
Mail: [email protected]
Web: http://www.DeutscheTageszeitung.de

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8849964

Berliner Tageszeitung : Plainte pénale à Berlin contre Elon Musk et Twitter pour une possible fraude au détriment des utilisateurs

BERLIN, 31 mai 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Le BERLINER TAGESZEITUNG rapporte aujourd’hui qu’une plainte pénale a été déposée auprès du parquet de Berlin contre Elon Musk, numéro de dossier : 253 UJs 1012/23, affirmant que Musk a débité les cartes de crédit d’utilisateurs de Twitter, mais a bloqué les comptes Twitter vérifiés sans donner de raisons.

Source : https://www.BerlinerTageszeitung.de/wirtschaft/269895-criminal-complaint-in-berlin-germany-against-elon-musk-and-twitter-for-possible-fraud-to-the-detriment-of-twitter-users.html

“Le blocage de comptes d’utilisateurs est monnaie courante chez Twitter, mais le fait qu’ils débitent ensuite constamment les cartes de crédit des utilisateurs rend l’affaire explosive et occupe actuellement le parquet de Berlin (République fédérale d’Allemagne). Dans tous les cas, la question se pose de savoir quel pouvoir peut être accordé à un média comme Twitter et quand les autorités de surveillance devraient intervenir pour protéger les utilisateurs de Twitter”.

Ce n’est d’ailleurs pas la première fois qu’Elon Musk fait l’objet d’une enquête, puisque le CEO de Tesla, Elon Musk, fait également actuellement l’objet d’une plainte d’investisseurs. La plainte porte sur les tweets de Musk en août 2018 annonçant prématurément qu’il voulait retirer l’entreprise de voitures électriques de la bourse et qu’il avait assuré le financement pour cela. Il s’est avéré par la suite qu’il n’y avait pas d’engagements fermes de la part des investisseurs.

“Elon Musk a menti”, a déclaré un avocat des plaignantes. Le juge américain Edward Chen (juge du United States District Court for the Northern District of California) avait déjà constaté en 2022 que les déclarations de Musk dans les tweets ne correspondaient pas à la vérité.

“Nous continuerons à suivre l’affaire de près et rendrons compte des nouveaux développements dès que de nouvelles informations seront disponibles. Il reste à voir comment les accusations pénales portées contre Elon Musk et Twitter vont évoluer et quelles conséquences pourraient en découler.”

Sur le plan factuel, il convient de noter que, conformément à l’article 48 de la Charte des droits fondamentaux de l’Union européenne, les accusés et les prévenus bénéficient de la présomption d’innocence, qui doit également s’appliquer dans le cas de la plainte pénale déposée contre Elon Musk pour “fraude présumée au détriment des utilisateurs de Twitter”.

META KEYS:
Elon Musk, Elon Musk Twitter, Elon Musk plainte pénale, comptes Twitter, Thierry Breton, Thierry Breton Twitter, Parquet de Berlin contre Elon Musk, utilisateurs de Twitter, BERLINER TAGESZEITUNG, comptes Twitter vérifiés

Une photo accompagnant ce communiqué de presse est disponible à l’adresse suivante : https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/f3c50532-be3a-4bad-8e85-7253731d594c

BERLINER TAGESZEITUNG
Press Contact: P. Hansen
Unter den Linden 21
10117 Berlin
Germany
Mail: [email protected]
Web: http://www.DeutscheTageszeitung.de

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8849964

UPDATE – Berliner Tageszeitung: Criminal complaint in Berlin, Germany, against Elon Musk and Twitter for possible fraud to the detriment of users

Berliner Tageszeitung: Criminal complaint in Berlin, Germany, against Elon Musk and Twitter for possible fraud to the detriment of users

Berliner Tageszeitung: Criminal complaint in Berlin, Germany, against Elon Musk and Twitter for possible fraud to the detriment of users

BERLIN, May 31, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — BERLINER TAGESZEITUNG reports today that a criminal complaint has been filed against Elon Musk with the Berlin public prosecutor’s office, file number: 253 UJs 1012/23, alleging that Musk charged Twitter users’ credit cards but suspended verified Twitter accounts without giving any reason.

Source: https://www.BerlinerTageszeitung.de/wirtschaft/269895-criminal-complaint-in-berlin-germany-against-elon-musk-and-twitter-for-possible-fraud-to-the-detriment-of-twitter-users.html

“Blocking user accounts is a daily occurrence at Twitter, but the fact that they then continuously charge money to users’ credit cards makes the matter explosive and is currently occupying the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office (Federal Republic of Germany). In any case, the question arises as to how much power a medium like Twitter can be granted at all and when the regulatory authorities should intervene to protect Twitter users.”

Incidentally, this is not the first time Elon Musk has been investigated, as there is also currently an investor lawsuit against Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The lawsuit is about Musk’s tweets in August 2018 with the premature announcement that he wanted to take the electric car company off the stock market and had secured the financing to do so. It later emerged that there were no firm commitments from investors.

“Elon Musk lied,” said a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

US Judge Edward Chen (Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California) had already found in the 2022 trial that Musk’s statements in the tweets had not been true.

“We will continue to monitor the case closely and report further developments as new information becomes available. It remains to be seen how the criminal charges against Elon Musk and Twitter will develop and what the consequences might be.”

From a factual point of view, it should be noted that according to Article 48 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the presumption of innocence applies to defendants and accused persons, which must also apply in the case of the criminal charges against Elon Musk for “suspected fraud to the detriment of Twitter users”.

META KEYS: Elon Musk, Elon Musk Twitter, Elon Musk Strafanzeige, Twitter accounts, Thierry Breton, Thierry Breton Twitter, Berlin public prosecutor’s office against Elon Musk, Twitter users, BERLINER TAGESZEITUNG, verified Twitter accounts

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/f3c50532-be3a-4bad-8e85-7253731d594c

Press Contact:
BERLINER TAGESZEITUNG
Press Contact: P. Hansen
Unter den Linden 21
10117 Berlin
Germany
Mail: [email protected]
Web: http://www.DeutscheTageszeitung.de

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8849934

Free State Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs hosts Environmental Career Expo at Willem Pretorius Nature Reserve, 2 Jun

As part of celebrating World Environment Day, Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) will on 2nd June 2023 host an Environmental Career Expo at Willem Pretorius Nature Reserve.

This year, the said day will be celebrated under the theme “it is time to #BeatPlasticPollution” to remind people`s actions on plastic pollution matters.

This interactive event has been organized to profile careers in the environment sector, expose learners/youth to career opportunities in the environment sector, and to call upon civil society and everyone to work towards improving the environment and influence the choice of subjects leading into pursuing career in environment.

About 250 Grade 9 learners from across the Free State will partake, as they are still yet to choose their subjects going forward. The said event is comprised of presentations from various environment specialists whereby learners will be afforded an opportunity to take a walkabout at exhibition stalls to get a better perspective and understanding with regards to the sector.

The event will unfold as follows:

Date: 2nd June 2023

Venue: Willem Pretorius Nature Reserve

Time: 09H00

Source: Government of South Africa

Deputy Minister Philly Mapulane: Limpopo Digital Summit

The Executive Mayor of Capricon District Municipality, Councilor Mamodupi Teffo

Senior officials from the Department and from all the entities of the Department

Ms Marilyn White, Founder and Director of Provisional Growth

Participants, guests,

Ladies and gentlemen

Fellow South Africans

Good morning

Introduction

Thank you for the invitation to address this gathering on this, the first day of the “Youth Month” in South Africa. This month we recall and commemorate the fearless generation of young people who in 1976 declared that enough is enough with apartheid and its education system

The 2023 Youth Month is celebrated under the theme “Accelerating youth economic emancipation for a sustainable future.” It is an appropriate theme approved by Cabinet considering the sacrifices made by the youth in the struggle for freedom in our country.

It was the youth of our country who launched a gallant struggle against the introduction of the draconian and demeaning system of Bantu Education. Demanding that learners use Afrikaans as medium of instruction was never the main reason but simply the trigger, it was in colloquial terms, the last straw that broke the camel’s back Bantu education, as a system of education meant to condemn the African child to nothing above the level of certain forms of labour, was part of the grand apartheid social engineering driven by its principal architect, the ultra racist HF Vervoerd.

It will be betrayal of the struggle if no efforts are made to ensure that the youth attain economic emancipation in our life time for a sustainable future.

Young people aged 15-34 are the most vulnerable in the South African labour market today. According to StatsSA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of 2023, the total number of unemployed youth increased by 241 000 to 4,9 million while there was an increase of 28 000 in the number of employed youth to 5,6 million during the same period. This resulted in an increase in youth unemployment rate by 1,1 percentage points to 46,5% in the first quarter of 2023. Clearly the growth of our economy cannot keep up with the demand for absorption by our youth. Our Department, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies is called upon to make an intervention.

The National Development Plan (NDP), our blueprint to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality, visualises a significant role to be played by the ICT sector. It articulates that by 2030 the ICTs, or the Digital economy as we characterise it, will underpin the development of a dynamic and connected information society and vibrant knowledge economy that is more inclusive and prosperous. We are committed to leaving no one behind on our journey to meaningful participation in the unfolding digital economy. We will achieve this goal of digital transformation by ensuring universal access to the internet and investing in digital skills development.

Growth of the digital economy

Despite the decline in other sectors of the economy, the digital economy continues to show a robust positive growth trajectory. Growing at an average rate of 15,6% globally and accounting for 45% of global GDP. It has become a new economic growth engine for developing countries, growing at an average of 22,3% in developing countries. Propelled by the the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is characterised by the growing use and adoption of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, big data, 3D printing and the Internet of Things, this positive growth trajectory is bound to continue into the distant future.

This robust positive growth trajectory clearly demonstrates that the Digital economy is our hope to tackle the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Digital skills: the cornerstone of digital transformation

While South Africa has long recognised the importance of ICTs for socio-economic development, the adoption of digital technologies was very minimal until Covid-19 struck. Since then, digital technologies had to be integrated into all areas of business and government for continued operation and delivery of services to clients. All sectors of the economy switched to online operation thus accelerating the digital transformation.

While these technologies made it easy for people to stay in contact and work remotely, it changed the nature of jobs that were performed by humans. As the dependence on new technologies became the order of the day, existing skills became obsolete and a demand for new digital skills accelerated. These changes requires humans to be equipped with relevant and necessary skills to perform new jobs.

A comprehensive digital skills gap analysis, commissioned by the Department prior to the development of the National Digital and Future Skills Strategy, identified the digital skills as a cornerstone for both digital transformation and an inclusive digital economy. It emphasised the importance of stakeholder collaboration to implement a well-coordinated drive to skill, re-skills and up skill the citizens of South Africa to ensure inclusive participation in the digital economy.

To keep up with the adoption of new technologies that continue to change the nature of jobs, everyone is now required to have a certain level of skills to interact with new technological innovations.

To succeed in the ever-changing workplace of the future, society require some skills-sets in identified areas such as: Digital Literacy; Coding; Robotics; Data analytics; Data Science; Network Engineering; Internet of Things; Cloud computing; Machine Learning; Software Development and Engineering; Competency Skills (creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, negotiation).

Even though these digital skills can greatly improve prospects for decent employment, thousands of people in the rural areas still lack basic digital literacy. Furthermore, most of the young people in these communities leave schools without even basic digital literacy. The differences in access to digital technologies and digital skills need to be addressed through various interventions. To respond to this challenge, the Department has taken steps towards empowering the nation through the development of a National Digital and Future Skills Strategy approved by Cabinet in August 2020. The Strategy provides a guide for the development of professional and societal digital skills required for the country’s advancement as a digital economy. The rollout of the 5-year Digital and Future Skills Implementation Programme has commenced, however Government cannot rollout the digital skills by itself, partnerships and collaboration by all role players is required.

We have wish to call on every interested parties to partner and invest in digital skills development in order to bridge the digital divide.

Working with our implementing agency, NEMISA, the Department has embarked on digital skills development programmes to ensure a more digitally literate society that can benefit from the technological developments.

One of the programmes I have had a pleasure to champion and launch in several districts across the country, the recent launch happened here in the Capricon Dictrict at the Capricon TVET College on the 22 April this year, is the Yarona Digital Ambassadors programme. YARONA is a digital skills massification drive that seeks to intervene in addresing unemployment and to empower and upskill the unemployed youth with basic digital skills. It offers unemployed young people an opportunity to become digital ambassadors to train their communities in digital literacy.

Through this programme we placed 124 such ambassadors in various municipalities that NEMISA partnered with. The aim is to increase the number of new recruits to 150 or more in the 2023/24 financial year.

Connecting South Africa and bridging the digital divide

Ladies and gentlemen, let me briefly update you on the work we are going in connecting South Africa and bridging the Digital divide. South Africa’s Government response to addressing the digital divide is articulated in our National Broadband Policy of 2013, which is known as “SA Connect”. Through this policy and it’s programme, for which we have secured R3 billion from the fiscus over the next two years, we are rolling out broadband infrastructure across the country to ensure that 80% of South Africans have access to the internet by 2024. This broadband policy has 3 components,

The 1st components will entail the roll-out of over 33 000 community WiFi hot spots

The second involve community connectivity, where the state will provide the backhaul through the construction of various base stations across the country and working with the ISPs/MVNO (mobile virtual nertwork operators) will provide metered broadband services from the base stations to approximately 5,8 million households

The 3rd aspect of the policy involves the mobile network operators connecting the designated public facilities. In June last year, we auctioned the much needed high-demand spectrum to allow the operators to decongest our networks and deploy 4G and 5G networks across the country.

The release and Licencing of spectrum involved social obligations where we’ve agreed with the mobile operators to connect over 18 000 public schools, 6000 health facilities, public libraries and 8000 traditional authorities sites over the next 3 years.

Empowering SMMEs:

SMMEs are the lifeblood of our economy, providing employment opportunities, driving innovation, and contributing to economic growth. However, these businesses often face numerous challenges, such as limited access to resources, market barriers, and bureaucratic hurdles. The Digitech SMME platform that we’ve launched last year serves as a catalyst to overcome these obstacles, empowering SMMEs to thrive and contribute even more significantly to our nation’s prosperity.

Data and cloud policy

Before the end of the current financial year we will release the Data and Cloud Policy. This policy seeks to reduce the gap between government and citizen as well as government and industry, by enabling access to data and cloud services

The policy further seeks to facilitate cloud adoption across government, outline governance requirements and articulate government expectations in respect of cloud service providers (CPS)

The aim of the policy is to universalise cloud adoption across all government departments to achieving total digital transformation at all levels of government.

We seek through this policy to regularise government cloud computing to drive digital transformation in government, support government’s socio-economic objectives towards building a robust digital economy while ensuring capacity enablement, compliance with data security and privacy requirements as well as cost-optimisation.

This policy will be applicable to all government departments, national and provincial, as well as State Owned companies and other State organs.

Conclusion

We are committed to the vision of an affordable, high-speed internet access for all, announced by the President in his 2023 State of the Nation Address. It is a vision we will not achieve working alone. We need a social compact with all of society to ensure that no one is left behind.

I wish you well as you will be further interrogating these issues.

I thank you!

Source: Government of South Africa