Africa’s big money moves

About Fatu
By Fatu Ogwuche

Top of mind: not so Happy Sunday!

I’m still reeling from Usman Kamaru, Anthony Joshua and Michael Venom Page’s loss last night. 3 for 3. Painful.

Usyk was a superior fighter, and AJ did his absolute best, but did you see that death kick from Edwards just when we thought Usman had won? It will live with me for years!

It’s a tough Sunday. Send flowers.

But, let’s get to 3 big things:

  • Africa rules mobile money
  • SA drivers unite
  • Apple’s VPN debacle

Africa’s big money moves

The short: Africa dominates the global money market by 70%.

By the numbers: Mobile transaction volumes in Africa have grown dramatically due to the widespread usage of smartphones across the continent. The World Bank and African Development Bank (AFDB) estimate that over 650 million of 1.3 billion people in Africa use mobile phones.

Africa recorded around 4.8 billion transactions totalling about $130 billion. In 2019, the total number of registered accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa rose by 50 million, surpassing 469 million.

In 2021, the total value of mobile money transactions climbed by 39% to $701.4 billion. The significant increase leads to Africa controlling 70% of the global mobile money industry, which is now worth more than $1 trillion.

The big 4: Africa’s top four mobile money systems, MTN MoMo, M-Pesa, Orange Money and Airtel Money, pulled in about $50 billion monthly.

MTN has over 57 million mobile money users in Africa as of March 2022 – surpassing Safaricom’s M-Pesa’s 52 million users, making MoMo – powered via a Flutterwave integration, the largest mobile money service on the continent.

Final thoughts: The market is booming, and Africans are swiftly adopting mobile money. Forecasts say the adoption will increase with 50% penetration by 2025. Africa loves fintech, and it’s impressive to see what our companies are achieving.

South Africa’s Uber and Bolt drivers strike

The short: South Africa’s ride-hailing drivers had a double date with a two-day strike.

Story so far: The drivers of rival ride-hailing companies joined forces in a rare show of unity against the head honchos at Bolt and Uber to protest record-high fuel costs, and low commission fees, demanding that the government create laws to support them with higher pay rates, quicker approval process for the industry, and an end to the backlog in car impoundment. 

The companies respond:

Uber says: 

We recognise the pressures drivers are under, including the increasing cost of living. However, it’s important to understand that fares fluctuate as a normal part of any business based on various factors such as seasonality and the macroeconomic environment.

Bolt says:

Bolt respects every driver’s right to protest, and we appeal to drivers to do so legally, peacefully, and without impacting the rights of other drivers who choose to continue to operate and earn an income. Still, more people will choose to ride with Bolt if its rates are affordable, which means that drivers have more opportunities to earn money.

Final thoughts: This is not the first time Uber and Bolt have faced hurdles in Africa. In Tanzania, Uber exited the country and limited its service to only corporate customers following a mandate by the Land Transport Regulatory Authority that ride-hailing businesses operate at a 15% rate earlier this year. 

Bolt and Uber have a 14-day deadline to execute the strikers’ demands. I doubt they can fulfil all their expectations, but here’s hoping the companies do right by their employees.

Ummm your VPN is useless on iOS

The short: We’ve got disappointing news for VPN users on iOS. 

What’s the point?: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are supposed to provide a private tunnel for your data and conversations to connect between your device and the internet. 

That’s what we thought.

However, Michael Horowitz, a self-described independent computer expert burst that bubble in a blog post titled “VPNs on iOS are a scam”. He alleged that a long-standing bug in iOS stops VPNs from completely encrypting all traffic – and Apple has been aware of it since 2020. Yikes.

At first, they appear to work fine… But, over time, a detailed inspection of data leaving the iOS device shows that the VPN tunnel leaks. – Horowitz.

Apple’s bugs: Top VPN service provider – ProtonVPN discovered this bug two years ago and alerted Apple to prevent unencrypted data leakage by terminating internet connections and re-establish them through the VPN when a VPN is enabled.

However, in iOS 13.3.1 and later versions, devices connected to a VPN still could not cancel and reopen connections. Consequently, a user might unwittingly keep some of the risky connections they were using before activating the VPN. 

Final thoughts: This isn’t looking good for Apple. iOS users are not receiving the protection they deserve when using VPNs. Proton, Horowitz, and Apple know, now so do you. So it’s time to rethink what you do when you turn on that VPN. 

And on Apple’s side, they need to fix this fast!


That’s it for the week. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this week’s issue. Please respond to this email or find me on Twitter @fatuogwuche 🙂 

Ps – do us a solid by sharing the newsletter with your network of tech enthusiasts. Invite them to join the party 🙂

See you next Sunday! 🎉

Share this Newsletter:

Never miss the best news

Sign up for free