Nigerian fintech Xerde rolls out new social funding app
The new service provides social funding solutions that will drive innovation and encourage digital transformation by offering a range of accessible solutions to organisations in Africa.
The app was developed following demands for funding of social welfare initiatives in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic that hindered many small and large businesses and charities from operating and resulted in millions losing their livelihoods.
According to reports, NGOs and charity groups have been struggling to gather contributions to buy facemasks and sanitiser for the needy or cover feeding programmes for communities. They needed a transparent medium that can be tracked and monitored.
Each member who signs up to Tudo can see who has contributed what funds, just as they share messages, photos, and videos within an interactive user interface.
Fintech growth in Africa
Fintech is a swiftly emerging market in Africa. In early 2020, figures showed that VC funding for African fintech startups had risen significantly.
- Venture capital up 51% with funding being generated for virtual banking projects, consumer credit checks and finance apps.
- Fintechs raised almost $350 million during the first quarter of 2020.
- South Africa led the way with $112m in investments, followed by Nigeria, which raised $74m, Kenya at $62m and Egypt at $51m
- In South Africa, 94% of individuals have regular access to the internet.
- 67% of South Africans have a bank account and mobile phone penetration is over 100 for every 100 people.
Meanwhile, Branch, a Nigerian mobile lending app, raised $260m in funding and has facilitated $350m in loans to date. A recent report by McKinsey also highlighted that fintech investments in Nigeria have grown by 197% over the past three years, with the majority of investment coming from outside the country.
Innovation is also being tried and tested in Angola after the country launched its first regulatory sandbox. The project is being driven by a collaborative innovation consultancy Beta-i, to help the Banco Nacional de Angola to create an experimental regulatory environment for fintech.
Xerde technology is a startup that launched 12 months ago. The rollout of the new application coincides with the firm’s first anniversary.
Khadijat Abdulkadir, founder of Xerde, explained, “Tudo is a Social Fintech which enables financial collaboration by providing users with an alternative way to achieve social financial goals by creating and then sharing them with contacts to achieve them faster with the contribution of each individuals’ extended network.”
Abdulkadir, who has worked with world-leading organisations in the industry such as Microsoft and Accenture USA and Apside France, further added that the app provides an option for anonymity while also ensuring users’ protection via a high-level encryption. Explaining how it works, she said that users of the app can set up a group, have in-app chats and group discussions or set individual targets.
She said that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a demand for technological solutions, with companies fighting to mitigate the losses incurred by the virus. Xerde had used its technology to assist businesses in their strategies as they navigated their way through the past 12 months, she revealed.
“With a beautiful user-friendly interface and robust offerings such as in-app messaging, goal likes, goal sharing, contribution tracking, group management, videos and images to tell your story, and even a referral program to help users earn money; Tudo is quite possibly the facebook for finance,” she added.
AI and the future of global trade
Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming entrenched in our daily lives, but the technology is still surrounded by misconceptions and skepticism. Ask the public and they may jump to dystopian scenarios where robots have taken over the world.
While this makes for a good sci-fi blockbuster plot, the reality is different and more benign. Those products that Amazon suggested you buy? AI. That TV series you were recommended to watch on Netflix? AI. That self-driving Tesla car you crave to take for a spin? You guessed it: AI.
There is no single industry that is not being re-shaped by technology. Until recently, however, there was one noteworthy exception: global trade. Fortunately, that is slowly changing.
The mechanism that underpins global trade – trade finance – is an industry that remains largely paper-based and reliant on manual processes. This US$18tn a year industry is now being influenced by a new wave of technological innovation, including AI.
Exploring the potential of AI in Trade Finance
AI refers to the use of computer-aided systems to help people make decisions or make decisions for them. It relies on large volumes of data and models to make sense of information and draw intelligence.
In trade finance, AI is helpful in analysing quantitative data, and the repetitive nature of trade finance means that there is a lot of non-traditional data at our disposal.
This means that when trade finance providers need to assess the risks of funding a transaction, AI models can be a very efficient tool for data analysis and reveal intelligence and risks relating to small companies.
AI helps the industry move beyond traditional credit scoring processes, which are often outdated and remain reliant on historical accounting entries – a barrier that prevents small companies from accessing trade finance and has resulted in a $1.5tn global shortfall.
Overcoming the barriers
AI can tackle this shortfall by creating accurate credit scoring models. This can include a company’s payment history, measure the risks of funding a transaction, identify supply chain risks, and benchmark them against their peer group.
Trade finance providers can use this information to communicate effectively with their SME clients, ultimately helping establish better business relationships.
Towards a technological utopia?
The adoption of AI has the potential to do a lot of good in the industry, and the industry is in the early stages of radical transformation.
Advances are driven by fintechs as well as a willingness to change. The industry is working together to create new infrastructure for distributing trade finance assets to other investors in a transparent, standardised format.
The creation of infrastructure is possible due to improvements in technology and integrated across the trade ecosystem in cooperation with banks, insurers, and other industry participants.
It’s collaboration at its best: together, the industry is using technology to re-shape global trade as we know it.