Jul 2, 2020

MFS Africa: provides SMEs with cross border digital payments

Banking
Finance
Fintech
Innovation
Georgia Wilson
3 min
Digital Payments
MFS Africa - a Leader in cross border payments - has acquired Beynoic, a digital payment management provider for SMEs, fintechs and social impact entiti...

While MFS Africa - one of Africa’s largest digital payments hubs - connects over 200mn mobile wallets in Africa via one API, Beyonic focuses on domestic payments and collections via a secure front-end business functionality. The recent acquisition made by MFS Africa - which is subject to regulatory approval by the Fair Competition Commission in Tanzania - will help to provide the growing micro, small, and medium enterprises in Africa with the ability to manage digital transactions with individuals and businesses around the world.

“Africa has a strong base of connected young entrepreneurs and businesspeople who are bringing fresh ideas to the table, in order to create prosperity for themselves and for their communities on the continent,” commented Dare Okoudjou, founder and CEO of MFS Africa. 

“With the MFS Africa Hub, we have been creating new digital pathways between mobile money users in Africa and the global economy. With the acquisition of Beyonic, we can now put this digital payment network at the service of those entrepreneurs whether they are SMEs, fintechs, or social impact organisations. By combining MFS Africa’s and Beyonic’s assets and capabilities, we can unleash the wealth of opportunity that business within Africa and with Africa presents to the wider world.”

In the second half of 2020, the extended access and functionality will become available to customers. This will allow organisations to reach additional markets directly and seamlessly via the same interface and leverage MFS Africa’s pan-African and global connections.

“MFS Africa’s mission to make borders matter less in digital payments aligns perfectly with Beyonic’s vision of helping enterprises deliver fast, affordable fintech solutions to the last mile, where they are needed the most. Together, we will give our customers access to the broadest and deepest digital payment network in Africa.” Mr. Kyohere continued, “I’m excited about the possibilities this partnership brings, especially when you factor in MFS Africa’s recent partnership with Visa, enabling them to issue Visa payment credentials across their pan-African network[1]. It’s a new dawn for SMEs in Africa,” commented Luke Kyohere, founder, Executive Chairman, and CTO of Beyonic.

The World Bank states that SMEs contribute up to 40% of national income (GDP) in emerging economies. However, they face various challenges when it comes to growth in emerging markets such as the ability to scale operations domestically, continentally, and internationally. 

MFS Africa’s new product offerings via the acquisition aims to resolve these issues by providing the ability to transfer funds securely and transparently.

“We are delighted to have advised Beyonic on its sale to MFS Africa. This deal is one of the most significant cross-border African FinTech M&A transactions in recent years. Global financial connectivity to Africa’s micro and SME sector has never been more important. The combined company will provide a seamless financial platform which opens unparalleled digital commerce opportunities across Africa and beyond,” commented Monica Shupikai Simmons, Director of Tech Investment Bank, ICON Corporate Finance, who led the transaction.

For more information on business topics in Europe, Middle East and Africa please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief EMEA.

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May 28, 2021

Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work

Automation
UiPath
technology
repetitivetasks
Kate Birch
4 min
As a new report reveals most office workers are crushed by repetitive tasks, we talk the value of automation with UiPath’s MD of Northern Europe, Gavin Mee

Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.

Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.

Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.

When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”

And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.

Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work

By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.

“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”

These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.

Repetitive tasks that can be automated

Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”

These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.

“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”

Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.

Five business areas that can be automated

Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.

  1. Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
  2. Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
  3. Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
  4. IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
  5. Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.

“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”

 

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