SA’s Zoona raises $1m IFC funding for Zambia expansion

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South Africa-based payments service provider Zoona has raised US$1 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the MasterCard Foundation to strengthen the reach of its mobile banking services in Zambia.

Initially launched in Zambia, Zoona has become the country’s leading payments service provider. It provides financial services through its mobile money platform, and offers emerging entrepreneurs an opportunity to provide money transfers and financial services to low-income consumers through its network of over 1,500 mobile money agents.

“Zoona was founded with the purpose of helping communities thrive. We work with emerging entrepreneurs to lay the foundation for the sustainable and inclusive economic growth necessary to tackle today’s challenges and to secure the future of generations to come. This project will help Zoona expand its work to increase financial inclusion in Africa,” said Lelemba Phiri, chief marketing officer at Zoona.

IFC will provide advisory services for three years to assist Zoona to develop and roll out a new mobile wallet solution that will allow customers to store and send money, with the aim to reach 300,000 new customers.

The project is part of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion, a US$37.4 million joint initiative of IFC and the MasterCard Foundation to expand microfinance and advance digital financial services in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Mobile money solutions have been rolled out across the continent in recent years with remarkable impact on financial inclusion. Now is the time to focus on the products offered through these mobile platforms to ensure they meet the needs of low-income people and small-scale entrepreneurs and truly help improve peoples’ lives,” said Riadh Naouar, head of IFC Financial Institutions Group Advisory Services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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