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Airtel Kenya reveals $6.7million loss in employee mobile money fraud

The revelation comes after two Safaricom staff in Kenya were charged with attempted fraud of more than Ksh300 million.

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Airtel head office in Nairobi, Kenya

In one of the biggest inside- job corporate thefts in recent history, Airtel Kenya lost $6.7 million through its mobile money transfer platform last year.

This has been revealed in a prospectus of the telecom’s parent firm, Airtel Africa which shows that only Ksh86 million of the amount lost was recovered through insurance.

“In 2018, incidents of cash control frauds were identified in the Airtel Money operations in Kenya, which involved circumvention of its controls by Airtel Money employees and resulted in loss of $6.7 million,” Airtel Africa says.

The company says that while it has introduced stringent controls to check fraud, risks posed by employees cannot be completely eliminated.

Some of the measures in place, the telecom says, include daily reconciliations, separation of duties, and technical restrictions on funds transfer to non-Airtel bank accounts.

It adds that administrative or technical errors could result in losses for customers for which it may be liable for fraud and problems related to inadequately securing its payment systems.

The revelation comes barely a fortnight after two Safaricom staff in Kenya were charged in court with attempted fraud of more than Ksh300 million.

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Conservation News

Kenya, Tanzania Plan to Conduct Wildlife Census

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Kenya and Tanzania are set to conduct a joint cross-border count of rhinoceros and other large mammals in the shared Mara-Serengeti ecosystem.

The census is one of the resolutions reached by a joint meeting dubbed ‘the Greater Serengeti Society Platform’

Chaired by chairperson of Tourism and Natural Resources Management Committee of the Council of Governors Samuel Tunai, it had in attendance key tourism industry players from the two countries.

The forum also deliberated on successes in conservation of the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem, as well as challenges and the interventions needed.

Attendees at the workshop facilitated by the European union included senior managers and directors from Kenya Wildlife Services, Tanzania National Parks, and Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority.

Others are Narok County, Maasai Mara game reserve warden, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, Grumeti & Friedkin and the Maasai Mara Wildlife Associations.

The meeting saw to the constitution of the committee tasked with the cross-border census. It involved Kenya Wildlife Service, Narok county government rangers, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Wildlife Division of Tanzania and Tanzania National Parks and Environmental activists.

The aerial census seeks to establish the wildlife population, trends and distribution as well as foster cross-border collaboration on wildlife monitoring and management between the two East African countries.

Tunai said data from the census will be used for planning and preparing the management for possible wildlife security and human-wildlife conflict eventualities in the ecosystem.

Researcher Grant Hopcraft said the Tanzanian government has moved about 8,000 persons out of the Speke Game Controlled Area in a bid to conserve Serengeti’s ecosystem as it faces shortfalls in rainfall.

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West Africa Business News

Nigeria’s Central Bank Retains Lending Rate at 11.5 Per Cent

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Nigeria's Central Bank governor named for second term

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday, held the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 11.5 per cent and retained the Cash Reserves Ratio at 27.5 per cent as it battles to combat rising inflation and a recession.

Speaking at the apex bank’s first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in 2021, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said all 10 members of the committee voted to stick with the current rate.

Also retained are the Liquidity Ratio which was left at 30 per cent; and the Asymmetric corridor which was left at +100 and -700 basis points around the MPR.

Emefiele also disclosed that the CBN has secured approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the Nigeria Commodity Exchange.

The CBN governor said the Bank can no longer sit back and watch unscrupulous commodity merchants hoard commodities and force the prices of commodities to be high.

The bank cut rates twice last year to try to stimulate an economy that has been hobbled by the COVID-19 pandemic and an oil price crash.

The bank is facing the challenge of stimulating growth at the same time as trying to curb double-digit inflation while also propping up the ailing naira currency, hit by lower oil receipts, Emefiele said.

Africa’s biggest economy fell into its second recession in four years in the third quarter.

Nigeria, the continent’s top oil exporter which relies on crude sales for 90% of foreign-exchange earnings, was last in recession in 2016. It emerged the following year, but growth has remained fragile since.

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Business News

Kenyan Start-up Pula Raises $6 Million in Series A Funding

The start-up specialises in digital and agricultural insurance to protect smallholder farmers in Africa from risk.

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Kenyan insurance-tech start-up, Pula, has raised $6 million in its Series A round of funding. The start-up specialises in digital and agricultural insurance to protect smallholder farmers in Africa from risk.

Pula delivers agricultural insurance and digital products to help smallholder farmers improve their farming practices, navigate climate risks, and bolster their incomes over time.

Through its Area Yield Index Insurance product, the startup leverages machine learning, crop-cut experiments and data points relating to weather patterns and farmer losses, so as to build products that cater to various risks.

Investors who took part in the round include early-stage venture capital firm, TLcom Capital and Women’s World Banking. As part of the fundraising, TLcom’s senior partner Omobola Johnson will join Pula’s board. 

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According to Pula, the fund will be used to scale up operations in its existing 13 markets across Africa which are Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique.

In 2018, Pula raised another $1 million in seed investment from Rocher Participations, Accion Venture Lab, Omidyar Network, and several angel investors.  

Furthermore, the company is looking to propel its expansion for smallholder farmers in Asia and Latin America.

Its clientele includes the World Food Programme, Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Zambian and Kenyan governments. Social enterprises like One Acre Fund, startups like Apollo Agriculture and agribusiness giants like Flour Mills and Export Trading Group are also among Pula’s clients.

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