• Friday, July 19, 2024
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LeapFrog invests $25m in AFB for financial services across Africa


LeapFrog Investments is investing $25 million in AFB Mauritius Limited to reshape provision of financial services to millions across sub-Saharan Africa.

AFB is a disruptive financial technology platform that offers life-changing financial tools to financially-excluded consumers and small businesses in sub-Saharan Africa.

AFB partners mobile operators and retailers to reach this vast, untapped market, even as it is growing rapidly, and already reaches some 1 million people in sub-Saharan Africa; this investment will accelerate the impact of the business across the region.

This is LeapFrog’s fourth investment from a $400 million fund, which has up to $200 million to allocate to pioneering financial services providers in Africa.

Partnering major mobile operators and over 400 retailers including Woolworths and Naivas, AFB has extended its reach to over a million people in sub-Saharan Africa. AFB currently has operations in four countries – Kenya, Zambia and Ghana with rapid expansion into adjacent geographies planned. AFB also offers branded store cards for the English Premier League clubs Manchester United and Chelsea.

Across sub-Saharan Africa, consumer finance from formal banking channels is almost non-existent: Insurance is massively underpenetrated, and can be as low as 1 percent of the adult population in many African markets. Savings products also remain chronically underdeveloped and only 5 percent of adult’s source loans from formal institutions.

By contrast, retail and mobile telephony are exploding, and outstripping access to traditional banking channels. Sub-Saharan mobile penetration stands tall with 70 percent of people having access to a mobile phone. 130 million subscribers alone reside in AFB’s core markets. Tapping into this channel with innovative mobile products has allowed AFB to reach 300,000 customers in two months.

AFB CEO Karl Westvig said: “We believe everyone should have access to good financial choices. We’ve developed a highly scalable business model that should reshape the provision of quality financial products such as insurance, savings and credit. LeapFrog’s investment, specialist expertise and rich African networks will help us to turbo-charge our expansion.”

Michael Joyce, who led the transaction at LeapFrog Investments, said: “AFB is connecting the dots between Africa’s demand for financial services and the promise of new technologies, in a way that simply hasn’t been done before. Their team has a deep socially committed heritage, founded on the premise of serving the underserved with ethically designed financial services.”

The investment in AFB reflects LeapFrog’s interest in innovative fintech businesses that reach the unreachable through unique distribution models. The investment follows an earlier investment in Bima, the leading mobile insurance platform reaching over 10 million emerging consumers across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Joyce said: “We are excited about the opportunities for fintech to enable financial inclusion at tremendous scale; we’re watching this space closely.”

The AFB partnership marks LeapFrog’s fourth investment from its $400 million fund, which has up to $200 million to allocate to pioneering financial services providers in Africa. In addition to capital, LeapFrog provides its partners with deep expertise in areas such as product design and multi-country rollout. The group’s portfolio of investments currently reaches 24.5 million people in 18 countries.