Untapped Global and Asaak Partner to Finance 2,000+ Motorbikes in Uganda

Partnership expands financing options for African entrepreneurs through Smart Asset Financing™

KAMPALA, Uganda, Dec. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Untapped Global, an innovative investment company focused on emerging markets, announced today a scale up of its partnership with Asaak, a financial services provider to unbanked Ugandan entrepreneurs, to provide financing for over 2,000 motorcycles over the next 12 months.

Asaak Boda Boda Driver

The partnership will revolutionise motorcycle leasing in Uganda, by leveraging the rapid digitization happening across the continent. In the past, access to money-making assets such as motorbikes was limited to those who could afford to purchase them in full, and markets were dominated by informal lenders. Now, companies like Asaak are digitizing the lending process, making it safer and easier for entrepreneurs to lease and finance their own assets – a key to economic development on the continent.

Asaak offers financial services via a digital platform to entrepreneurs who otherwise would not have access. Asaak’s boda boda (motorbike) financing program approves drivers for loans based on financial and behavioral data, such as the number of trips completed on mobility apps, including Bolt (Taxify), Safeboda, Uber and Jumia. Most boda drivers rent motorcycles because they cannot afford to buy one in cash, nor do they have the formal credit or income history to qualify for a bank loan. This is where Smart Asset Financing™ comes in.

Untapped Global’s Smart Asset Financing investment model finances revenue-generating assets for entrepreneurs and SMEs in the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets, such as Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and Mexico. Untapped and Asaak had a successful initial pilot in November 2020 to finance 40 motorbikes, and this month, Untapped signed on to provide scale-up financing for over 2000 vehicles in the next 12 months.

The pilot and scale up prove Untapped Global’s innovative Smart Asset Financing model offers great potential for follow-on funding for growing partners. The company uses real-time IoT data for the assets it finances to track key metrics such as usage and revenue, allowing for faster due diligence. While Asaak’s fast growth and expansion have enabled an equally fast scale-up of investment from its financing partner.

“Mobility is an important driver of economic development in Africa, and digitizing financing for boda bodas is key to making transport more accessible and affordable,” says Jim Chu, Founder and CEO at Untapped. “We look forward to providing the financing to help Asaak scale their business as much as they, and their entrepreneurs, need.”

“Our goal at Asaak is to make it easier for gig economy workers across Africa to access sustainable financial services,” Dylan Terrill, Chief Business Officer of Asaak said. “The team at Untapped is aligned with that goal and our growing partnership underscores the dedication to ensure that business owners have the opportunity to reach their full economic potential.”

Untapped Global is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Wefunder to enable any investor large or small to participate in the movement to empower entrepreneurship around the world.

About Untapped Global
Based in San Francisco with teams in East Africa, West Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe, Untapped Global is reshaping profitable investing in frontier markets. On a mission to empower the next billion entrepreneurs to scale to their full potential, Untapped creates opportunity by connecting frontier market innovators to global investors through its Smart Asset Financing™ platform that provides CAPEX financing for revenue-generating assets. Press or other inquiries please reach out to Lundie@untapped-global.com.

About Asaak
Asaak  is an African fintech company that provides asset financing to entrepreneurs across Africa. In 2019, they launched a motorcycle financing product for taxi (“boda”) drivers in partnership with the country’s largest ride hailing apps: Jumia, Uber, SafeBoda, and Bolt. Asaak is backed by leading American and African VCs (Resolute Ventures, Social Capital, 500 Startups, HOF Capital, Catalyst Fund). For more information, visit www.asaak.com or contact press@asaak.com

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One per cent e-levy acceptable – Haruna Iddrisu

Accra,– The Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, says his side will readily accept a reduction of the proposed electronic transaction levy (e-levy) to one per cent from the 1.75 per cent.


“A week ago, it was no no no, we won’t accept e-levy but having listened to officials in government, including the Minister of Finance.


“I am convinced to accept a departure from my original no to accepting a one per cent e-levy,” he said.


Mr Iddrisu said this at the 10th Anniversary launch of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications in Accra on Thursday.


Pegging the e-levy at one per cent was a great contribution to fiscal consolidation and would ensure the economy did not collapse going forward, he said.


The digital economy was doing well and had facilitated a revolution in financial inclusion, hence it was unwise to overburden the telecommunication sector, Mr Iddrisu said.


“We are not against it but we want it fixed at one per cent. We fear for double taxation because we already have the communication services tax,” he said.


The Member of Parliament of Tamale Central initially disagreed with the deduction fee for business transactions not exceeding the GHc100.00 threshold a day and called for it to be pegged at Ghc 500.00.


But in a similar vein, he suggested that the money be pegged at Ghc300.00 after revising his notes.


Mr Iddrisu said Ghanaians needed to pay tax to help develop the country but not one that would further put constraints on their tight purse.


Dr Kenneth Ashigbey, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, alluded to the responsibility of paying tax for development considering the budget deficits and debts.


However, he said the way taxes were introduced to generate revenue must be looked at so it did not become inimical to government’s digitisation drive and financial inclusion.


Government’s push for entrepreneurship amongst the youth for job creation in the face of a 1.75 e-levy was a matter of concern, Dr Ashigbey said, and that the Chamber was engaging government to see the best way out.


On the issue of widening the tax net, he said merchant payment should be exempted completely from the e-levy.


“The Chamber believes that artisans including masons, dressmakers, and painters get paid after work done and do not pay tax. They need to be part of the merchant ecosystem, and to do so there must be no levy on merchant payment,” he said.


“Once their wallet is taxed, they will venture into the merchant ecosystem, it gives government visibility of revenues they make. Government then charges corporate income taxes at the end of the year if they file their expenditures.”


Source: Ghana News Agency


Women urged to acquire vocational skills as alternative source of livelihood

Wa,– Women have been advised to acquire multiple vocational skills as an alternative source of livelihood and a guarantee to sustainable income.


Madam Amina Haruna, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Amiwan Enterprise, a soap and detergent production enterprise in Wa, said relying on a single source of income was not the best and identified soap making, groundnut and shea-butter processing as some valuable skills women could acquire in addition to their existing trades.


She was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Wa on the initiatives women could take to reduce the poverty rate.


“I am a hairdresser but I have also acquired skills in soap making. So when I need money to support my hairdressing business I fall on the soap making and if I need money for the soap making too I get it from the hairdressing,” she said.


“Because of that there is always money in my hand to run my businesses and to also support my family. Women have a lot of needs and should not depend on one business.”


Madam Haruna said it was her desire to transfer her skills to other people and called on the participants to make use of the skills acquired.


She commended the Wa Municipal Assembly for contracting her to train the women in soap making under the Ghana Productive Safety Net (GPSN) programme and urged groups and organisations interested in soap, detergent and beads-making to collaborate with her company for such training services.


Source: Ghana News Agency


Investment opportunities in Ghana are bright – President

Accra,- President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has encouraged members of the black business community in the United States of America (USA) to take advantage of the numerous investment opportunities in Ghana as the country builds back strongly from the ravages of the COVID-19.


He told them that it was a great time to invest in Ghana, “for the opportunities are bright.”


The President made the call when he addressed the “Africa Flagship Programme” session of the 45th Annual Legislative Conference of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


He was the Keynote Speaker at the “Africa Flagship Programme” of the week-long Conference that will explore policy solutions having the biggest impacts on Black Americans.


The National Black Caucus of State Legislators is America’s premier organisation representing and serving the interests of African American State legislators.


Speaking on the “Intersectionality of Ghana’s post-COVID economic development strategy and that of the US,” President Akufo-Addo said despite the real difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana was doing some things right and sending out the right signals to the global investor community.


“Last year, 2020, Ghana recorded FDI of US$2.65 billion from 279 projects. For 2021 alone, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) recorded Foreign Direct Investment of US$973.38 million, 173 projects for the first three quarters of the year, with large ticket projects in the pipeline to boost FDI flows by the close of the year” he said.


Ghana was among the first countries in the world to put together a medium-term response strategy to address the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and to outline an economic recovery, revitalisation, and transformation plan to build back better and stronger, the President said.


“We have identified the relevant sectors of the economy requiring the needed investment that will help accelerate the rebound and growth of the Ghanaian economy, as was witnessed in the immediate years before the pandemic struck, which saw, between 2017 and 2020, our average annual GDP growth rate of seven per cent as one of the fastest in the world. We call the recovery package the Ghana CARES ‘Obaatampa’ Programme,” he said.


President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that the GH¢100 billion Programme, aimed at stabilising and revitalising the Ghanaian economy, had two phases, the Stabilisation Phase, which was implemented between July to December 2020; and the Revitalisation and Transformation Stage, currently under implementation and would end in 2023.


“We are focusing our energies on supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youths into agriculture, building Ghana’s light manufacturing sector, fast-tracking efforts at digitisation, developing Ghana’s housing and construction industry, establishing Ghana as a Regional Hub, and strengthening the enablers of growth of our economy,” he said.


“However, the most attractive and the greatest selling point of Ghana is and has always been her people, the Ghanaian people. The welcome that you find in Ghana, with all due respect to you at this gathering, is unique, and like none anywhere else.”


President Akufo-Addo assured the investor community that Ghana remains a safe country in West Africa.


“Our police and security agencies work hard to keep Ghana an open and happy place, where we are not embarrassed to see ourselves as each other’s keeper.”


He urged the investor community to either invest in Ghana through the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre or set up as a Free Zones enterprise, stressing that government had instituted a number of fiscal incentives for the investor depending on the nature of the activity or the location of the investment.


President Akufo-Addom, who extolled Ghana’s democratic credentials, which has seen the country conducting eight presidential elections in the 28-year period of the Fourth Republic, indicated that investors are optimistic about the Ghanaian economy.


“We have done the heavy lifting required to transition our economy into a growth economy, and are now establishing sustainability and irreversibility.”


“We are spearheading regional integration and cooperation in industrialising Africa, and currently hosting the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which comprises fifty-four (54) states, with a combined GDP of three trillion United States dollars (US$3 trillion),” he said.


Source: Ghana News Agency

Minister calls for stakeholders support to drive revenue agenda

Accra,-The Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance (MoF), Mr Charles Adu-Boahen, has urged stakeholders to support the government’s revenue drive to accelerate the country’s development.


He said the 2022 budget was drawn to speed up economic development post-COVID-19 and needed the support of stakeholders to achieve the revenue goals.


Mr Adu-Boahen, who was speaking at the 10th AGI Ghana Industry and Quality Awards, said the pandemic had destroyed livelihoods and only the commitment for sacrifices for the nation would help reverse the consequences, mitigate the impact and put the economy back on track.


“We should all support tax measures contained in the 2022 budget such as the E-levy and see it as an opportunity to share the burden and do our part for the country so that we can be proud of what we have created as a nation.


“We want to use the proceeds of this levy to support the youth; we have a young population that need jobs which are not available currently and so the funds to be collected is to address the huge problem of unemployment,” he said.


The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AGI, Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah, said the AGI’s advocacy on the much-talked-about benchmark value reduction policy was successful as it was contrary to the country’s industrial transformation agenda.


He said the lessons drawn from the pandemic should guide the country to quickly develop its local supply chains.


“There is no way we can develop our supply chains if we continue to promote policies that make imports cheaper,” he said.


Dr Yaw Adu Gyamfi, outgoing president of the association, said AGI had continuously engaged the government on several interventions to create an enabling environment to support business growth.


He said the challenges such as the high cost of electricity, the straight levy and access to credit remained major barriers to industrialisation.


“We, therefore, appreciate the government’s effort towards establishing the new development bank to tackle the issue of long-term financing for industry and agriculture,” he added.


About 32 awards were given to companies, which have excelled in the their various areas of operations during the pandemic.


The award recipients include Wilmar Africa Ltd, Olam Ghana Ltd, Nelplast Eco. Ltd, Tex Styles Ghana Ltd and Amponsah Efah Pharmaceuticals.


They were presented with certificates of honour and plaques.


The awards ceremony was held on the theme: “Repositioning Ghanaian Industries to leverage the AfCFTA.”


Source: Ghana News Agency

Contact fire-fighters during outbreaks, GNFS urges public

Sunyani,– The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has advised the public to quickly inform and engage fire-fighters whenever there is an outbreak.


Divisional Officer Grade Three (DOIII) Ruth Mensah-Tandoh, the Bono Regional Public Relations Officer of the Service, said it was the responsibility of service personnel to save lives and properties.


Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani on the side-lines of a sensitization exercise organised by the GNFS, DOIII Mensah-Tandoh anticipated the severity of the harmattan season, saying the fire-fighters were also ready to avert any fire disaster.


“What we have realised is that many people tried to quench fire outbreaks themselves, but when they notice it was beyond their control then they turn to contact the Service for assistance.


“Sometimes we reach the scenes and the fires have assumed dangerous dimensions. When this happens, it is always difficult to salvage the situation,” she said.


DOIII Mensah-Tandoh said though people needed to assist in fire-fighting, it was also appropriate for the public to contact the service immediately if there was an outbreak.


She said the misuse of LPG was also contributing to domestic fire outbreaks and cautioned users to be extra careful and avoid over-filling the cylinders.


The sensitization exercise, she explained, was in line with the anti-bush fire campaign to be launched as part of this year’s farmers day celebration.


DOIII Mensah-Tandoh said the PNDC Law 229 of 1990, which prohibited people from the indiscriminate setting of fires, was still in force and warned that offenders would be prosecuted.


“People must also replace faulty plugs because they can easily trigger fire outbreaks,” she said.


As part of the exercise, personnel of the service held fire education for traders and market women at the Nana Bosoma Central Market.


Source: Ghana News Agency


Youth urged to show interest in Ghanaian culture

The youth have been urged to take a keen interest in the rich Ghanaian culture and to serve as key agents in the promotion and maintenance of the culture and traditions in their localities.


Nana Antwi Agyei Brempong II, the Paramount chief of Atwima traditional area, who made the call, said culture played an important role in promoting sustainable social and economic development of every country.


The youth must, therefore, identify themselves with their culture and traditions by patronizing traditional and local products, preparing and eating traditional foods, to help explain their heritage.


Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi, he said it was important for the youth to actively participate in cultural development and promotion to preserve the rich Ghanaian traditions and good cultural values.


The Ghanaian culture, Nana Agyei Brempong, said involved peaceful coexistence, good moral values, respect for the elderly, hard work and determination.


He said the chieftaincy institution had over the years been of great service to Ghana by helping to shape and promote the traditions and cultural heritage of the people.


Chiefs, he said, played very important roles in the communities and were great pillars in the socio-cultural, economic development and environmental protection in the various communities.


He said the traditional roles of chiefs, which included counselling, settling of disputes, ensuring that festivals and traditional ceremonies were celebrated, codification of customary laws and portraying the rich Ghanaian culture to the outside world, were still relevant in these modern times.


Nana Agyei Brempong advised the youth to take interest in vocational and technical education and training so they could work for themselves and employ others in future.


He said through a sister relationship with the city of Murnau in Germany, the youth of Atwima were going to benefit from vocational and technical training to help equip them with employable skills and urge them to take advantage of the opportunity that would be created to develop their skills.


Source: Ghana News Agency


Chief Justice commends Akatsi South Assembly for court building

Akatsi (VR),- Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, the Chief Justice of Ghana, has congratulated the Akatsi South Municipal Assembly (ASMA) for using part of its District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) to finance the construction of a new Magistrate Court.


He said the facility would bring justice to the doorsteps of the people of Akatsi South and its neighbouring communities.


Justice Anin Yeboah made these remarks during a courtesy call on the Akatsi South Municipal Assembly.


He urged the management of the Assembly to complete the project early for the use of the Judicial Services in the area.


He commended Mr Joseph Horgle, a businessman from the area, for donating furniture to furnish the new Court.


Mr Martin Kofitsey Nyahe, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Akatsi South, expressed appreciation to the Chief Justice for the tour.


He said the Assembly would explore available means to complete the remaining works on the new Court project soon.


The Chief Justice was received by a team of Assembly staff, including Mr Banini Kwadzo Dzorgbenyui, the Municipal Coordinating Director, Mr Thomas Yao Atidefe, Presiding Member of the Assembly and Assembly Member for Torve Electoral Area.


It is required from Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA’s) to provide court structures in their various MMDA’s under the Local Government Act, Act 462.


Checks by the Ghana News Agency (GNA), during a visit to the project site, reveal that the project, which commenced in January 2011, is about 95 per cent complete.


Source: Ghana News Agency