Facts & Figures

By Raymond Biesinger (illustration)

Glorious unicorn


African startups had a bumper year in 2017. According to the Partech Ventures Report, venture capital invested in Africa reached a record high of 560 million dollars last year—an increase of 53 percent on the previous year. The majority of the venture capital plowed into African startups was concentrated in South Africa (167.7 million dollars), Kenya (147 million) and Nigeria (144.6 million). In 2016, the continent already celebrated its first African unicorn, as startups that are valued at over one billion U.S. dollars are known. The success story is the e-commerce platform Jumia (formerly African Internet Group). (Sources: Partech Ventures, Technology Review) 

million accounts worldwide are linked to a mobile payment service, according to the latest figures released by GSMA, which represents the interests of cell phone carriers.

Talking M-Pesa:

Pay with M-Pesa. — Lipa na M-Pesa.

How much does it cost? — Pesa ngapi? Literally: How much money?

What is the price? — Bei gani? 

That’s too expensive. — Pesa mingi. Literally: That’s a lot of money.

 It’s curtains for cash


In Sweden, small businesses such as hair salons, gas stations and restaurants are no longer obliged to accept cash. Signs on the doors of many Swedish businesses clearly state: Cash not accepted. Even ice-cream vendors in parks take payment via a smartphone app.