Two things are certain in life 🧾️⚰️

Funerals are a big deal in Africa, Banned: Forex sales in Nigeria, Airtel Africa raises $200 million for Mobile Money

Hello there, 

The tides have turned in Tanzania as President Samia Suluhu Hassan was vaccinated live on TV on Wednesday.

Why does it matter? It's a sharp contrast from her predecessor, John Magufuli, who claimed Tanzania didn't need vaccines because it had already defeated the virus through prayer. Well, he died in March, possibly of coronavirus.

Funerals are a big deal in Africa

Two things are certain in life: death and taxes.

Remember the Ghanaian dancing pallbearers, the ones that became an internet sensation? Beyond the memes and jokes, they are an indication that Funerals are a big deal in Africa.

What’s happening?

In countries like Kenya and Zimbabwe, the high cost of burials are forcing people to turn to social media and crowdfunding campaigns to raise money to cover these costs.

Why is it so expensive?

If you’re thinking of gold-scroll coffins, a fancy music band, massive amounts of flower wreaths, that’s not it, that happens mostly with the wealthier class like politicians. 

For the middle class, a funeral gets expensive because of ceremony charges (how much you pay the pastor), catering and burial plot charges.

For instance, Tina Maburu, a real estate consultant from Ghana explained this to  WeeTracker. “It might seem funny. But, I remember attending a funeral in Tanzania with 1,000 plus guests. So the family had only informed 200 relatives, friends and colleagues. But each person invited took it upon themselves to bring their kids, parents and even distant aunts.” 

What’s the way out?

Cutting down the costs sounds like a plan but c’mon you can’t be cheap when honouring the dead, so people turn to insurance.

Africa’s insurance industry, which is worth $68b according to a report by McKinsey, isn’t evenly distributed. South Africa is the largest and most established insurance market, accounting for 70% of total premiums, while other markets like Morocco, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Zimbabwe make up the rest.

Here’s something interesting: In many African countries like Zimbabwe, funeral insurance forms a huge piece of life insurance, and over the years the number of subscribers to funeral insurance has increased, especially last year.

The effect: This year, insurers are seeing an increase in sales from new insurance customers. The major driver? Sudden deaths have increased the awareness of the need for both life and funeral insurance and existing customers are upgrading existing policies for higher coverage or buying additional covers. 

Read more: Funerals Are Big Pan-Africa, and Here's Why Insuring it is Big Biz Too

Banned: Forex sales in Nigeria

If we could add one more thing to the list of things that are certain in Nigeria, it’ll be the government banning something new every other month.

What’s happening?

Earlier in the week, Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN) stopped the sale of foreign exchange (FX) to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators in the country. The registration of new players has also been halted, with immediate effect.

Why is this happening?

The CBN believes that the BDC are abusing their privilege. The BDCs were set up to receive a weekly supply of FX from the CBN to be resold to retail end-users, that is, people who need $5,000 dollars or less. But they’ve been accused of illegally selling forex in higher volume, up to millions of dollars per transaction and engaging in money laundering duties.

The way forward: Banks will replace the BDCs. The regulator has instructed commercial banks to set up teller points (a spot in the bank branch) dedicated to serving the legitimate forex needs of customers.


For the everyday Nigerian, Commercial banks might have branch networks across the country that are easily accessible but they’re not exactly high on the ranking of institutions that are easiest to deal with. 

Airtel Africa raises another $200 million for Mobile

How much do you think Airtel Africa has raised this year?

  1. $200m

  2. $300m

  3. $500m

It all started three months ago. Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV) — the mobile money business of telecom, received $200 million from TPG’s Rise Fund, then Mastercard invested $100 million.

Yesterday, it announced that it has raised $200 million through a secondary purchase of shares from Airtel Africa.

Yeah, so that correct answer is $500m.

How’s Airtel Africa performing?

Pretty good based on its most recent report for Q1 2021. 

Revenue grew by 53.7%, propelled by 24.6% growth in customer base to 23.1 million. The company also generated $124 million in revenue, while its profits before tax for Q1 2021 stood at $185 million.

Big Picture: In the last six months, Airtel Africa has sold business assets to clear its debts and raised money as it repositions itself to be a major competitor in the African telecom space. Watch out, MTN.

Worth reading 📚

Quote 💭

“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

– Michael Jordan