BD Insider, Letter 125: 📈 Is Interswitch becoming a startup?

Letter 125 covers Interswitch's API integration, Flutterwave's graduate trainee program and eNaira's adoption.

BD Insider, Letter 125: 📈 Is Interswitch becoming a startup?
Muyiwa Asagba,Managing Director, Interswitch Paymate during the API integration launch

For letter 125, we will examine:

  • Interswitch's self-service developer portal
  • the impact of Flutterwave's graduate trainee program on unemployment in Nigeria
  • CBN's partnership with Africa Fintech Foundry to boost eNaira's adoption
  • the latest African Tech Startup Deals (in PNG and an interactive format)
  • job opportunities, events, and more.

Interswitch unveils self-service developer portal

The news: Last week, Interswitch launched its self-service Application Programmable Interfaces (API) platform to enable developers to create digital products and solutions for Africans.

Interswitch, the first Nigerian fintech unicorn has over 20 APIs with millions of calls across these APIs. According to reports, four of these APIs (paycode, VAS, lending service, collections) are front-lining the financial revolution in Africa—especially in Nigeria, such as cardless transactions, remittances, lending and mobile banking.

Why does it matter: "Before now, developers had to contact us whenever they needed to integrate without an API," Abdul-hafiz Ibrahim, Interswitch's Head of Engineering for Payment Services said. "You can now go on the platform to call whatever API you need without necessarily having to call anyone at Interswitch for support."

Abdul-hafiz added that the end-to-end self-service platform has a developers’ console; which will enable easy access to APIs and a developer community that allows engineers to network, share knowledge, problems, and solutions—currently, the community has over 800 members.

Interswitch also announced a referral network that rewards developers who refer merchants to use its APIs. "Developers will earn 5% on every transaction cost Interswitch makes on their referred merchants for 5 years. This, and many more to come, is how we are giving back to the developer community," Sunday Olaniyan, Interswitch's Business Development Manager for Merchant Acquisition said.

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Flutterwave hires 200 Nigerians in Graduate Trainee Program

The news: Amidst the global economic downturn that has led to the laying-off of staff by several tech companies in Africa and other parts of the world, Flutterwave through its graduate trainee program has increased its employee base by 38%—hiring 200 Nigerian graduates.

The Flutterwave Graduate Trainee Program is a paid program that aims to nurture young Nigerians by up-skilling them with technical and soft skills, exposing them to the company's solutions and products, and giving them experience working at the fintech unicorn.

Why does it matter: Nigeria's unemployment rate rose to 33% in 2021, the second highest rate, globally. More than half of the labour force is unemployed or underemployed.

"The program aims to teach our graduate trainees highly transferable skills via an on-the-job training methodology, skills that will set them up for success for the entirety of their careers. Flutterwave is what it is because of the talent, passion and innovation of a driven squad. We believe supporting the next generation of young talent to realize their potential is the most important way that we can give back to the community," Mansi Babyloni, Chief People and Culture Officer, Flutterwave said.

The campaign is Flutterwave's pilot edition, with undisclosed plans to expand to the rest of the continent. Although Flutterwave is a fintech company, the program makes provisions for trainees that might not be interested in the technical aspects of operations by creating two options in the form of its engineering and non-engineering tracks.

CBN partners with Africa Fintech Foundry to boost eNaira adoption

The news: The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has partnered with the Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF) to support 10 startups as a strategy to increase the adoption of eNaira in Nigeria.

Last Saturday during the semi-final pitching of the eNaira Hackathon 2022, the Head of AFF, Daniel Awe said the top 10 startups, innovators, and entrepreneurs were part of the over 5,000 startups that registered for the eNaira hackathon.

Why does it matter: "eNaira was introduced by CBN in 2021 as a digital currency, and a lot of people have asked the question, what is actually the usefulness of this eNaira? A lot of people have also criticised eNaira, that they prefer cryptocurrency. Still, the truth is that eNaira is going to be a successful product when there are use cases when people are able to see problems it is going to be solving," Awe said.

According to him, the hackathon is a platform where innovators, developers, and entrepreneurs come together, to solve problems, and create innovative ideas. "When we layer that on eNaira, it means we brought in different players within the ecosystem – developers, coders, innovators, entrepreneurs, to come up with different ideas and use cases that they can leverage eNaira," he added.

Zoom out: Although the eNaira is ranked number one on PwC's global index of retail CBDCs. And in fact, the CBN is guiding other African Central Banks like the Bank of Uganda on how to implement their own CBDC, eNaira has had a low adoption rate since its launch in October 2021. In fact, only two out of 86 respondents voted to have used the eNaira, in a Twitter poll that we conducted in May 2022.

The CBN has been exploring different options to enable mass-market adoption of eNaira in the country. In June 2022, the CBN introduced the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code as part of its strategies to ensure its adoption.

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