Flutterwave Enables New Europe-Africa Payment Corridors via Stellar

Stellar ecosystem expands with more efficient cross-border payment and remittance flows from Europe to Africa

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) announced that Flutterwave, a global payments technology company, has launched two new remittance corridors between Europe and Africa on the Stellar network. Working with TEMPO, Flutterwave is leveraging the Stellar network and Stellar USDC to simplify remittances in Africa.

Flutterwave x Stellar

Opening these new corridors will greatly benefit businesses focused on building more efficient, cost-effective remittance services, contributing to a stronger, more inclusive Pan-African digital payments infrastructure. Flutterwave plans to extend Stellar-based capabilities to additional African countries as it continues to grow the number of currencies it supports.

“It is more expensive to send money to sub-Saharan Africa than to any other region in the world,” said Olugbenga Agboola, CEO at Flutterwave. “Our new payment corridors on Stellar will allow us to continue expanding the Flutterwave network to bring all-important, cost-effective money transfer services to African business owners.”

Connecting Stellar-based businesses like Flutterwave and TEMPO — which also has a significant, complementary user base in Africa — creates an efficient and affordable Pan-African payments infrastructure, supporting the Stellar Development Foundation’s mission to create equitable access to the global financial system. With these payment rails in place, Stellar continues to establish itself as a mature, viable digital alternative to traditionally lengthy and expensive methods for sending remittances.

Stellar Development Foundation Logo

According to TEMPO CEO, Suren Ayriyan, “We’re excited to partner with Flutterwave to extend our service ecosystem into Africa using Stellar rails. Customers across Europe will be able to send funds faster and at a lower cost to support their families and conduct business in Africa, landing funds right into their local bank account. We hope to continue working with Stellar anchors to exponentially increase our currency corridors and offerings, providing cheap, secure and fast global money transfers to all TEMPO customers, both existing and new.”

“This partnership marks a further step in our efforts to harness the power of technology to make financial services more inclusive and affordable for underbanked individuals worldwide,” said Denelle Dixon, CEO and Executive Director of the Stellar Development Foundation. “Flutterwave is doing important work in a region that has been historically underserved, and SDF is committed to helping them create a tangible impact on financial access and inclusion across the African continent and beyond.”

About Flutterwave
Flutterwave is a global payments technology company that helps businesses all over the world expand their operations in Africa and other emerging markets through a platform that enables cross-border transactions via one API. Flutterwave has processed over 140M transactions worth over USD $9B to date and serves more than 290,000 businesses including customers like Uber, Flywire, Booking.com, and Facebook. The Company’s key advantage is international payment processing in 150 currencies and multiple payment modes, including local and international cards, mobile wallets, bank transfers, and Barter by Flutterwave. Flutterwave has an infrastructure reach in over 33 African countries, including Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa. For more information on Flutterwave’s journey, please visit www.flutterwave.com.

About Stellar
Stellar is a decentralized, fast, scalable, and uniquely sustainable network for financial products and services. It is both a cross-currency transaction system and a platform for digital asset issuance, designed to connect the world’s financial infrastructure. Financial institutions worldwide issue assets and settle payments on the Stellar network, which has grown to over 5 million accounts.

About the Stellar Development Foundation
The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) is a non-profit organization that supports the development and growth of Stellar, an open-source network that connects the world’s financial infrastructure. Founded in 2014, the Foundation helps maintain Stellar’s codebase, supports the technical and business communities building on the network, and serves as a voice to regulators and institutions. The Foundation seeks to create equitable access to the global financial system, using the Stellar network to unlock the world’s economic potential through blockchain technology.

About TEMPO Payments
TEMPO Payments is a payment institution and the principal EU anchor for Stellar blockchain payments. As a cross-border transactions and settlements operator, TEMPO provides payment services for businesses worldwide and stands for the complete transparency of all operations, the immutability of records, high transaction speeds and highly competitive commission rates. The company’s mission is to build a unique payment ecosystem, allowing entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level of growth, by adopting disruptive fintech solutions and helping individuals to fully benefit from the next-gen financial services. For more information, visit https://payments.tempo.eu.com/whitelabel.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1668284/Flutterwave_X_Stellar.jpg
Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1096150/Stellar_Development_Foundation.jpg

Unique Network Raises $11.3 Million For Next-Generation NFT Infrastructure

The first NFT chain for Polkadot and Kusama offers greater flexibility for anyone who wants to build their own gallery or video game

LONDON, Oct. 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Unique Network, a next generation NFT chain for Polkadot and Kusama, announced today that it has raised $11.3 million in the second round of its pre-sale, bringing its total raised to $16M. The investment round was led by Web3 investment pioneers Outlier Ventures, who were joined by some of the most well-known NFT investors, including The LAO, Flamingo, Nalu Capital and over 200 other investors, including a number of follow-on investments from the previous round his funding round, especially with the quality and quantity of investors involved, has positioned Unique Network well for the upcoming launch of Quartz, its NFT chain for Kusama.

“Unique Network are trailblazing a new path for NFTs within Polkadot and Kusama’s ecosystem and we are incredibly excited to back them in their pursuit to increase the design space of NFTs.” – Chris Cable, FlamingoDAO

“Despite all the current buzz around NFTs, there is still a massive barrier to entry,” said Unique Network co-founder and CEO Alexander Mitrovich. “Gas fees, the need to purchase cryptocurrencies, storage, and even the fact that NFTs have limited features for artists to express their vision, all hold the industry back. Unique Network and our Kusama chain, Quartz, are built to solve the economic and storage problems with Ethereum-based NFTs and create new levels of interaction and malleability that will take NFTs to the next level.”

Unique Network will participate in the upcoming parachain auctions for Kusama, during which they aim to secure a parachain slot for Quartz, their new canary network for Kusama. Beginning on Wednesday October 27th, interested parties can participate in the crowdloan to help Quartz win the auction.

Quartz will be the first NFT infrastructure on Kusama, and is designed to enable the most powerful and advanced NFT functionality on the Kusama network. Quartz parachain on Kusama will allow anyone to build NFT marketplaces and experiences with interoperability between different blockchains, like Ethereum and EVM Based Chains and other notable NFT blockchains.

In the five months since its first investment round, Unique Network has announced various partnerships including with the UN-led DigitalArt4Climate Campaign with GloCha, RMRK, Art Curators Grid, Forever Has Fallen, and more. With the impending launch of Quartz, Unique Network will be able to help even more projects and artists develop their NFT marketplaces and experiences.

For more information, please visit Unique Network, and join us on Twitter and Telegram.

About Unique Network

Unique Network is a framework for the next generation of NFTs. The first NFT chain for Kusama and Polkadot, it offers developers independence from network-wide transaction fees and upgrades. The Unique Network team built Substrapunks, the first NFTs on Polkadot, won Hackusama in 2020, and created Substrate’s pallet for NFTs. Unique Network launched in July 2021.

For media inquiry, please contact: jo@serotonin.co

IGAD-Sustainable Development Through Blue Economy

October 24, 2021 (ARTA, Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has started the validation process for the national Blue Economy baseline reports of the IGAD Member States with its first workshop in this regard in Arta town of Djibouti.

Representatives from various ministries of the Republic of Djibouti are attending this two-day workshop: delegates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Water, Fisheries, the Ministry of Trade and Tourism, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Equipment, Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority, the Djibouti Coast Guards, the Ministry of Energy in charge of natural resources, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, and the Djibouti Regional Maritime Training Centre.

In his opening remarks, Daher Elmi, Programme Manager for Natural Resource and Renewable Energy (IGAD) said that the Blue Economy baseline report being discussed in Arta will serve as an input to prepare the national Blue Economy strategy for Djibouti. He added that the delegates from each sector will update the report in the coming two days. IGAD will support the development of the national Blue Economy strategy.

Mr Elmi Bouh Goudodeh, President of the Regional Council of Arta welcomed all the participants and thanked the organisers for choosing Arta. He wished fruitful deliberations during the meeting.

The workshop will capture contributions from the different sectors of Blue Economy for the national economic development of the Republic of Djibouti. The report will be updated through extensive group discussions and thorough review of the document. The updated baseline report will be available soon and will serve as an input to develop the National Blue Economy Strategy for Djibouti.

The expected outcomes of the workshop are:

  • Missing data/information filled in;
  • National report validated and approved by all sector organisations;
  • Input to regional report; and
  • Basic document for the validation of the regional BE strategy

Similar workshop will be held in the other IGAD member states: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. The National Focal Points for Blue Economy will be engaged to assist in the facilitation of the workshop and the submission of the final reports.

The national Blue Economy baseline reports of the IGAD Member States were developed with financial from the European Union. The national level validation workshops are supported by the Project “Enhancing Blue Economy in the IGAD Coastal Member States for Biodiversity Conservations and Livelihood diversification” funded by the Government of Sweden.


The project “Enhancing Blue Economy in the IGAD Coastal Member States for Biodiversity Conservations and Livelihood diversification” funded by the Government of Sweden is premised to contribute to the following outcome “the capacity of IGAD and its Member States strengthened by structuring and mainstreaming the BE at both national and regional levels while increasing cooperation and regional integration, and strengthening support to the member states to develop their own national BE strategies. It will also contribute to the effective implementation of the Africa Blue Economy Strategy”. It is a three years (2021 – 2023) project to start the implementation of the IGAD Blue Economy strategy in selected priority intervention areas mainly at four coastal countries (Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan) of IGAD. The project objectives are:

  • To establish a functional Blue Economy structure at IGAD to cater for the regional and national needs (selected member states of IGAD),
  • To assess the impact of pollution and develop mitigation measures on aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems, and
  • To increase research and knowledge management/dissemination on key BE indicators (questions for the IGAD region for learning), policy and practice change among the Member States.

In a nutshell, this project intends to achieve the following three broad results:

  • Blue Economy approach in IGAD region harmonized and coordinated to harness the contribution of the different sectors,
  • The health of marine aquatic ecosystems is improved and systems for managing, controlling and reducing aquatic pollution and waste are strengthened in IGAD coastal countries, and
  • Blue Economy enhancing technologies and innovations promoted, documented and disseminated.

IGAD through this project with funding from the Swedish Embassy in Ethiopia, seeks to improve the governance of the Blue Economy in the IGAD region, conduct marine biodiversity situation analyses, make inventory of chemical and plastic pollutants from source to sea, develop apply tools to monitor and mitigate chemical and plastic pollutions in the coastal member states. IGAD plays the central coordination role in the implementation of this project led by the Director of Agriculture and Environment and day to day operation by the Environment Protection and Blue Economy Program Manager.


Source: Intergovernmental Authority of Development

Chinese COVID-19 Vaccines Boost Ethiopia’s Inoculation Drive

The latest batch of Chinese-donated Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines, totaling 800,000 doses, arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, yesterday, giving a boost to the nation’s vaccination efforts.

China has so far donated in excess of 1.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Ethiopia, which the Ethiopian government said, has played an important role in combating the virus.

The handover ceremony for the vaccines was attended by senior Ethiopian government officials and members of the Chinese diplomatic community in the Ethiopian capital.

Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, Lia Tadesse, said, the Chinese vaccines proved effective as data shows that, vaccinated people are less vulnerable to COVID-19 than the unvaccinated ones.

“For our country, specific effectiveness data is still to be done, but we have seen that, those people who are dying in health facilities are those who are not vaccinated,” Tadesse said.

“This gives us enough evidence we need, to take vaccines that are made available. We would like to assure that these are the vaccines that can prevent the disease, but also primarily prevent severe disease and death if even infected,” the Ethiopian health minister said.

Zhao Zhiyuan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, said that, the Chinese government-donated vaccines are playing a crucial role in Ethiopia’s efforts in combating COVID-19, restoring the economy from the impact of the pandemic, and protecting people’s health.

“China will do its best to continue with vaccine assistance to Ethiopia, and promote bilateral exchanges and cooperation in public health sector,” Zhao said after handing over ceremony.

Ethiopia has so far administered a total of 4,286,768 doses to 3,211,211 people, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health.

According to the ministry, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country reached 362,088, as the death toll from the pandemic reached 6,347, as of Saturday evening.

Chinese-donated vaccines, as one of the most administered COVID-19 vaccines in the country, are also gaining growing interest among Ethiopians.

Nurse Maereg Bezabih, who is engaged in administering COVID-19 vaccines in a local health centre, said, some people, specifically prefer the Chinese vaccines for various reasons.

As part of its commitment to make its vaccines a global public good, China is presently playing a crucial role, in terms of vaccine accessibility and affordability, in developing countries, including Ethiopia.

China will strive to provide two billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world, throughout this year, and offer 100 million U.S. dollars to COVAX that will mainly go to the distribution of vaccines to developing countries.



Sudan’s Apparent Coup Shakes Up Tenuous National and Regional Stability


Monday’s apparent military coup in Sudan crippled the nation’s leadership and could have sweeping regional implications, including inflaming already bitter disputes among Sudan’s neighbors, analysts say.

“I would say key in today’s considerations really are questions of the ongoing conflict between Egypt and Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,” said Jonas Horner, a senior analyst and Sudan expert at the International Crisis Group.

The longstanding dispute over Ethiopia’s hydroelectric dam stems from Ethiopia’s insistence on building and filling the dam to help alleviate poverty in the country, and Egypt and Sudan’s opposition to it, Horner said.

Egypt favors military rule in Sudan, while Ethiopia will likely back a civilian transition in hopes that the potential for improved relations will move the needle on the dam, Horner told VOA.

“Egypt is very keen to see a military dispensation in Sudan because they believe that they will take care of their interests best when it comes to representing Egyptian concerns over the dam,” Horner said.

The coup in Sudan could also affect Ethiopia’s ongoing crisis in the Tigray region, which is spreading and has seen a recent escalation. The Ethiopian government may have cause to worry if the Sudan military remains in power, Horner said.

“The concern is that the military, if it is indeed in the ascendancy and there is no mediation from civilians, that they will more robustly perhaps support the Tigrayans as they fight against the central government in Addis Ababa,” he said.

The United Nations and the African Union condemned the military takeover. The Norwegian Refugee Council issued a statement Monday appealing to Sudan’s rulers to protect civilians and keep commitments to allow humanitarian aid to reach millions of people affected by war.

Monday’s military takeover was triggered by a fear that the military was losing control over Sudan’s Sovereign Council as the deadline for transfer to civilian rule was approaching, analysts said.

Khartoum was in political and social chaos after Sudan’s military chief, Lieutenant General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, declared a state of emergency and dissolved the joint civilian-military council that has run the country for the past two years.

Protesters took to the streets, derisively chanting Burhan’s name and singing Sudan’s national anthem.

Medical sources say dozens of people have been injured in the protests, and at least seven people died in clashes with security forces in Khartoum amid an internet and telecommunications shutdown.

With Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other officials of the ruling Sovereign Council in detention, the future of the nation’s leadership is in turmoil.

“I think the thing that the military was most fearful of losing (was) control of the Sovereignty Council — the executive authority in the country,” said Cameron Hudson, a senior fellow at the U.S.-based Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

Internal pressure from hundreds of thousands of protesters who came out from different towns across Sudan in recent weeks demanding civilian rule made Sudan’s top military leader feel “under siege,” Hudson said.

“This is a reaction internally to release the pressure that they were feeling,” Hudson told VOA.

The coup seems to have the backing of the Sudan Armed Forces and a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces under General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, some analysts said.

But Hudson warned that the army might be divided on this.

“What we don’t know and what we should be fearful of is there are divisions within the military, especially in the younger ranks, the lower ranks of the military,” he said. “We should not be surprised if we see a counter coup of some kind of younger military officers who push back against what happened.”

The military takeover looks hurried and poorly planned, according to Hudson, and may have dangerous consequences, including street violence, which escalated Monday.

“It’s a very dangerous situation, because you have the military trying to assert its control, and now you have people taking to the streets in protest,” he said.

Sudan’s neighbors are watching closely, possibly fearing a spillover effect, Horner said.

“There are plenty of autocratic governments that are in Sudan’s immediate neighborhood and then even across the Red Sea and elsewhere, too, who will concern themselves with what inspiring effect a successful civilian transition might have to their own populations,” he said.


Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Sudan’s PM Abdalla Hamdok, Ministers Under House Arrest

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdella Hamdok and ministers under house arrest by military force.
The military force reportedly surrounded the Prime Minister’s resident and put him under arrest today.

Other civilian officials taken into custody include Industry Minister Ibrahim al-Sheikh, and the governor of Sudan’s capital Khartoum, Ayman Khalid, family sources told Al Jazeera.

Information Minister Hamza Baloul, media adviser to the Prime Minister, Faisal Mohammed Saleh, and the spokesman for Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, were also arrested, according to Aljazeera.

It is to be recalled that there has been dispute among members of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council which is leading the transitional government of Sudan.


Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Sudan’s Prime Minister Hamdock Officially Arrested

The Prime Minister of Sudan Abdallah Hamdok officially arrested and has been taken to an unknown location.

He sent out a message that the opposition protest in a peaceful manner.

Most of the civil ministers and members of the party have also been arrested. There is no official notice from the Sudan military.

According to sources approached by the Ethiopian News Agency. Internet and phones have stopped working, bridges have also been closed by the military.

In addition, the soldiers have surrounded the Sudanes TV headquarters.

The civil party are distributing a message that everyone goes out and protests and people are going out to protest, the sources indicated.

There were reports of dispute among members of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council which is leading the transitional government of Sudan.

The Council is composed of five civilians chosen by the Forces of Freedom and Change alliance (FFC), five military representatives chosen by the Transitional Military Council (TMC), and a civilian selected by agreement between the FFC and TMC.


Source: Ethiopia News Agency