In what is said to be a first for Sudan, a local company called alsoug has announced the close of a $5 million fundraising effort to establish a national payments network enabling quick, easy and safe transactions for all Sudanese.
The fundraising round marks the first international venture capital investment into a technology business in Sudan since international sanctions were lifted on the country following a 30-year period of isolation.
alsoug, which was founded in 2016 and claims nearly two million downloads, lets Sudanese consumers and businesses buy and sell any goods and services they need. Listings include real estate, cars, electronics and furniture, as well as services and job postings. alsoug enables buyers and sellers of goods and services to directly interact with each other.
The investment will expand alsoug’s presence in fintech, building on the company’s payment platform, Cashi, by creating a network enabling people to deposit, withdraw and transfer cash and transact digitally. The company says the expansion will make alsoug the largest digitally driven network of its kind in the country.
Alongside its investment in payments, the business will continue to build its marketplace by offering new services for users and ensuring the platform maintains its position as the premier digital buying and selling platform in Sudan.
This is further evidence of the growth of fintech on the African continent. In fact Tarneem (Nina) Saeed, CEO of alsoug, said: “Fintech has been one of the fastest growing industries across Africa in the past decade because of its huge user base. With this fundraising, we expect Sudan to catch up with the rest of the continent.”
The investment has been co-led by Fawry, the first and largest digital payments company in Egypt. The investment is the first for Fawry outside of Egypt. Other investors in the round include established Western venture capital funds.