Tingo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: TIO) is a digital service agri-fintech technology company focused on foundation-level agriculture and related financial services in Africa. The company aims to be Africa’s leading agri-fintech player, transforming rural farming communities to connect through its proprietary platform to meet their complete needs – from inputs and agronomy to off take and marketplace – and deliver sustainable income in an impactful way. The company’s vision is to build complete digitally inclusive ecosystems that promote financial inclusion and deliver disruptive micro-finance solutions, empower societies, produce social upliftment in rural communities and open international opportunities.
Tingo believes that a truly connected world will help contribute to a better global society. The company’s core focus areas are telecoms, financial services/fintech and agritech. Tingo’s goal is to provide a best-in-class customer experience, support the domestic economies of its host countries and support technological and ﬁnancial inclusion to end the poverty premium. Through this, Tingo hopes to deliver attractive returns to shareholders while investing in the long-term future of the company and its subsidiaries.
Global climate change is challenging sustainable production and food security. Tingo’s strategy and market execution provide an opportunity for Africa to be a core focal point to solve a number of key areas of concern, including food security, gender equality, financial inclusion and poverty alleviation, to name a few. Disruption of micro finance through the use of DeFi-based stable coins and smart contracts will give agri-communities access to capital markets-driven digital finance solutions that make them more competitive and sustainable economically, striking a good balance of returns between digital asset providers and Tingo as the service partner. This innovation will deliver significant access to much needed finance at ‘Grassroot’ levels, delivering tangible social upliftment and GDP growth in the African markets served by Tingo.
Tingo Mobile, with more than nine million subscribers, is Nigeria’s leading technology and device-as-a-service platform aimed at accelerating digital commerce, especially in the country’s agritech and fintech verticals. The company helps farmers acquire mobile phones through a unique leasing plan, connecting them to mobile and data networks through its own virtual mobile network. Tingo also connects farmers to markets, services and resources via Nwassa, its digital agritech marketplace platform that commenced operations in 2020. The company has also launched a beta version of TingoPay – a B2B and B2C fintech app aimed at providing financial services to users inside and outside of the agriculture value chain. Among the services offered are mobile wallets, payment processing and access to specialist lenders, insurers and pension products.
Tingo will soon announce its innovative blockchain-based solution for use of digital stable coins to empower frictionless trade across borders in Africa. The company’s market-proven model in Nigeria is its core foundation, enabling Tingo to deliver the same service model across Africa to become the continent’s leading agri-fintech business powered through smartphone technology.
The African Continental Free Trade (ACFT) plan will be a key framework to prepare the company to be the leading intra-Africa trading hub for trade flows across Africa in the medium term, when it is likely the agreement will be executed into tangible activity. Tingo is well positioned to easily transform the goals of the ACFT into reality when finally implemented by the African Union and the various African countries that have not signed up.
Tingo has four core business lines:
- Mobile Phone Leasing – Tingo has distributed almost 30 million mobile handsets since 2014 and will continue to replace the devices of its installed customer base every three years. Tingo Mobile provides the latest mobile phone handsets at an affordable price point and allows customers to spread payments over 36 months.
- Mobile Voice and Data Service – Through a mobile virtual network, Tingo provides its customers with voice and data services, allowing customers to communicate effectively, both inside and outside the agricultural ecosystem.
- Nwassa Marketplace Platform – Nwassa is Tingo’s proprietary agritech platform which provides Africa’s farmers with access to global markets to secure more competitive pricing for their crops. The platform processes 500,000 daily transactions with a value of over $8 million. A select group of trusted partners can assist smallholder farmers and agricultural cooperatives with packaging, warehousing, and dry and wet cargo logistics, as well as up-to-date information from the global agricultural sector. Tingo provides its customers with digital wallet services, which enable them to send and receive domestic payments, monitor cash flow in real time and securely hold money. The company also provides access to other services, such as utility bill payment, virtual airtime top-up, insurance services and alternative lending solutions.
- TingoPay – Since the launch of the Nwassa platform, Tingo has been a dominant player in the B2B fintech vertical. After many successful months of operating Nwassa, Tingo entered the fintech B2C vertical to extend its B2B offering to a broader market beyond agriculture.
Africa is the second-largest continent by population. It is also the youngest by far, with a median age of 18 for its 1.3 billion people. Tingo believes the building blocks for growth in Africa’s agriculture industry are in place and that the company is well positioned to participate in the upside. Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is growing at a rate of 2.7 percent per year. At the current growth rate, the continent’s population will double by 2050. Africa’s youthfulness represents a significant opportunity for material growth in demand for agricultural commodities. This younger generation is also being born into a digital world and is comfortable using technology.
Africa’s governments are improving business conditions for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Sub-Saharan Africa’s World Bank Doing Business rank has improved from 45 in 2004 to 65 in 2020. Tingo believes this trend will continue and encourage establishment of more new ventures across all economic sectors, including agriculture.
Africa attracted $407 billion of Foreign Direct Investments (“FDI”) between 2014 and 2018. Investments are increasingly focused on services and industrial sectors. Only 20 percent of investments are in extractive industries – a clear reversal from 2008, when 55 percent of FDI was aimed at resource extraction. Tingo believes FDI into Africa will help resolve significant infrastructure constraints and create value for agribusiness.
Dozy Mmobuosi is the CEO of Tingo. He cofounded Tingo Mobile PLC (Nigeria) in 2001 and led the design and launch of Nigeria’s first SMS banking solution, which is still in use in the country today. He also headed a team of more than 120 Chinese and Nigerian engineers in the construction of two mobile phone assembly plants in Nigeria, which have produced and distributed 20 million phones across the country. He has led Tingo’s growth to more than $600 million in revenue annually. He holds a Ph.D. in Rural Advancement from UPM Malaysia.
Dakshesh Patel is the CFO of Tingo. He was formerly CFO of NatWest’s Global Debt and Investment Banking division. He has served as a Director at Gerken Capital Associates, a San Francisco-based alternative asset fund manager. He also led the restructure of Lloyds Banking Group (last financial crisis); managed integration of two leading shipping groups’ global treasury function to create world-leading shipping group Maersk Shipping; built three fintech companies; and exited one to Worldpay. Mr. Patel has strong banking experience, with a focus on Africa. He is a chartered accountant.
Chris Cleverly is president of Tingo. He has served as CEO of the Made in Africa Foundation, and as CEO of blockchain payments gateway startup Kamari. He has been a board member of several companies, both public and private, in the UK, India, China and Africa. He has advised multiple UK companies on their entrance into African markets, and regularly advises the UK Government on development issues and African governments on investment issues.
Rory Bowen is the Chief of Staff at Tingo. Mr. Bowen started his career in traditional capital and derivatives markets working for Moneycorp and Tradition UK in European and emerging markets across FX, interest rate derivative and government bond markets. He has also spent time with one of Europe’s fastest growing fintech’s banking circles. Before joining Tingo, he was Chief of Staff at FinTech Alliance, an organization established in partnership with the UK Government Department for International Trade to foster innovation, growth and foreign direct investment (FDI) in the financial services sector and facilitate greater public/private cooperation.
- Investor appetite in Africa continues to be robust, attracting $407 billion of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) between 2014 and 2018.
- Agriculture makes up 23 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP and 60 percent of employment.
- Tingo directly benefits the African economy by helping farmers gain better prices for their crops.
- The company enables more efficient markets via greater distribution of agricultural products.
- Tingo directly provides an access point to technology for tens of millions of Africans.
- The company is expanding into fintech banking services for the mass market, providing access to financial services through Tingo Pay, its proprietary mobile wallet application.