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Nigerian Startups Band Together to Fight Fraud

Some of Nigeria’s largest fintech startups are quietly working on a joint strategy to tackle fraudulent transactions within their networks, starting with plans for a shared list of suspected criminals, three people with knowledge of the efforts told Semafor Africa. The registry, tagged Project Radar, would enable companies to pool details, including banking and government identity data, of individuals and groups that have attempted or made fraudulent transactions. Representatives of more than a dozen companies — including payments processor Flutterwave, digital banks Kuda and Branch, and savings app Cowrywise. Agboola, chief executive of Africa’s most valuable startup, Flutterwave, played a leading role in the conversation. The move comes against the backdrop of a surge in digital payments following a cash scarcity forced by a fumbled banknote redesign by Nigeria’s central bank. But the startups leading the effort also have an interest in protecting their business reputations and valuations with investors. Venture capitalists have invested $2.5 billion into Nigerian fintech startups between January 2019 to February 2023, according to The Big Deal, which tracks the data.