Connect with us


Pine Labs Acquires API Fintech Startup Setu In $70-75 Million Deal



Pine Labs has acquired Setu, a Bengaluru-based API fintech startup, in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $70-75 million.

“Setu will make an incredible addition to the Pine Labs platform…,” Amrish Rau, chief executive officer of Pine Labs, said during a virtual briefing on Thursday. “APIs [application programming interface] are intensifying the competitive fintech landscape.”

Setu has seen strong demand for its products: their APIs are used across diverse industry verticals, including startups, retail enterprises, banks, insurance, and lending companies. Its existing and emerging use cases cut across multiple digital ecosystems — from Aadhaar eSign to BBPS bill payments, payments collection via WhatsApp, and FASTag, etc.

An application programming interface acts as a link between computers or between computer programmes. In other words, it is a kind of software interface, offering a service to other software elements.

Setu is the third acquisition announced by Pine Labs this year.

“We are in the golden phase of digitisation in India, and Setu is a pioneer in supporting innovation on the India Stack — their work on UPI and in the account aggregator space is moving the industry forward,” Rau said.

Setu — which has 90-100 employees — will retain its brand identity, business and team, following the buyout.

“Pine Labs’ network of merchants and issuers, coupled with our API prowess, will help achieve great results in personal finance management, monitoring loans to predict default rates, credit underwriting, etc.,” said Sahil Kini, co-founder and chief executive at Setu.

Setu works with account aggregator partners which are non-banking financial companies operating under the “NBFC-AA” licence from the Reserve Bank of India. They enable the consolidation of financial data of users at a single location and allows them to access services quickly.

This Article was first live here.


New Colombian president pledges to protect rainforest



Article content

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s first elected leftist president, will take office in August with ambitious proposals to halt the record-high rates of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Petro has promised to limit agribusiness expansion into the forest, and create reserves where Indigenous communities and others are allowed to harvest rubber, acai and other non-timber forest products. He has also pledged income from carbon credits to finance replanting.

Advertisement 2

Article content

“From Colombia, we will give humanity a reward, a remedy, a solution: not to burn the Amazon rainforest anymore, to recover it to its natural frontier, to give humanity the possibility of life on this planet,” Petro, wearing an Indigenous headdress, said to a crowd in the Amazon city of Leticia during his campaign.

But to do that he first needs to establish reign over large, lawless areas.

The task of stopping deforestation seems more challenging than ever. In 2021, the Colombian Amazon lost 98000 hectares (more than 240,000 acres) of pristine forest to deforestation and another 9,000 hectares (22,000 acres) to fire. Both were down from what they had been in 2020, but 2021 was still the fourth worst year on record according to Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), an initiative of the nonprofit Amazon Conservation Association.

Advertisement 3

Article content

More than 40% of Colombia is in the Amazon, an area roughly the size of Spain. The country has the world’s largest bird biodiversity, mainly because it includes transition zones between the Andes mountains and the Amazon lowlands. Fifteen percent of the Colombian Amazon has already been deforested, according to Foundation for Conservation and Sustainable Development, or FCDS.

Destruction of the forest has been on the rise since 2016, the year Colombia signed a peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, that ended decades of a bloody armed conflict.

“The peace process allowed people to return to formerly conflict-ridden rural areas. As the returning population increasingly used the natural resources, it contributed to deforestation and increases in forest fires, especially in the Amazon and the Andes-Amazon transition regions,” according to a new paper in the journal “Environmental Science and Policy.”

Advertisement 4

Article content

The presence of the State is barely felt in Colombia’s Amazon. “Once the armed groups were demobilized, they left the forest free for cattle ranching, illegal mining and drug trafficking,” said Ruth Consuelo Chaparro, director of the Roads to Identity Foundation, in a telephone interview. “The State has not filled the gaps.”

The main driver of deforestation has been the expansion of cattle ranching. Since 2016, the number of cattle in the Amazon has doubled to 2.2 million. In the same period, about 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) of forest were lost, according to FCDS, based on official data.

This cattle expansion goes hand in hand with illegally-seized land, said FCDS director Rodrigo Botero. “The big business deal is the land. The cows are just a way to get hold of these territories,” he told the AP in a phone interview.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Experts affirm that illegally-seized lands are often resold to ranchers, who then run their cattle free of land use restrictions, such as the propriety’s size.

Most of the destruction occurs in an “arc of deforestation” in the northwestern Colombian Amazon, where even protected areas have not been spared. Chiribiquete, the world’s largest national park protecting a tropical rainforest, has lost around 6,000 hectares (14,800 acres) since 2018, according to MAAP.

During the campaign, Botero took Petro and other presidential candidates on separate one-day trips to the Amazon. They flew over cattle ranching areas, national parks and Indigenous territories.

“A very interesting thing Petro and other candidates said was that they never imagined the magnitude of the destruction.” The feeling of ungovernability made a deep impression on each of them, Botero said.

Advertisement 6

Article content

Almost 60% of Colombia’s greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, deforestation and other land use, according to the World Resources Institute. In 2020, under the Paris Agreement, Colombian President Ivan Duque’s government committed to a 51% reduction in emissions by 2030. To do that, it pledged to reach net-zero deforestation by 2030.

The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest and an enormous carbon sink. There is widespread concern that its destruction will not only release massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, further complicating hopes of arresting climate change, but also push it past a tipping point after which much of the forest will begin an irreversible process of degradation into tropical savannah.

Advertisement 7

Article content

Although it holds almost half of the nation’s territory, the Amazon is the least populated part of Colombia, so historically it is neglected during presidential campaigns.

This year’s campaign was not a complete departure from that. But this year, for the first time, there was a TV presidential debate dedicated solely to environmental issues before the first round in the election. Petro, who was leading the polls then, refused to participate.

In his government program, Petro further promises to prioritize collective land titles, such as Indigenous reservations and zones for landless farmers. He also promises to control migration into the Amazon, fight illegal activities, such as land seizures, drug trafficking and money laundering via land purchases.

Petro’s press manager did not respond to requests for comment.

“Petro has studied and understands deforestation,” said Consuelo Chaparro, whose organization works with Indigenous tribes in the Amazon. But the president alone can do nothing, she said. Her hope is that he will listen and move things forward. “We don’t expect him to be a Messiah.”


Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

This Article was first live here.

Continue Reading


Commonwealth ends summit with call for action on climate change, trade By Reuters



© Reuters. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations Patricia Scotland attend the Leaders’ Retreat executive session on the sidelines of the 2022 Commonwealth heads of Government meeting


By Ayenat Mersie

KIGALI (Reuters) – The 56 members of the Commonwealth made broad commitments to addressing climate change and boosting trade on Saturday as they concluded a summit aimed at shoring up the relevance of a group that evolved from the British empire.

The club, which covers some 2.5 billion people or about one-third of the world’s population, presents itself as a network for cooperation with shared goals, but critics say it needs to take concrete actions and be more than a talking shop.

The week-long summit in Rwanda’s capital Kigali included comments from Britain’s Prince Charles on Friday expressing sorrow for his country’s role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the first time the Commonwealth has publicly addressed the subject.

Some members urged the organisation to go further by discussing reparations to countries affected by the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

There was no mention of the topic in the final communique or news conference, which instead focused on declarations regarding sustainable development, health care and gender equality.

A “Living Lands Charter” charter stated that Commonwealth countries would work to implement previously-signed international agreements like the Paris climate agreement.

“We know that we are at code red when it comes to climate change and that the small member states are facing a crisis that could be existential,” Patricia Scotland, re-elected during the summit as Commonwealth secretary-general, told reporters.

Scotland also touted rising trade between Commonwealth members, which she said she expected to hit $2 trillion per year by 2030 after collapsing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gabon and Togo were newly accepted into the Commonwealth, part of a trend of former French colonies in Africa seeking new alliances beyond Paris’ old networks of influence.

“If the Commonwealth wasn’t alive and vibrant and constructive, why would countries such as Gabon … and Togo join?” Michael Moussa Adamo, Gabon’s foreign minister, told Reuters.


Mostly absent from the summit’s public discussions were awkward issues concerning the host country.

Many human rights groups consider Rwanda among Africa’s most repressive countries. The U.S. State Department has cited credible reports of arbitrary killings by the government, including politically motivated reprisal killings abroad.

Neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo accuses Rwanda of supporting rebels waging a major offensive in eastern Congo.

Rwanda denies all of these charges. At the news conference, Rwandan President Paul Kagame defended Rwanda’s human rights record and accused Western governments of hypocrisy.

“There is nobody that is in prison in Rwanda that should not be there,” he said. “Actually there are people who are not in prison who should be there.”

Also in the spotlight has been Britain’s controversial policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, described as “appalling” by Prince Charles, according to British media. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Kagame have both defended it.

This Article was first live here.

Continue Reading


‘The news coming out of the United States is horrific’: Biden’s G-7 allies left aghast at U.S. abortion rights reversal



UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson didn’t wait for President Joe Biden to react after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and erased the constitutional right of women in America to have an abortion. Neither did Canada’s Justin Trudeau. Both abandoned diplomatic niceties to express their dismay. Read More

This Article was first live here.

Continue Reading