By Dipo Olowookere
A strategic partnership has been entered into between European digital money transfer service, Azimo, leading African payments business, Interswitch Group.
The deal, which was announced on Wednesday, is to further enable instant money transfers from 23 countries in Europe to any customer in Nigeria.
Founder and CEO of Azimo, Mr Michael Kent, disclosed that Nigeria’s teeming population makes it Azimo’s biggest market.
“A huge and rapidly growing population, coupled with the explosion of smartphone ownership, means that Africa, and Nigeria in particular, is one of the most exciting fintech markets on the planet.
“We look forward to working with fintech leader, Interswitch, to build new digital low-cost financial services that drive inclusion and transform the financial lives of our customers in both the UK and Africa,” he said.
On his part, Group Managing Director and CEO of Interswitch, Mr Mitchell Elegbe, disclosed that, “We formed this partnership with Azimo as they are a global leader in cross-border payments with great tech capability and a strong knowledge of our core markets.
“This agreement is a key milestone in our common strategy to better serve the Nigerians where ever they are located around the world.”
Digital money transfers play a significant role in the growth of Nigeria’s economy – the largest in Africa. Remittances to the nation were worth $22 billion in 2017 – the equivalent of 5.6 percent of Nigeria’s GDP and higher than the country’s oil revenues.
By reaching millions of customers in Nigeria, Azimo’s partnership with Interswitch will also help to tackle the problem of financial exclusion in a country where 40 percent of the population is unbanked.
In the longer term, the deal will see the two companies build new mobile-based financial services for Interswitch’s rapidly expanding customer base of over 25 million people in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The partnership comes at a time when British Prime Minister Teresa May, on a recent visit to South Africa, divulged that the scale of opportunity for London’s businesses across Africa is huge.
She noted that 111 African companies have already come to London to raise the funds needed to invest and grow, hence their desire to ensure that the UK is the partner of choice for African nations.
Nigeria is among the top five countries for inbound remittances with over $20bn received every year, according to the World Bank.
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