UK FinTech delegation joins May in Africa
Written by Peter Walker
A UK FinTech delegation has joined prime minister Theresa May on her first official trip to Africa, hoping to establish trade and export links while visiting emerging markets South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.
Representatives from the Financial Conduct Authority, London Stock Exchange Group, Standard Chartered, Azimo and Farm.ink were among the 29 leaders on the trip.
“The London business representatives accompanying me on this visit are a fantastic showcase of the depth of world-class expertise and breadth of innovation which the capital is home to,” said May.
Alastair Lukies, the government’s ambassador for FinTech, stated that financial technology is transforming the world, with no better example than on the continent of Africa.
“Our ability to partner with African nations, to create modern day platforms that level the playing field and enable hundreds of millions of consumers to trade their way into a better life, can never be underestimated,” he added.
Michael Kent, chief executive and co-founder of Azimo, joined the delegation as his firm recently received $20 million worth of funding in a Series C round led by Rakuten Capital, which will help finance global expansion and focus on the European diaspora who send money back to the emerging markets.
Now able to reach over five billion potential customers with cash, bank deposits and mobile wallets, many of the recipients of the remittance payments are in Africa.
“Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa have been leading lights in FinTech innovation, and with their collective population and economic potential, there’s many opportunities for UK FinTech,” said Kent. “This includes collaborating with regional partners to provide excellent services to consumers that have been historically underserved, and to build a better and more inclusive future for financial services.”
Separately, Nigerian online payment API firm Paystack has raised $8 million in a Series A funding round led by Stripe and joined by Visa, Tencent and Y Combinator.
In two years, the Lagos-based team has developed five APIs, enabling developers to create online custom checkout experiences, build automated recurring billing systems, instantly send bulk transfers to any bank account in Nigeria, and verify the identity of customers.
Paystack now processes nearly 15 per cent of all online payments in the country. The startup now plans to expand across Africa, build out its infrastructure and grow its engineering team.