Borderless Africa: ZEEPAY approves outbound remittance across six African countries

Digital Remittances

As part of its ambitious vision to create a borderless Africa in terms of trade and payments, leading mobile money firm and number on Ghana Club100, Zeepay has enabled outbound remittance to wallet from six African countries to 200 destinations across the globe.

The company is also far advanced in creating a seamless cross-border remittance to wallet transfers between Africa and the Caribbean, something it calls an Afro-Carib remittance  corridor.

Co-founder and CEO of Zeepay, Andy Takyi-Appiah disclosed this in an interview on CitiTV’s Point of View, saying that the six countries where outbound remittance is enabled, exclude its home country Ghana because the Ghanaian industry regulator, Bank of Ghana, has market stability concerns.

Techfocus24 is aware that the central banking is currently committed to ensuring the stability of the cedi against the dollar in particular, and outbound remittance would have to be settled in dollars, which can pose challenges to the Ghana cedi.

Andy Takyi-Appiah said the outbound remittance blueprint of Zeepay from Ghana has been in the Central Bank’s Regulatory Sandbox for the past two years and he hopes the innovation would be allowed to go to market in good time.

But the Zeepay boss said the company is fully committed to its borderless Africa vision and is currently operational in 33 countries across the globe, out of which 25 are in Africa.

Zeepay is a non-telco electronic money issuer (mobile money) license holder in Ghana, and it specializes mainly in terminating remittances from all over the world directly into mobile money wallets in Africa.

Why borderless Africa

Explaining why Zeepay is now focused on creating a borderless Africa, Andy Takyi-Appiah noted that payments opportunity within Africa is estimated to hit US$40 billion by 2025 and cross-border payments, which includes trade, is expected to hit in excess of US$200 billion in the next three years, adding that the continent also accounts for US$84 billion of the world’s US$800 billion remittances.

He said most of these payments is expected to move around in wallets because, unlike other parts of the world, Africa is mainly a wallets market with over 184 million active mobile wallets as of June 2022, compared to cards which is just about 50 million, out of which only about 32 million are active – with South Africa alone accounting for 60% and Nigeria has about 15% of that.

This he said, presents a huge opportunity for players in the mobile wallets space on the continent, particularly for a company like Zeepay which has built the rails for direct termination of remittance/payments into wallets, adding that it also promises to counter youth unemployment among other challenges facing the continent if regulation enables start-up innovations in that space to blossom.

The Zeepay MD noted that, in terms of the direction mobile wallets are going in Africa, the trajectory in the various markets indicates either they are either at the mid-infancy stage or growth stage, which clearly shows that wallets will get even bigger on the continent in terms of payments.

According to him, in West Africa, Ghana has a big advantage because its main competitor, Nigeria is still a very big cards market because of the strength of its banking sector, adding that mobile wallets, which were recently licensed in Nigeria, are likely to take about seven years to begin to see some uptake.

KINGS Market

Andy Takyi-Appiah noted that Africa’s financial inclusion index centres around what he called the KINGS market, i.e. Kenya Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa – and in the KINGS market, Ghana and Kenya are the main leaders, and there is every indication that Ghana will remain a critical market in that space.

“Kenya has always been a poster child because of the state-backed M-Pesa visa-a-visa the culture in Kenya where several city dwellers are actually migrants from the hinterlands who own farms back home so they had to send money back home to their farmers as well as to family – which made M-Pesa succeed and put Kenya at the top of the KINGS market,” he said.

According to him, the success of mobile money in Ghana also stemmed from the fact that the telcos led it and made wallets aliases of phone numbers, which made adoption easier and quicker, but now companies like Zeepay and others have also come into the game to make wallets sector focused to scale it to the next level.

“We have focused on remittances just like some have focused on retail banking, transport, health, education and more,” he said. “In terms of innovation in mobile money and payments across the continent I see a lot more of it in Ghana because our Fintechs are mainly home grown and we have a firm understanding of what works for Africans.”

Good Governance

Andy Takyi-Appiah said at Zeepay, the watch word has always been to establish frameworks, processes, structure and good governance around every thing they do and they always advise younger players in the space to do same so they can be able to scale both locally and across borders.

“We have been accepted across the continent and elsewhere because we have very solid good governance structures and very formidable team. People respect and accept us because they can see we are big on good governance and service delivery,” he said.

The Zeepay CEO said that the company is now at a point where it is sending out lots of its home-grown skilled staff to its offshore offices and is training even more, adding that with the their next funding round, they are looking at acquiring the full compliment of very high-skilled expertise that will take the company to the next level.

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