Re­mit­tances to Africa set to dou­ble

CityPress - - Business -

WorldRemit, a Bri­tish money trans­fer op­er­a­tor, sees rev­enue from trans­ac­tions in­volv­ing Africans dou­bling by 2020 as more peo­ple on the con­ti­nent ac­cess pay­ment plat­forms via mo­bile de­vices and as ex­pa­tri­ates send cash home.

Founder and CEO Is­mail Ahmed this week said the seven-year-old com­pany, in which Face­book-backer Ac­cel Part­ners in­vested $40 mil­lion (R526 mil­lion) in 2014, will this year open a regional of­fice in South Africa, its largest mar­ket on the con­ti­nent in terms of money trans­fer value.

An­other site will start op­er­at­ing in Kenya, where the Lon­don-based busi­ness sees Africa’s high­est num­ber of in­di­vid­ual trans­ac­tions. It also plans to open an of­fice in Sin­ga­pore this year.

“In the next two years, we should be dou­bling our vol­ume every year,” Ahmed said.

The con­ti­nent ac­counted for half of the com­pany’s rev­enue of $52.6 mil­lion last year, he said. He de­clined to sup­ply profit fig­ures.

WorldRemit is tap­ping into grow­ing de­mand in Africa for mo­bile pay­ments, which are pop­u­lar in places where banks are scarce or un­re­li­able, yet in­ter­net speeds are fast enough to han­dle trans­ac­tions through smart­phones. The com­pany has part­ner­ships with Sa­fari­com, Kenya’s biggest com­pany, and MTN, which are both boost­ing sales growth by in­vest­ing in the mar­ket.


Ahmed founded WorldRemit in 2010 af­ter strug­gling to send money to rel­a­tives in Africa while he was study­ing in Lon­don.

The com­pany has since se­cured li­cences from al­most all 50 states in the US, which, to­gether with Latin Amer­ica, is its fastest­grow­ing re­gion in terms of trans­ac­tions, partly be­cause of the African ex­pa­tri­ates liv­ing there, said Ahmed.

“Kenyans in the US tend to have high­pay­ing jobs,” Ahmed said, which means larger amounts of cash would be sent home.

The com­pany es­ti­mates the num­ber of trans­ac­tions made by cus­tomers world­wide will more than dou­ble to 6.7 a month by 2025.

Two years ago, fol­low­ing Ac­cel’s in­vest­ment, US pri­vate eq­uity firm Tech­nol­ogy Cross­over Ven­tures put $100 mil­lion into the com­pany.

– Bloomberg

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