BitPesa, a Kenyan-based digital foreign exchange and digital payment platform has partnered with SBI Holdings, one of the largest remittance providers in Japan to help ease cross-border payments between Africa and Japan.
BitPesa is a reputable firm that that makes use of blockchain technology to reduce speeds and lower costs of payment to and from frontier markets. With the partnership between the two firms in place, SBI Holdings will be expected to improve its efficiency by reducing the friction and interoperability for cross-border payments between individuals (including businesses) between Japan and Africa.
The partnership also means that African customers can now deposit funds in their local currency right into BitPesa’s local bank account. According to Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO and founder of BitPesa, customers will not need to do any conversions when making cross-border payments between the two nations. Coupled with the fact that transaction fees will drastically reduce, Ms. Rossiello notes that this will help reduce the cumbersome processes of making bank transfers.
Steady flow of funds
Rossiello notes that by using the payout network from SBI Remit (a subsidiary of SBI Holdings), money transferred to SBI Remit can, in turn, be paid out to an extensive Japanese network. This creates a steady and convenient flow of funds from Africans to Japan.
Exploring uncharted waters
This move will be SBI Holdings first partnership with an Africa-based company. Positive results are expected from the partnership as payments in the cosmetic, electronics, and used car industries can be focused on. The partnership will be boosted by Bitpesa’s extensive client range, that includes most African businesses and multinational companies that have business relationships in the UAE, and China.
This partnership comes at a time where Japanese businesses are ‘hungry’ for expansion into the African market. It’s interesting that cryptocurrency is being used to facilitate such expansion. At present, well over 400 Japanese businesses are active in Africa and most of these are focused on heavy machinery, electronics, and used cars. Rossiello noted:
They need a more seamless way for the African customer to be able to pay them directly. While there is a growing interest in Africa, there is still a lot of hesitation due to market conditions and lack of hybrid financial infrastructure to support the agile growth of businesses. Through our partnership with SBI Remit, we have created a secure, fast and easy-to-use forex solution for Japanese companies to buy and sell eight frontier market currencies with G20 currencies including Japanese yen. Businesses can do this instantly from and to all major African bank and mobile money accounts.
SBI’s partnership now opens the doors for even more business relations between Africa and the rest of the world. This will in turn help accelerate business growth in frontier markets.