Brazilian company Ebanx expands into Africa with a focus on mobile money

Brazilian company Ebanx expands into Africa with a focus on mobile money

Written by Carolina Police

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Brazilian financial technology company Ebanx SA said on Tuesday it is expanding into Africa, as it hopes to replicate its rapid growth in Latin America by focusing more on the digital payments side of its business.

The company began operations in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria in late August amid high demand for mobile payments in recent years.

“(These countries) represent more than 50% of the continent’s GDP, a third of Africa’s population, and are experiencing a surge in digital services adoption,” Paula Belizia, global executive for payments at Ebanks, told Reuters.

Belizia said that Ebanks will initially focus on mobile money, a system that allows users to exchange and store money on their mobile phones. The company began offering digital wallets – mobile payment apps – to Brazilian consumers on a trial basis in 2020.

The market size of the continent’s digital economy is estimated at $115 billion, according to a June report by Endeavor with McKinsey.

“In Latin America, digital commerce has ended up accelerating digital payment. And in Africa, digital payments will boost digital commerce,” she said.

“There is a trend of e-commerce happening in Africa in the same way that it happened in Latin America eight years ago,” she added.

The Brazilian startup, valued at more than $1 billion, is also aiming to reach agreements with major e-commerce stores to provide payment services on the continent. Without disclosing the names, Belizia said that Ebanx will focus on partnerships with global merchants.

In Latin America, it processes payments for companies like Airbnb Inc, Shopee, and Uber.

“In terms of our expansion plan, Africa has become our new priority. It is a huge continent, with millions of people becoming consumers,” she said.

Belizia said Ebanx, which earlier this year delayed a planned initial public offering, is continuing to analyze “market conditions” to make the move.

(Reporting by Carolina Polis; Editing by Christian Plumb and Deepa Babington)

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