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Singapore-based Nium looks to secure a slice of Africa’s payment services pie

Dana Nino, Senior Vice President, Growth, Customer Success and Partnerships at Nium.
Dana Nino, Senior Vice President, Growth, Customer Success and Partnerships at Nium.

Application Programming Interface (API) technology is helping to streamline Africa’s diverse and fragmented payment solutions market and open up opportunities for service providers. Singapore-based Fintech firm Nium is seeking a piece of the action by offering its own contribution to help organise digital payments on the continent.

The company has had successes in the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Europe and now targets new numbers in Africa. It supports transactions for over 130 million customers and currently records US$8-billion payments annually. The company has raised over US$300-million in several funding rounds and achieving unicorn status in 2021.

“The announcement of Nium extending remittance services into four major markets in Africa signifies only the start of our journey in the continent,” said Dana Nino, Senior Vice President, Growth, Customer Success and Partnerships at Nium.

“Our current offering in Africa, which enables businesses to make payments via bank transfers and mobile wallets, allows our customers to overcome long transfer times, multiple intermediaries and higher transaction costs.”

According to Nino, the company’s proprietary implementation of APIs helps companies set up payment systems in a matter of weeks.

“Our advanced, modular platform allows businesses to collect and disburse funds in local currencies to over 100 countries, including 65 of these corridors working in real-time. We don't aggregate networks, we've built our own and this work includes the platform, services and requisite licenses,” she said.

Open banking in Africa

Open banking is still not fully established in Africa. The continent’s financial institutions are relatively closed and integration is limited.

However Nigeria is leading in the implementation of open banking, where third party players can access banking solutions through APIs.

Companies like OnePipe, Okra and Kuda Bank are opening up possibilities to extend banking to the unbanked through the use of simple API technology coupled with data analytics and mobile technology.

Despite being financially advanced, Kenya is still grappling with open banking and companies continue to extend financial inclusion in silos.

Nium seeks to dismantle these silos and offer an easier way for companies to start integrating payment APIs.

“The rise of open banking is streamlining the payments flow around the world - as we see faster, more seamless integration in the supply chain. As more innovative financial solutions are introduced, this will enable better management and transparency of financial flows into the production and delivery business processes,” said Nino.

She added: “There is already an Open Technology Foundation in Nigeria, working with banks, industry professionals and Fintechs to define an open banking standard in the country. Nium will continue to work both globally and locally to contribute to the capabilities of businesses looking to do business and move money both across and outside of Africa.”

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