Kenya

MFS Africa supports digital transactions to grow regional trade

MFS Africa supports digital transactions to grow regional trade

Sponsored by MFS Africa

Photo credit: MFS Africa

By Dare Okoudjou, CEO and founder of MFS Africa

In Lomé, everyone is welcome at the beach, whether they are doing business or relaxing after a day’s work. Life in Lomé is proof of pan-African integration, driven by the mixing of people from all over West Africa.

Like many African markets, Asigamé, Lomé’s largest market, is a melting pot of people from all over West Africa who come to Lomé in search of opportunity. For many, the market is a ladder for social mobility. Over the decades, Asigamé and the people who bring it to life have seen their fortunes ebb and flow.

Asigamé is known for the diversity of its goods, especially used items from Europe or the US. However, Asigamé is synonymous with being a textile hub. The wax fabric trade put Asigamé on the map, giving rise to a glamorous group of women traders, Nana Benz.

Now that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has come into effect, Asigamé could be propelled into another golden era, reminiscent of the Nana Benz times. This might finally eliminate the gap between the rigid borders of sovereign states — the border posts, currencies, and passports — and the daily life of Africans that transcend borders.

Ghana is Togo’s largest single trade partner with significant amounts of goods flowing across the border. Togo’s trade flows with Ghana reached $197 million, representing seven percent of its total exports and imports. Total trade volumes are even greater, counting informal flows of goods that cross the border.

The remittance numbers are further proof of the strong links between the two countries. In 2017, money flows between the two neighbours reached $199 million, accounting for 40 percent of Togo’s total inflows that year. However, while goods and people move freely across the Togo-Ghana border, the CFA Franc and Cedi are stuck, separated by an invisible regulatory border. The two currencies cannot be exchanged digitally.

It is a lucrative and unregulated business for the money changers, with fists full of cedi and CFA francs easing the lives of the thousands of Ghanaians and Togolese who stream across the border. The easing of money transfer between the two countries would be a transformative step towards deepening their intertwined economies.

Easy and safe digital financial solutions

Borders are malleable. Not only is that a lesson from Togo, a country not limited by its size, but it is the mission that drives MFS Africa.

MFS Africa is the largest payment gateway in the continent, connecting African consumers to each other and to the global digital economy. Working with trusted partners across Africa, MFS Africa is supported by an advanced API and rigorous compliance standards. Our Hub, a ‘network of networks’, enables interoperability across borders, currencies and payment systems.

MFS Africa provides organisations with digital financial solutions that are safe and easy to integrate into existing systems. This makes it possible for businesses to manage intra-Africa and global payments simply and securely, giving businesses access to a wider African market and expanded opportunities.

We have been working with blue-chip partners such as MTN, Orange, and Ecobank, among many others across the continent for over a decade. This provides a large footprint and strong partner ecosystem to simplify last-mile payments, enabling businesses to scale quickly across Africa.

Further, this ecosystem provides for boundless opportunities for businesses to launch payment solutions based on MFS Africa’s fully compliant, interoperable cross-border digital payments infrastructure, eliminating the many challenges of digitising payments in Africa.

With wide coverage, unmatched simplicity, MFS Africa is the one-stop shop for corporates, NGOs, insurance firms, banks, SMEs and micro-finance institutions working in Africa, as it guarantees secure digital transactions across borders in over 35 countries in Africa.

Secure digital payments ensure time to market, adhere to local and global compliance standards and proven results for businesses in their partnership ecosystem. If people can flow across borders, shouldn’t their money too?