Azimo clinches deal with leading African remittance firm Interswitch


Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO and has 20 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors. Daniel is widely quoted as an expert… Read more

·       New deal extends Azimo’s reach to millions of Nigerian customers

·       Major step toward easing the financial exclusion of Nigeria’s ‘unbanked’

·       New mobile remittance services to follow

Once again London-based international payments company Azimo is making the headlines. Yesterday, it announced a new strategic partnership with the prominent African remittance service Interswitch Group.

The announcement coincides with Azimo’s participation in British PM Theresa May’s current outreach in Africa, as part of the UK government's efforts to build fresh  trade agreements with new markets after the country’s formal withdrawal from the European Union. Azimo was one of 29 British businesses invited to attend May’s delegation to the continent, but the only fintech and cross-border payments firm to be included.

The deal will expand instant money transfer services from Europe, where Azimo has a presence in 23 countries, to any customer in Nigeria. As the latter happens to be Azimo’s biggest market, the agreement is quite a coup for the firm.

Commenting on the development, Azimo’s CEO and founder, Michael Kent, said: “A huge and rapidly growing population coupled with the explosion of smartphone ownership mean that Africa and in particular Nigeria is one of the most exciting fintech markets on the planet.

“We look forward to working with fintech leader Interswitch to build new digital low-cost financial services that drive inclusion and transform the financial lives of our customers in both the UK and Africa.”

Online money transfer services have played a major role in the development of Nigeria’s economy, which is now easily the largest in Africa. Last year, remittance services brought $22 billion into the nation – a figure that represents 5.6% of the country’s GDP, exceeding its oil revenues.

The new partnership with Interswitch will help Azimo to reach millions more customers in Nigeria, significantly helping to ameliorate the issue of financial exclusion within a country where 40% of the population have no banking facilities to their names.

Interswitch’s CEO and Group Managing Director, Michael Elegbe, said that his firm had chosen Azimo to partner with because it is a global leader in cross border payments, boasting excellent tech capabilities combined with a deep understanding of Interswitch’s core markets.

He added: “This agreement is a key milestone in our common strategy to better serve the Nigerians where ever they are located around the world.”

Many of the people Elegbe referred to will be able to send money home swiftly, reliably and easily with the new service.

In the coming years, the new deal will see the two firms building new mobile-based remittance services for Interswitch’s fast-expanding customer base, which currently totals 25 million people distributed across Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

Prime Minister Theresa May was also clearly very pleased with the development. She told reporters that the extent of opportunity for London’s businesses across the African continent was immense. To date, 111 African businesses had come to the British capital to raise the funds they need to invest and expand. May indicated that she wanted to continue this trend, and cement the UK as a “partner of choice for African nations”.

She described the London businesses representatives who had accompanied her on her three-country African tour as a “fantastic showcase of the depth of world-class expertise and breadth of innovation which the capital is home to”.

If you’d like to read more about Azimo, take a look at our recent article here.

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