Interswitch, one of Africa’s leading technology-driven companies focused on payments with headquarter in Lagos, Nigeria has partnered with Interstellar, an enterprise Blockchain infrastructure services company to provide blockchain-powered infrastructure solutions across the African continent. Both companies are getting set for what would be the blockchain revolution on the African market with numerous initiatives including a Pan African Payment Ecosystem (PAPE) powered by a private permissioned blockchain network which includes a consortium of Banks and Fintech players.
In recent times, the adoption of Cryptocurrency has rapidly grown on the continent. According to a report revealed by Chainanalysis, a blockchain analysis company between July 2020 and June 2021, the African cryptocurrency market has grown by a whopping 1,200 percent. Blockchain transactions running into about $105.6 billion between countries like Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania representing a chunk of it while Bitcoin remains the most traded digital currency. As the adoption of digital currencies continues, digital currencies have slowly become one of the standard payment methods with central banks on the continent looking to create their own indigenous coins. For instance, despite the ban on bitcoin, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is on the verge of rolling out its own unique digital currency called the eNaira.
As both companies have proven leading enablers of some of the biggest transactions on the continent, this partnership couldn’t have happened at a better time. In over the past 2 years, Interstellar and Interswitch have begun enjoying collaborative efforts in carrying out blockchain technology research. As part of the partnership, Interstellar’s Blockchain technology has approved that stack called STARGATE be integrated with Interswitch’s leading payments technology. This partnership will advance both parties’ vision to drive greater financial inclusion and prosperity across the continent of Africa. This partnership will see an integration of both technologies enable users to make bitcoin payments across the 5 African countries where Interswitch operates. This will facilitate trade and create ease for blockchain payments across Africa, especially within the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The safety and security of seamless payment and transaction enabled within these networks occur as a result of existing baseline infrastructures supplied by both parties, this relationship can be likened to the relationship between a train and the train tracks.
Ernest Mbenkum, Founder and CEO at Interstellar while making comments about the partnership said, “We are delighted to have established this strategic partnership with Interswitch, one of Africa’s most valuable fintech businesses. This marks the genesis of an innovative and collaborative partnership aimed at delivering impact-focused and enterprise-grade blockchain-powered services across the African continent.”
Akeem Lawal, Divisional Chief Executive Officer for Transaction Switching and Payment Processing at Interswitch while also making comments said “We are excited to partner with Interstellar on this journey and we look forward to the amazing things we will achieve together in the African market. This will enable us to progressively digitize multiple industry value-chains across African markets whilst also supporting the actualization of the Pan African Payment Ecosystem, riding the wave of opportunities created by such initiatives as the AfCFTA.”
With strategic partnerships such as this, issues of settlement, dependency on hard currencies, and currency fluctuations will greatly reduce while blockchain technology continues to improve and businesses focus on expansion and taking new territories.