Why Africans can now shop internationally but pay locally


Adyen is expanding its payment network to a number of major African markets making it possible for Africans to shop internationally but pay locally.

The payments platform which prides itself as the choice for many of the world’s leading companies is seeking a share of the mobile money transfer Africa is already enjoying. It is also growing the number of online payment services available to users on the continent.

On Tuesday, June 4, Adyen announced the expansion further increasing its capability to offer key payment methods around the world through a partnership with Cellulant.

Mobile money operators, merchants and banks in Africa

Cellulant is a respected Pan-African financial technology company.

The partnership between the two companies means the continent’s citizens have more options to send money to Africa.

In a statement, the company said, “Adyen’s move into Africa highlights how its single payment platform can drive growth with one integration and no extra contracts.”

By partnering with Cellulant, Adyen will have access to 40 mobile money operators, over 600 local and international merchants and over 120 banks in Africa with just a single integration to Cellulant’s payment platform.

Cellulant is the processor of over 12 per cent of Africa’s digital payments including through M-Pesa which revolutionised the mobile phone direct pay payment gateway.

Targeting Africa’s 1.2 billion people

This partnership will provide Adyen with further access to a potential addressable consumer base of over 220M who use either debit/credit card, the mobile money transfer system including mobile money and mobile banking payment options.

“We are happy to extend our payments capabilities to Adyen and their customers. This presents a growth opportunity for global businesses who are looking to accept all forms of payments in Africa,” Cellulant Chief Business Officer for Global Payments, David Waithaka, said.

He added, “In the next three to five years, five out of the top 10 world’s fastest growing economies will be in Africa and with a population of 1.2B, this is the right time for global businesses to be looking at Africa.”

“This partnership with Adyen is in line with Cellulant’s mission to connect businesses and their customers to a single payments platform that allows them to make and receive payments across the continent,” Waithaka added.

Merchants that wish to accept payments in Africa can now access key local payment methods via Adyen. These include platforms such as M-Pesa, Airtel Money, Equitel, Tigo Pesa and MTN Mobile Money. Also, several online and mobile banking payment methods will be accessible on the platform.

This comes next to the existing gateway capabilities Adyen offers for credit card processing in countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt.

“We are excited to extend our payment capabilities into key African markets. With Adyen, businesses can cater to local expectations and needs, wherever their customers are,” said Roelant Prins, CCO at Adyen.

“Eliminating boundaries across channels and geographies will help our customers’ businesses to expand by making these markets more accessible,” Prins added.

Adding these key payment methods extends the capabilities of Adyen’s global payment methods offering, which already extends across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific.

How Kenyans pay their bills

Africa is home to the world’s most mature mobile payment market. The continent skipped desktop banking and jumped straight to the mobile courtesy of M-Pesa.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 21 per cent of adults has a mobile money account with many other African nations quickly adopting mobile payments to counter the large population of unbanked citizens.

Card penetration remains low, with a large proportion of Africans continuing to use cash.

While Europe and North America and the rest of the world are still playing catch-up in the mobile money game, Kenyans are big fans of mobile money.

90.4 per cent of Kenyans has a smartphone, and approximately 50 per cent of smartphones in Kenya are used to make payments.

A significant population of Kenyans are still without traditional banking facilities.

Mobile money allows Kenyans to pay their bills online without having to queue in banks or the post office.

Shopping payments easier for Kenyans through Western Union, AliExpress

In March this year, AliExpress joined the fray jostling Amazon to make online shopping payments easier for Kenyans.

This is after Safaricom and Ant Financial Services announced a partnership that would allow Kenyans shopping on AliExpress to pay for their purchases using M-Pesa.

The move especially targets micro-traders in the country who source for goods and other supplies from manufacturers in China.

The partnership with the world’s largest fintech services provider signifies Safaricom’s continued push to position M-Pesa as a truly global mobile money transfer and payments platform.

Earlier in February, Western Union unveiled a new payment option allowing Amazon customers in Kenya to pay in local currency for their Amazon purchases.

The company in cross-border, cross-currency money movement was offering the service in 10 countries initially.

These included Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.

The service was to enable customers who prefer to pay in cash to shop conveniently at Amazon.

For the African consumer, the partnership between Adyen and Cellulant means they can now access services offered by global brands ranging from travel and entertainment, among others, with the convenience of paying in local currency using the available local payment methods.

Read: Mobile money making Africa ‘bankable’, Here are Africa’s biggest online shopping countries, Mobile money to keep Africa’s banking afloat

I have 10 years of experience in multimedia journalism and I use the skills I have gained over this time to meet and ensure goal-surpassing editorial performance. Africa is my business and development on the continent is my heartbeat. Do you have a development story that has to be told? Reach me at njenga.h@theexchange.africa and we can showcase Africa together.

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