BitPesa and SBI Remit to Offer Blockchain Payments for Africans to Buy Japan’s Products


BitPesa Partners With SBI Remit For Blockchain Payments Between Africa And Japan

BitPesa, a Kenyan-based digital treasury management solution that leverages blockchain to improve speed and lower cost of payments, has joined hands with SBI Remit, a Japan-based remittance service provider, in a bid to make it easier for people in Africa to buy products from Japan.

The two companies are leveraging the power of blockchain technology to ensure there’s effective reduction of friction, and overall interoperability and efficiency of cross boarder payments is improved between the two continents.

Simplifying Conversions And Cross Continental Trade

The partnership between BitPesa and SBI Remit allows customers based in Africa to deposit funds directly to BitPesa’s bank account using their local currency. The founder and CEO of BitPesa, Elizabeth Rossiello, said in an interview that customers don’t need to do conversions, and that the transfer is processed faster compared to the two weeks that funds usually take to be processed by banks. In her own words, Rossiello said that:

“Using SBI Remit’s payout network, we transfer the money to SBI Remit, and they can pay out to their large Japanese network….They don’t need to do any conversion….Our fees are much lower than most banks’ transfer fees.”

The deal between the two companies also intends to address a demand by Japan-based businesses looking to enter the African market. According to Rossiello, there are over 400 registered businesses already operating in Africa in various industries, including used cars, electronics heavy machinery, and cosmetics. She further said that:

“While there is a growing interest in Africa, there is still a lot of hesitation due to market conditions and lack of hybrid financial infrastructure to support agile growth of businesses… Through our partnership with SBI Remit, we have created a secure, fast and easy-to-use forex solution for Japanese companies to buy and sell eight frontier market currencies with G20 currencies including Japanese yen. Businesses can do this instantly from and to all major African bank and mobile money accounts.”

Focus On Specific Industries

Whereas there are many industries currently expanding in the Japanese/African corridor, SBI Remit and BitPesa will focus on specific industries, including used cars, electronics, and Japanese cosmetics. For instance, Japanese car dealers will improve their payment operations, considering that transactions will be processed faster and there would be less forex risk between African buyers and Japanese exporters.

BitPesa has a wide range of customer base, both African businesses and multinational firms that pay their suppliers, provided there are in the UAE and China and paying to global remittance companies that use API services for mobile money and payments to networks in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Kenya.

African Governments Creating Barriers

According to Rossiello, businesses based in Japan and other Asian nations have been wary of conducting businesses in Africa for a long time because of the currency controls by African governments. She says that African central banks are usually afraid of value leaving their respective countries.

It’s also hard to come across services that help convert African currencies to G20 currencies, and those that are available charge exorbitant fees. As per Rossiello, there’s also lacks direct conversion among African currencies, and one has to first convert to a G20 currency, which is costly.

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