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Economy & Money

Ghana’s Zeepay Mobile – Money to Expand To South Africa And Rwanda

Ghana’s Zeepay plans to raise $10m in equity funding to support the creation of new mobile-money hubs in East and Southern Africa, Andrew Takyi-Appiah, co-founder and managing director, tells The Africa Report.

The new hubs, which will include processing centres and back offices, are likely to be in Rwanda and South Africa, says Takyi-Appiah from Accra. He adds that the use of Swahili in Rwanda makes it a good platform from which to reach out to other markets in the region.

The company, which has so far grown through local investment, is seeking $10m in new equity funding. Zeepay, advised by the South African office of Verdant Capital, is targeting investment from remittance companies and private-equity firms. Takyi-Appiah says Zeepay aims to close the fundraising round by the end of June.

The money will be used for marketing and distribution, hiring and creating the hubs. Some of it will also be used as capital paid to enter new markets, such as Gambia.

Zeepay is active in nine markets and aims to enter a further nine new countries this year. These will include Burkina Faso, Gambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Madagascar; though a physical presence will only be needed in countries chosen as hubs. Zeepay has lined up partnerships with Orange, MTN and local players which will enable it to operate.

The company is aiming for 100,000 transactions per month in each of its new markets. In total, Zeepay is targeting 2 million transactions in 2021 for a value of $400m. Venture capital firm GOOD soil VC recently bought out one of Zeepay’s shareholders. The fact that GOOD soil has the Ghanaian foreign-exchange (FX) broker Obsidian Achernar in its portfolio will add value to its stake in Zeepay, says Takyi-Appiah. He adds that Zeepay will be able to offer better FX rates and will have liquidity available for settlement.

Zeepay provides digital rails to connect mobile-money wallets, tokens, bank cards and ATMs. It began operations in its largest market, Ghana, in 2016.

Takyi-Appiah says he saw opportunity in the fact that customers had to wait for days and queue up to obtain remittances sent to banks. Foreign expansion soon followed, and Zeepay now counts Côte d’Ivoire and Zimbabwe as its second- and third-largest markets.

Zeepay received an Electronic Money Issuer license to operate as a mobile financial services company from the Bank of Ghana in April 2020. In September, it agreed a partnership with Visa allowing diaspora Africans to send money directly onto Visa debit and prepaid cards in Ghana.

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