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BitPesa, SBI Remit Partner for blockchain payments between Japan and Africa


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BitPesa, a digital treasury management solution that leverages the blockchain solution to reduce costs and improve the speed of payments to and from frontier markets, has partnered with SBI Remit, the largest provider of Japan's remittance services, to make it easier for Africans to buy Japanese products

The two companies are taking advantage of blockchain technology to reduce friction, improve efficiency and interoperability for cross-border payments between the two continents. The partnership will help companies grow faster between Japan and Africa.

Simplified Conversions

The partnership allows the African client to deposit funds in their local currency directly into the local BitPesa bank account, Elizabeth Rossiello, founder and CEO of Nairobi, Kenya based on Bitpesa, told CCN. "They do not need to do any conversion," he said. "Our rates are much lower than most bank transfer fees." Furthermore, the transfer takes place much more quickly than the two weeks that most banks would employ, depending on the amount.

"Using SBI Remit's payment network, we transfer the money to SBI Remit, and they can pay for their large Japanese network," he said. "There's a flow of funds from Africans in Japan."

Focus On Key Industries

While there are numerous expanding industries in the Africa / Japan corridor, BitPesa and SBI Remit will focus on certain sectors, such as Japanese cosmetics, electronics and used cars. For example, Japanese car dealers will be able to improve their payment transactions and reduce the risk of exchange between Japanese exporters and African buyers. BitPesa's merchant collection solution will also allow them to expand more easily into new markets.

The partnership marks the first with an African company for SBI Remit, a subsidiary of the SBI Group, which has helped pioneering financial services, especially on the Internet, in Japan.

BitPesa customers range from African companies and multinational companies that pay suppliers to China and the United Arab Emirates to global remittance companies that use API services for payments to mobile money operators and banking networks in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania , Uganda, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

One of the biggest demands in Africa is for used cars, said Rossiello. A Kenyan shopping for a used Japanese online car will typically have to find a bank that will convert its Kenyan currency into a G20 currency, and then convert it into Japanese yen before sending the funds to the Japanese company's bank account.

Some Japanese companies have accounts in African countries, he said, but this does not take away from the long-awaited conversion of the weeks.

"Regardless of the way they are going, they still have to go through a complex currency conversion," he said

Simplifying Continental Continental

The partnership also addresses a demand from Japanese companies to enter the African market.
There are more than 400 registered Japanese companies already active in Africa, including cosmetics, heavy machinery for electronics and automobiles, he said.

"They need a simpler way for the African customer to be able to pay them directly," Rossiello said.

"While there is a growing interest in Africa, there is still much hesitation due to market conditions and the lack of hybrid financial infrastructure to support the agile growth of businesses," he said. "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 the Japanese yen. to all the major bank and mobile accounts of the African bank. "

African governments create barriers

Companies in Japan and other Asian countries have long been wary of doing business in Africa because of the currency of African governments checks, he noted. "Central banks (Africans) fear the value of leaving the country," he said.

It is also difficult to find services to convert African currencies into G20 currencies. When such services exist, they involve high commissions

There are no direct conversions between African currencies, said Rossiello. To convert from one African currency to another, it is usually necessary to first convert to a G20 currency. Conversion costs are particularly high for smaller companies.

"This is not a small problem on the African continent," said Rossiello. United Airlines, for example, stopped its activity in Nigeria in the early 2000s due to problems with repatriation of funds, he said.

Making funds more liquid decreases the Japanese company's risk of entering the African market, he said.

Other incoming partnerships

BitPesa, which is authorized by both the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom and the Bank of Spain to operate in the European Union, will seek more similar partnerships with SBI Remit as more international regions increase exchanges with Africa, said Rossiello

In the past, BitPesa has focused on the Europe / Africa corridor, one of the most active corridors in the world, he said.

"We are looking at how we can open access to Africa to other parts of the world as well," he said. "Our vision is to accelerate the growth of companies in the frontier markets."

"Africa has become a strategic interest for the SBI Group recently and we have looked for innovative solutions to better collaborate and serve our customers," said Nobuo Ando, ​​representative director of SBI Remit. "With the growing interest of collaboration between Japan and African countries, we will be able to leverage BitPesa's expertise in the market and the technological capability to offer efficient FX solutions."

Image highlighted by Shutterstock.

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