“As a payment processor company, we saw a lot of potential in bitcoin. Then we, as a company, started looking for a partner to work with in order to satisfy the inquires from customers and build that innovation we that needed in our market,” said Voguepay co-founder Geoffrey Weli Wosu.
Last month, South African bitcoin exchange, IceCUBED, expanded their exchange to Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy. The company partnered with the country’s largest payment processor, VoguePay, to allow Nigerians to buy and sell bitcoins with mobile phones.
The country is an economic powerhouse but is still developing and, like many African countries, its banking system is severely underdeveloped. Nearly 80% of the country’s population does not have access to banking services, according the international research agency, Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access.
The lack of banking services has resulted in most Nigeria being cut off from basic financial services. More importantly,the country has been cut off from the online business opportunities.
“I think bitcoin will encourage local business entrepreneurs to practice in a global market. A ordinary man in Ghana or Kenya should be confident that if he creates a product or gets a job [over the internet] in London that he will get paid. And that the person in London can pay confidently without giving them their credit card.”
According to Geoffrey, the company has already received a lot of requests to provide easier online payments from their merchants. That is why VoguePay, in a continued partnership with IceCUBED, will be integrating bitcoin into their merchant payment processing service later this year.
“Building relationships with reputable companies such as IceCUBED in South Africa, who are also focused on making e-payment accessible to as many people as possible; we will continue to set the pace of the Nigerian online payment industry. The example we are setting will pave the way for young African entrepreneurs to foster better business relationships, making the online markets more accessible to millions of Africans,” wrote Geoffrey in a press release.
Nigeria also suffers from difficult and expensive remittance services. This difficulty is particularly negative for Nigeria, since it is the largest receiver of remittances in Africa — with more than $20 billion flowing into the country each year. Along with their merchant payment processing service, IceCUBED is looking into providing a remittance service between the UK and Nigeria but has not has confirmed the date of the service.
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