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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story

Fridays with Fintechs: Connecting Africa’s Young People to the Digital Economy

It was 2015 and I had just moved back to Nigeria from New York after years working as a travel writer. Surprisingly, life in Nigeria wasn’t as different as I imagined – thanks to the internet. For the first month I was able to stream music and movies from global companies, ride share and shop with my US credit card just like I did in New York. Everything felt right – until it was time to renew my subscriptions.

business ownerDespite having a bank account with one of Nigeria’s large and globally reputable banks, my local card was declined by my music streaming service when I tried to pay for it. Thanks to a partnership between Flutterwave and a local bank, I was eventually able to fund a virtual dollar card with my local debit card and resume streaming music.

My experience taught me that Africa needs a world-class payments infrastructure that connects us to the rest of the world. This is why at Flutterwave, we work very closely with global businesses and financial institutions to enable seamless and secure payment experiences for their African customers.

Today, our payments technology empowers global ridesharing marketplaces to scale quickly across Africa. They can also pay for foreign school fees and hospital bills and make instant payments via remittance platforms. In the last two years since we were founded, we’ve processed over $2 billion in payments across 30 million transactions in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and the United States.

Why is the work we do so important? By 2035, Sub-Saharan Africa will have more young people joining the labor force than the rest of the world combined. Yet today, the average African is excluded from the digital economy. This is because most payments in Africa are made with local payment methods like mobile money wallets, local cards or bank accounts that are not accepted by global platforms. Flutterwave can change that with a single payments platform that allows companies to make and accept any kind of payment, anywhere across Africa.

We joined the Mastercard Start Path program because Mastercard knowledge of payments and its demonstrated commitment to youth education and financial inclusion aligns with our mission to connect Africa’s young people to the digital economy. We look forward to continuing to grow our business and expand our cause throughout the program.