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Nigeria: Microsoft, Flutterwave to boost payment innovation in Africa

Microsoft and Flutterwave have entered into a five-year strategic technology partnership.

Under this agreement, Flutterwave will construct its next-generation platform using Microsoft’s Azure. The primary objective is to expedite payment innovation in Africa and promote the expansion of small businesses throughout the continent. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in Africa’s advancement and growth.

Around 90% of Africa’s population is believed to be working for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These businesses not only create employment but are also frequently the driving force behind innovation, offering solutions to some of Africa’s most significant societal problems. Despite their critical role in the African economy, small businesses and startups face substantial challenges on their path to success.

Research conducted by the African Union Development Agency reveals that approximately five out of every seven SMEs in Africa do not survive their first year. Likewise, the average startup failure rate in Africa stands at approximately 54 percent.

A significant hurdle for SMEs and startups is the limited access to financial services and the difficulty in conducting smooth transactions through local payment methods. Despite the fact that roughly 90 percent of transactions in Africa continue to rely on cash, up to half of small businesses lack access to credit.

Country Manager for Microsoft Nigeria, Ola Williams said “To drive sustainable growth in Nigeria, small businesses need the ability to participate more actively in the local and even global marketplace. This begins with digital financial inclusion. If we want to build a more resilient country and ultimately a more prosperous continent, we must begin by giving these businesses the digital financial services they need, not just to survive, but to thrive”.

Flutterwave’s core mission aligns perfectly with addressing the obstacles related to financial services access for businesses and linking them to the global arena. They achieve this by facilitating various payment methods, encompassing local and international cards, mobile wallets, and bank transfers. Notably, since its inception, Flutterwave has played a pivotal role in advancing the accessibility and inclusivity of payment systems in Africa.

Through its partnership with Microsoft, Flutterwave seeks to drive expansion and continue the transformation of payment solutions for African businesses. By shifting from its older infrastructure to Azure, Flutterwave can efficiently handle large-scale payments, guaranteeing a smooth and secure payment experience for its clientele. Additionally, by utilizing the Azure OpenAI Service, Flutterwave can extend its product offerings to a vast number of merchants globally.

Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola, said: “In our journey at Flutterwave, we’ve always strived to touch lives by simplifying payments and connecting dreams to opportunities.Today, as we join hands with Microsoft, it feels like a family reunion of visionaries and go-getters.  

“The excitement in our team is palpable because this partnership isn’t just about transactions – it’s about transformation. We’re honoured that Microsoft believes in our vision and trusts our capability. I am proud to say we’re not just dreaming of an inclusive digital Africa; we’re creating it.”

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