Ripple brings its crypto payments tech to Africa

MFS Africa will use Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity solution for crypto-enabled payments, aiming to make it easier for consumers and businesses to send and receive real-time payments with their smartphones across borders

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Ripple brings its crypto payments tech to Africa

Ripple has partnered with MFS Africa, the digital payments gateway, to bring its blockchain and crypto solutions to the continent. 

MFS Africa will use Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) solution for crypto-enabled payments, aiming to make it easier for consumers and businesses to send and receive real-time payments with their smartphones across borders. 

MFS Africa’s payments hub connects more than 400m mobile wallets across 35 countries. It operates across more than 800 payment corridors on the continent. 

Dare Okoudjou, chief executive officer at MFS Africa, said: “The Ripple-MFS Africa partnership represents a confident, important and bold first step for our crypto strategy to leverage blockchain technologies to amplify our impact on consumers and businesses on the continent and growth in a new economy.” 

This new economy will be fuelled by Africa’s rapidly growing population. Between 2017 and 2050, the populations of 26 African countries are projected to at least double. 

People are increasingly using a digital payment method to buy things or make a transfer, largely due to mobile money. Last year, according to GSMA, Africa accounted for 70% of the worlds $1t mobile money value, a 39% increase on the year before.  

Okoudjou recently wrote a guest editorial for Fintech Intel, explaining why card and mobile money interoperability, which needs to be completely borderless, are critical to empowering African consumers and entrepreneurs, and for the African fintech revolution to reach its full potential.  

Ripple has noticed that digital payments innovation in Africa is evolving at a rapid rate, signalling that now is the right time for it to move into the region.  

Brooks Entwistle, senior vice president, global customer success at Ripple, said: “Crypto can and is eliminating the traditional problems associated with cross-border payments such as lengthy transfer times, unreliability and excessive cost.” 

Ripple’s latest partnership comes on the back of its expansion into a dozen other markets this year. These include Lemonway, a France-based online marketplace provider, Brazil’s Travelex Bank and Singapore-based FOMO Pay. 

Entwistle said: “Despite market turmoil, 2022 has been an unprecedented year for crypto’s usage in enterprise use cases. Since Ripple’s inception ten years ago, our goal has been to help enterprises move money around the world the way that information does today.”  

Ripple’s ODL was first released in 2018 to provide low-cost cross-border payments, primarily remittances, and is now used for other reason, including bulk SME payments. 

ODL processes millions of transactions, in over 30 markets, including Singapore, Brazil and Thailand.   

Image: Canva