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Fintech Minka Looks for Partners in Africa to ‘Replicate’ LATAM Payments Success

Colombia real-time payment platform Minka is hoping to replicate the success of its Latin America-based real-time payments system in Africa following its recent $24million funding booty.

Minka, the open payment network that enables organisations to move money in real-time, has unveiled plans to partner with clearing houses and central banks across Africa.

According to the fintech, the opportunity in Africa for Minka’s platform is profound, given the similarities between countries on the continent and in the Latin America region.

It references that:

  • Cash payments remain a primary mode of transacting, presenting blue-ocean opportunities in real-
    time, blockchain-style transacting
  • Both have similarly high levels of financial exclusion
  • Many countries retain a traditional dependence on legacy financial infrastructure, including cash,
    cheques, electronic payments and credit card rails
  • Financial systems in both regions were developed over long periods of time as a series of separate,
    non-operable networks with limited means to securely and efficiently transfer balances or exchange
    information with one another.

Founded in 2018, Minka provides building blocks that allow clients to develop a mobile wallet, digital bank, clearinghouse, loyalty program or local currency through blockchain concepts and application programming interfaces (APIs).

Its expansion plans follows a $24million funding round led by Tiger Global and Kaszek in April 2022.

“The flexibility of this solution is one of the great benefits we can bring to the African market,” explains Paola Sánchez, Minka’s co-founder and head of bizops. “Our (API) based technology is completely agnostic to the use cases that are needed in a region, which allows us to build a platform for any type of payment exchange, in both the public and private sectors, in a matter of weeks or months as opposed to years.

“The hundreds of layers of different payment wallets and cross-border remittance options are complicated by thousands of separate ERPs and other ledgers. This reliance on legacy platforms to move money better is only papering over the cracks of the main issue, which is the fact that the old legacy system needs to be completely revised.”

Replicating LATAM success

One of the largest open banking projects in Latin America, Minka’s TransfiYa project, is currently used by almost two million Colombians to send money using only a mobile number. It will also soon support one-click purchases, pay- outs and collections and includes direct read-and-write API access to 80 per cent of accounts in the country.

“With a proven use-case in Colombia, we have built an infrastructure that will allow the financial services sector in any country or region in Africa to create an almost unlimited number of financial options for  people,” says Sánchez. “We intend to replicate this success in markets across the world including Africa, which has leapfrogged into the fintech space and has similar demographics and levels of financial exclusion of those in Latin America.”

Minka plans to partner with clearing houses and central banks across the continent, particularly in those countries that lack an established real-time payments infrastructure such as: Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger and Zimbabwe.

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