Kenya’s Cellulant Partners Tanzanian Fintech NALA for Overseas Payments

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Akshay Grover, Group CEO, Cellulant & Benjamin Fernandes, Group CEO, Nala.

NALA, a Tanzania based Fintech company, has teamed up with Kenya’s Cellulant, a Pan-African Payments Company, to oversee and allow remittance payments from the United Kingdom and the United States into Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ghana for customers.

Besides Official Direct Assistance (ODA), remittances make up the second-largest source of external resources for Sub-Subsaharan Africa, according to Cellulant.

In 2019, approximately $48 billion was remitted in Africa, with Nigeria receiving roughly 50% of this amount, followed by Ghana and Kenya. Despite a decline in remittance inflows in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, countries such as Kenya and Ghana experienced an increase in cross-border payments. Remittance inflows into Sub-Saharan picked up again and grew roughly by 6% in 2021.

Transaction fees absorb a large percentage of the billions sent to Africa every year. The cost of sending money into Africa is the highest across all regions. Tanzania and Kenya remain the highest with charges at 17% and 21% respectively for every $200 sent. With increased intra-African trade between Africa and the rest of the world, the transaction cost is one of the barriers to success in facilitating cross-border payments.

The new partnership between Cellulant and NALA aims to facilitate seamless cross-border payments and significantly reduce the cost of sending money from the UK and the US into Africa.

“Today, Sub-Saharan Africa is the most expensive region to transfer money into,” NALA’s COO, Nicolai Eddy, said.

“In Tanzania and across the African continent, there is a huge opportunity to harness technology to reduce payment fees and build next-generation payment and banking products. At NALA, we’ve built a completely digital platform for individuals and businesses based in the UK and US to send money to their friends, family, and employees in Africa. Cellulant is one of the early payment pioneers on the continent, and we chose to partner with them because of their deep expertise in the space and their strong technical capabilities.”

Cellulant provides a single API payments platform, Tingg, that enables global, regional and local businesses to collect payments online and offline while allowing anyone to pay from their mobile money, local and international cards or directly from their bank. The platform powers payments for 220 million consumers on a single inclusive network, allowing interoperability across Africa.

“Cellulant solves a huge challenge for businesses coming into Africa since they have to deal with 54-55 different payment providers and multiple currencies, with at least one for each country. With our presence in 35 countries, we are able to cover all these needs through a Single platform, Single API, Single contract, One web tool and a Single point of managing all operations. This partnership complements Nala’s fully digital cross-border payment capabilities with the necessary infrastructure to enable them to deliver their services in the continent effectively,” said David Waithaka, Cellulant’s Chief Revenue Officer.

NALA, a Y-Combinator-backed company, provides an app for Africans living in the United Kingdom and the United States to send money to the continent seamlessly. NALA is currently active in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ghana and is preparing to join the Nigerian and Ethiopian markets. The company is looking forward to expanding its services across Africa, the United States, and Canada.


Edited by Luis Monzon
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