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For several decades, the African continent has suffered from low levels of intra-trade compared to other parts of the world, which has consequently hampered the growth of the African economy. To meet this challenge, African countries banded together to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to increase, strengthen and deepen intra-African trade.

The creation of the AfCFTA created the opportunity for a single market for trade in goods and services on the continent, thereby raising the level of intra-continental trade. Passing the AfCFTA is expected to create the largest free trade area in the world by number of participating countries, potentially connecting 1.3 billion people across 55 countries.

Financial experts believe that the establishment of AfCFTA has opened a window of opportunity for financial institutions to bridge the gap between the financially excluded and develop cross-border financial products that provide customers with seamless and secure financial services.

In line with its aspirations to build a prosperous African economy and make payments in Africa less of a hassle, Africa’s leading integrated payments and digital commerce company, Interswitch, has introduced a host of innovative products and solutions aimed at empowering Africa’s Transforming economy as strengthening the continent’s digital payments ecosystem.

The company made this known during its first Breakfast Session in Sierra Leone, where it invited stakeholders and customers to a robust and insightful session aimed at helping Sierra Leone businesses thrive. The company organized the event to discuss how African businesses can use digital payments to unlock endless opportunities and drive growth in the financial industry.

At the breakfast session, Olubunmi Aina, Group Head Sales, Payment Processing and Switching (Interswitch Purepay), said the company is committed to building a prosperous African economy by developing innovative cross-border payment products and solutions that enable businesses to grow in Sierra Leone and beyond.

He said: “Over the past two decades, we have consistently developed products that address financial issues within the payments ecosystem. We’ve equally facilitated payments, built infrastructure, and provided world-class technology and support that help financial institutions deliver world-class services to their customers.

He continued, “We are here in Sierra Leone to replicate the successes we have achieved in other parts of Africa by bringing secure digital payment products to the Sierra Leone market to further drive growth and profitability for businesses.”

Reinforcing the expert opinion that without a functioning and effective payments system, Africa will not be able to facilitate international and regional trade, Interswitch presented five products to the distinguished audience at the breakfast session. The products; Postillion Retail Payment, Interswitch Banking-as-a-Service; Interswitch Payment as a Service; Agency Banking and Card Fusion are designed to address prevailing issues within the ecosystem and offering; Protection against digital payment fraud, effective financing tools for lenders, seamless integration with newer payment channels and improving business development.

While the products are aimed at commercial banks, microfinance banks, fintechs, other financial institutions and their customers, they will significantly improve the digital payment solutions that financial institutions offer their customers.

To demonstrate the ease of onboarding, session attendees were introduced to the company’s products, allowing them to more quickly integrate new payment channels with intuitive and flexible technologies.

In addition to the benefits that the products bring to customers, the company organized the breakfast session in Sierra Leone to bring together key players in the financial industry with the ultimate goal of deepening the growth of digital payments in the country.

Aina noted that Interswitch is committed to advancing digital payments in Africa and will continue to advance cross-border payments, financial inclusion and payment interoperability through its innovative products and solutions.

If Africa is to realize the expected domestic revenue growth of around 20 percent per year and reach around US$40 billion by 2025, it is imperative that players within the ecosystem drive digital payment on the continent and reduce the cost of cross-payments -Marginal Payments.

Interswitch, as Africa’s leading digital payments company, has risen to the challenge and is ensuring that critical markets across Africa, such as Sierra Leone, are empowered with the launch of its products with alternative payment methods. The technology company uses its technical skills to provide payment infrastructures for financial institutions in order to reduce friction and promote integration. Its innovative products ensure that consumers’ rapidly evolving payment needs are consistently met and even exceeded.

Interswitch isn’t just a proponent of seamless and convenient payment solutions; The company has consistently used technology for 20 years to drive growth and prosperity for Africans across Africa.

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