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Ghanaian Fintech company Zeepay is fast becoming a leading player in the international mobile payments ecosystem. The mobile financial services provider recently partnered with MoneyGram, one of the world’s most recognisable remittance companies, in a move that will allow customers across the globe to send money directly to all mobile wallets in Ghana within minutes.
Here, we speak to Zeepay’s co-founder and director Andrew Takyi-Appiah about their recent collaboration, and Africa’s blossoming fintech landscape.
Congratulations on truly going global with your partnership with Moneygram. 200 countries around the world and three ways to get your money as a customer. This is a solid business strategy that covers the formal and informal economy. What does this mean for Zeepay?
Well thank you for asking and great to be on your platform. Our vision is to be a global remittance company with operations spanning all across the continent. At Zeepay we are aware the remittance industry is a $600 billion dollar one, and see every country/continent as an opportunity. Our strategy is to operate across key receivable markets such as Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and parts of Central and North America. Our partnership with MoneyGram is only the beginning. The real work is being able to transcend the success we have achieved in Ghana globally.
How do you see the fintech sector shaping up over the next five to ten years in Africa?
Over the next five years, I believe most markets in middle Africa will have a clear directive on Fintech and a better insight and oversight of our operations. It will appreciate that our involvement is not delinquent but a friendly one that is assisting financial intermediaries to improve service offerings in the interest of the consumer as well as a force that is driving prices down. When I look in my crystal ball a foresee a few giants rising to become key global players shaping the global fintech community. I believe Zeepay will be part of that force and will remain a thought leader as well in the ecosystem.
As a startup that has partnered with a traditional industry giant, what are the clear advantages that arise from your union with MoneyGram?
Working with MoneyGram has been a wonderful grace. Our partnership with them exposes us to a lot of strict governance and compliance, as well as the need to maintain standards. For us, we truly like this as it can only make us a better entity and give us a good shot in the global community.
Let’s talk a little bit about interoperability – how could it transform Ghana?
I believe financial inclusion cannot be attained without full interoperability. This is where all platforms talk to each other seamlessly. Not just the same offering, eg. wallet to wallet. But rather; account to wallet; card to wallet; wallet to card; wallet to account; card to wallet etc. Simply, a more coherent and frictionless mode of payments.
We need these rails both at the domestic and continental level to reach full financial inclusion, as it would also drive costs down and give the consumer choice. As well as define the ecosystem properly, such that we would have clear players like EMI – wallet issuers, payment service providers (PSP), aggregators, and application service providers. Zeepay is a fully interoperable platform that rivals any company out there. We run on Oracle 12G and have the ability to process 200,000 transactions per second in full optimum capacity. Granted, we are highly underutilized and look forward to our current African expansion where we can make better use of our rails.
How does your partnership with MoneyGram consolidate the many parts of the financial value chain?
Our partnership with MoneyGram allows the consumer to enjoy an omnichannel where, based on their need, they can either receive funds into their [mobile] wallet, bank account or pick cash up across the entire financial services ecosystem. It also offers MoneyGram first-mover advantage in offering the full service in Ghana, with access to over 340,000-plus distribution points alone for cash out through mobile wallet termination of remittance.
Which two companies in Africa do you currently admire and why? What are they doing right that you think other African companies should emulate and learn from?
Rancard is one of the companies I admire on the continent. I love their operating model. It is local but very global, and they have a strong leadership and governance. All should learn from that. I also do admire Ecobank; they were relevant from day one, with the right corporate governance structures. There is a high sense of ownership and young and dynamic teams with a very can-do spirit. The bank has expanded well and across major African countries, and at Zeepay we envy that. We are proud to announce that today we have integrated 19 African countries. We’re on the verge of becoming a truly African Mobile Financial Services Company.
Final question… Your greatest positive learnings over the years having done business in Ghana, Africa and beyond – what is your biggest takeaway so far?
The African market tends to celebrate you only when you cross over into stardom. It’s rather unfortunate I must say. Firms like us learnt this very early, so pushed and pushed hard not sleeping nor resting. My learnings are to not give up. Form partnerships very early, and be willing to share and collaborate. Develop your teams and invest a lot in the business so it grows fast rather than pulling money out all the time. Have a strong board and adhere to the strictest corporate governance. Ensure there is accountability from day one and implement structures that allow for accountability and compliance.