Celpay’s 5-year African expansion to cost US$10M

Celpay, a Netherlands-based mobile payment solutions leader, has said it plans to invest around US$10 million on African expansion over the next five years to increase bank account penetration on the continent.

The firm said the investment was part of its ambition to create a seamless banking platform to make access to financial services easier for Africa’s unbanked population, which currently stands at 250 million households.

“We are trying to cover all the countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the long-term but over the five years, we are injecting a minimum of $10 million in this region,” Celpay CEO Lazarus Muchenze told the Zambia Post.

The countries targeted include Malawi, Angola and Mozambique.

Celpay currently has bases in Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it handles and processes transactions worth US$25 million each month from payments made by individuals and corporate firms.

Celpay in 2002 launched in Zambia the world’s first mobile financial service in emerging markets. It currently has a network of agents in the country who facilitate its operations. It has also partnered with Zambian six banks to provide the mobile payment solution.

Celpays announcement to invest the huge amounts of money is further confirmation that investors are gaining confidence in the investment opportunities in Africa. Africa is positioned to become the second fastest growing region in the world, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting it will see 6 percent economic growth in 2012 alone.

A 2012 Africa Attractiveness Survey by Ernst & Young shows that the number of projects in Africa grew 27 percent from 2010 to 2011 with inflows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) forecast to reach US$150 billion by 2015.

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