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Kenya’s Cellulant set to build a single payments API for Africa’s fintech companies & startups



Cellulant, a Pan-African payments company providing a one-stop digital payments platform says it’s set to build an application programming interface (API) for Africa’s payments companies to solve Africa’s payment problems.

“There is need for collaboration instead of having players building silos on their own,” said Felix Nthiga, GM Cellulant Kenya speaking at the CIO 100 Symposium. “We are creating single API for Africa that will see players share infrastructure and solve some of Africa’s payments problems. We believe that payments in Africa are not a novelty. A payments infrastructure is a critical pillar in the transformation of this continent, in much the same way railways transformed continents in the 19th century” 

Instead of having all the players in Africa building their own platform, Cellulant thinks an API for Africa would help players save time and money and give them the chance to bolster Africa’s payments ecosystem which is marred by outdated regulations and poor infrastructure. Apart from the single API for Africa, Cellulant is also connecting Africa with blockchain technology and has launched AgriCore to help farmers improve their yields. 

In December last year, Cellulant partnered with Kenya Airways to provide the airline with a variety of mobile and bank payment options to its customers paying for bookings online. On the platform, Cellulant partnered with Pesalink, a switch which has over thirty banks in Kenya, to offer bank payment options for Kenya Airways customers.

As a pan-African and international airline, Kenya Airways partners with different Fintech companies across the world to help it accept online payments and give its users the ability and the convenience to pay for their tickets at Kenya Airways website and mobile app. Using its Mula payment platform, cellulant allows customers in Kenya can to book their tickets online using over 30 mobile money wallets and banks. Cellulant said the capability was to be expanded across 33 countries in Africa, to include over 140 mobile money wallets and banks. It’s working with this many mobile wallets and banks that has inspired the firm to think of a single payments API for Africa.

Cellulant’s belief in providing solutions to everyday challenges across Africa has led to digitizing payments end to end for various value chains and as a result, providing increased transparency and broader reach within a single mobile commerce platform for financial sector players.

With a mission to build the number 1 payments business in Africa; led by values-driven entrepreneurial-minded people, Cellulant has commenced the third iteration of its business strategy anchored on consumer payments, internet payments, and marketplace payments. This is aimed at fixing Africa’s payments problems by connecting 700m mobile users to payments that power their daily lives.

Today, Cellulant’s payments platform spans 1 in 10 Africans, with 2.5 million doing monthly transactions. Cellulant’s coverage extends to 50% of banks in Africa and 17 million unbanked farmers in Africa. Cellulant debuted operations in Kenya and Nigeria in 2004 and has grown to operate across 11 African countries, including Zambia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda and a combined team of up to 350 people.



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