Digital international money transfers service Azimo, a fintech startup based in London with a technology team in Krakow, Poland, will be joining British Prime Minister Theresa May on her official delegation to Africa this week.
While Azimo is one of 29 companies invited to attend the PM’s first official visit to the continent, it is the only fintech firm selected. The visit will encompass Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa and is aiming to improve economic ties between Britain and each of these countries as the UK’s withdrawal from the EU draws ever closer.
The visit marks the first occasion a British premiere has visited the continent since 2013 and is the first time Kenya has been visited by one in 30 years.
May emphasised that Britain was seeking to strengthen and expand its global partnerships as the country prepares to withdraw from the EU. She confirmed that she was looking forward to discussing how to proceed with this project with these African nations to help generate important new investments and jobs. She also aims to discuss ways of sustaining security and stability together, she added.
Azimo has an extensive presence in Africa, where many of the recipients of its remittance services are located. It currently reaches over 5 billion potential customers by means of a repertoire of payout methods, including mobile wallets, bank deposits and cash.
Commenting on the trip, the cross-border payments innovator’s CEO, Michael Kent, said: “We are the only established Fintech player to be joining the Prime Minister on this trade delegation to Africa – a testimony to how quickly we have established ourselves as a Fintech leader in the global money transfer sector.
“UK Fintech generates billions of pounds to the economy and we are leading the world in financial innovation. It’s important we showcase the valuable contribution of this sector.”
Citing research from KPMG showing that Britain overtook the USA on fintech investment during the first half of this year, Azimo underlines the fact that the UK has also been the indisputable leader in fintech development across the European continent for many years. Britain, Kent says, has achieved widespread respect for punching above its weight in the field of innovative financial services solutions. Azimo says that it is now one of the most rapidly growing fintech companies in Europe.
Kent explained that the firm collaborates successfully with regional partners to deliver top-drawer international payments options for people wanting to send money abroad – people who have historically been underserved, such as the populations of many African countries. The aim he said was to “build a better and more inclusive future for financial services”.
In May this year, Azimo closed a $20 million Series C investment round led by Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten, taking its equity investment total to more than $50 million. The startup has been challenging established remittance providers like MoneyGram and Western Union with cheaper and swifter methods for consumers to send money abroad.
At the conclusion of the of Series C round, Kent expressed his confidence that, thanks to the innovations offered by firms like Azimo, traditional providers like MoneyGram and Western Union will be forced to go the way of the major banks and close many high street branches.