Flutterwave, the largest payment provider in Africa, said it is ditching its legacy cloud provider to join Microsoft as part of global payment growth objectives. The five-year strategic technology partnership enables the payment technology company to build its next-generation platform on Microsoft Azure, with the goal of fast-tracking payment innovation in Africa and accelerating the growth of small businesses across the continent.
Microsoft Azure is in the top three biggest cloud providers in the world and it is a perfect partnership for Flutterwave which has so far processed over 550 million transactions worth over $32 billion and serves more than 2 million businesses. The company also boast of international payment processing in 150 currencies and multiple payment modes including local and international cards, mobile wallets, and bank transfers. It has an infrastructure that reaches over 34 African countries, including Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa.
Flutterwave has its sights set on becoming a publicly listed company in the near future. To achieve that it needs to show its infrastructure is sturdy enough to accommodate transactions from around the world. For Microsoft, the partnership means it is playing a bigger role in the growing fintech ecosystem on the continent.
Ola Williams, Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, says the target for the company is the digitalisation of the SME segment of the economy.
“To drive sustainable growth in Nigeria, small businesses need the ability to participate more actively in the local and even global marketplace. This begins with digital financial inclusion. If we want to build a more resilient country and ultimately a more prosperous continent, we must begin by giving these businesses the digital financial services they need, not just to survive, but to thrive,” Williams said.
SMEs continue to play a crucial role in the progress and development of the continent. They employ about 90 percent of the continent’s population, according to the latest estimates. They are also at the forefront of innovation, providing solutions to Africa’s most pressing societal challenges.
However, these businesses face difficult challenges in their journey to succeed. Research by Statista projects that the average startup failure rate in Africa stands at around 54 percent. One of the challenges facing SMEs is access to financial services and the inability to transact seamlessly across local payment methods. 90 percent of transactions are carried out in cash while half of the small businesses are without access to credit.
Flutterwave says joining Azure enables it to process high-volume payments at scale, ensuring a seamless and secure payment experience for its clients. It also offers the potential to scale its product offering to million of merchants worldwide.
“Today, as we join hands with Microsoft, it feels like a family reunion of visionaries and go-getters. The excitement in our team is palpable because this partnership isn’t just about transactions – it’s about transformation,” said Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola, founder and CEO of Flutterwave. “We’re honoured that Microsoft believes in our vision and trusts our capability. I am proud to say we’re not just dreaming of an inclusive digital Africa, we’re creating it.”
The partnership also allows Flutterwave to launch transactable solutions on Azure Marketplace including its SMB finance-as-a-service offering, further extending the company’s reach.
“Microsoft is committed to fast-tracking economic growth in Africa through the transformative power of technology – a key part of this involves making it possible for SMEs to acquire the digital financial tools and services they need to succeed,” said Lillian Barnard, President of Microsoft Africa. “We believe greater access to technology and innovation holds the key to building thriving local businesses that will create stronger economies to enable a brighter future for all.”