Access Holdings, led by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, is pushing for the biggest share of the remittance market in East and West Africa. The Holdco is partnering with Coronation Group to forge a relationship with Safaricom and M-Pesa Africa to provide a remittance corridor between East and West Africa. 

Access Holdings recently made its biggest play in East Africa with the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of National Bank of Kenya Limited. 

“This partnership encompasses more than a convergence of capabilities; it signifies the fusion of collective expertise, resources, and an unwavering commitment to drive financial inclusion, empowering millions throughout Africa,” Aig-Imoukhuede said.

Nigeria and Kenya are the first and third largest recipients of diaspora remittances in sub-Saharan Africa, data from the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief report shows. In 2023, remittances to Nigeria accounted for 38% of the total $58 billion remittance flows to the region, growing by 2%, while Ghana and Kenya, posted estimated gains of 5.6% and 3.8%, respectively. 

As the largest consumer bank in Africa with over 60 million customers in 21 countries, Access Bank will significantly boost its remittance business by tackling the challenges customers face in making remittances within and outside the continent.

The collaboration, which is subject to approval from the Kenyan financial authorities, will see the players connect more than 60 million customers and 5 million businesses across 8 countries and process more than $1 billion a day in transaction value. Access Holdings which has a presence in 14 African countries and is the largest consumer banking institution, is expected to provide technology-infused financial services and Coronation Group will bring its technology expertise to the deal. 

M-Pesa, the mobile money platform of Safaricom, currently dominates the mobile money market in Kenya with a 96.5% share of the market. Another report has shown that 32% of remittances in Kenya are through mobile money operators. But M-Pesa is facing a future separate from Safaricom. In December 2023, Kamau Thugge, governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, said plans to split M-Pesa from Safaricom were ongoing to minimize shocks.

“African countries trade more with nations outside the continent than within themselves. Initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) seek to address the lack of intra-continental trade. This partnership with Safaricom, Coronation Group and Access Holdings seeks to explore remittance corridors between East and West Africa, bringing alive the AfCFTA spirit,” said Sitoyo Lopokoyit, managing director, M-Pesa Africa. 

The first phase of the collaboration will concentrate on the biggest markets along the East and West African corridor, including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and Tanzania. 

Frank Eleanya Senior Reporter, TechCabal

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