During the announcement of its $170 million Series C fund in March 2021, Flutterwave disclosed that it will extend its payments network to Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia by Q1 2021.
Although it is unclear if the operations commenced at the time, the African fintech unicorn recently hired Omar Marwan, an ex-business development manager at Opay as its Country Commercial Lead in Egypt and the rest of the Middle East and North Africa region, and has since hired and is still for other roles in the region.
The Nigerian-founded fintech company today announced that it has obtained payment services provider and payments facilitator licenses from the National Bank of Egypt.
"The licenses will enable us to be the go-to payment processor and digital transformation partner for global settlements in Egypt, which enables our customers to expand quickly within or outside of the country. This, for us, is the beginning of other strategic wins in the North Africa and Middle East regions," Aalaa Gamal, Flutterwave North Africa Expansion Lead, said.
The digital payments market in North Africa and the Middle East is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 13.3% until 2026, driven by mobile phone and internet penetration, according to Mordor Intelligence.
With the acquired licences, Flutterwave will act as an official payment service provider in the country, collect payments on behalf of its customers and settle payments locally and globally. These licences will also allow Flutterwave to deploy Flutterwave for Business suite of products including store, payment links, invoices, and checkout in Egypt.
Since its launch, the company has processed over 200 million transactions worth over $16 billion across 34 countries in Africa including Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa.
Flutterwave facilitates cross-border transactions in multiple currencies for global companies, including Uber, and the new licenses will help the company support international businesses entering the Egyptian market or growing their operations in the country. "We are proud to have been granted [these licences] in Egypt, which form part of our international expansion strategy," Olugbenga GB Agboola, CEO and Founder of Flutterwave, said in a statement seen by Benjamindada.com.
This announcement comes a few days after the company started making headway in Kenya, where it faced several regulatory challenges. The Nigerian fintech has been cleared of money laundering allegations levelled against it by the Kenyan Asset Recovery Agency seven months ago. However, it is unclear if the company has been licensed in an East African country.
Outside Africa, Flutterwave is reportedly vying to acquire Railsr, a UK fintech. Omosalewa Adeyemi, Flutterwave's senior vice president for market penetration declined to comment on the issue.