AZA Finance (formerly known as BitPesa) has agreed to buy cross-border payments specialist Exchange4Free, marking the latest in a wave of consolidation sparked by disruption to the global digital payments system, and establishing AZA Finance as the largest fintech provider of treasury and FX services to frontier markets.
Via synergies and cross-selling opportunities, AZA will be able to more than double transaction volume to $2.5 billion in 2021 by acquiring Exchange4Free, the largest non-bank currency broker in South Africa, while expanding its scope to 115 countries across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and North America.
This acquisition advances our target of facilitating intra-African and frontier market FX flows, according to Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO and founder of AZA Finance. “Exchange4Free’s ethos and creative solution are a perfect match for AZA Finance in assisting in the development of the future digital infrastructure that brings creativity and productivity to meet corporate treasury and FX needs in frontier markets.”
AZA Finance, which is controlled by the FCA in the UK and the Bank of Spain in Europe, offers a full range of corporate treasury and foreign exchange products for businesses operating in frontier markets, from start to finish.
“Exchange4Free has built technology to streamline FX and cross-border payment flows across a truly global transaction network,” said Mark Lawson, co-Founder and CEO at Exchange4Free. “The acquisition by AZA Finance will enable us to reach the scale we need to optimise this technology to deliver highly customisable solutions for our clients.”
The acquisition follows a combined Series B debt and equity funding round in which AZA Finance raised $35 million for expansion of operations in the Middle East and North Africa over the past 18 months, including a $15 million debt facility with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to build its activities in the region.
AZA Finance’s collaboration network comprises money transfer operators (MTOs) including Western Union, World Remit, Azimo, and IDT, with offices in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) (Boss Revolution).
AZA Finance will be able to use Exchange4Free’s platform for their services, including its APIs, which provide companies with the FX, treasury, and regulatory enforcement services they need to make cross-border payments into South Africa from over 100 countries.
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