Microsoft, a global technology company and Flutterwave, a global payment company, have entered into a five-year strategic partnership that will enable Flutterwave ride on Microsoft’s intelligent cloud and intelligent edge to boost payment innovation for merchants across Africa.
Through the collaboration, Flutterwave will 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.
Announcing the partnership at a press conference in Lagos recently, both technology companies said the Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), remained crucial to Africa’s progress and development, adding that the collaboration will further enhance payments for merchants and SMEs across Africa.
Current estimates are that around 90 per cent of the continent’s population is employed within SMEs. Beyond employment, these businesses are often at the forefront of innovation, providing solutions to Africa’s most pressing societal challenges.
Though small businesses and startups are the bedrock of the African economy, they are required to navigate enormous obstacles simply to succeed. Research from the African Union Development Agency explains that around five out of seven SMEs in Africa will fail in their first year. Similarly, the average startup failure rate in Africa sits at around 54 per cent.
A key challenge for both SMEs and startups is a lack of access to financial services and the inability to transact seamlessly across local payment methods. While around 90 per cent of transactions in Africa are still cash-based, as many as half of small businesses are without access to credit.
Commenting on the partnership, Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola, said: “In our journey at Flutterwave, we have always strived to touch lives by simplifying payments and connecting dreams to opportunities. 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 is not just about transactions – it’s about transformation. We are honoured that Microsoft believes in our vision and trusts our capability. I am proud to say we are not just dreaming of an inclusive digital Africa; we are creating it.”