Flutterwave, the largest payments firm in Africa by value, has been trying to enter the Kenyan market for some time now. It seems that this dream will soon become a reality, following an announcement that it will establish its primary operations station in Nairobi for the larger East African market.
It should be noted that Flutterwave has not had an easy time in this market, having been previously and allegedly accused of taking part in money laundering activities in Kenya. As a result, the corruption watchdog, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), shut down several of its bank accounts in the country. The development saw the state freeze over USD 52 million of Flutterwave’s funds. However, the issue was quickly addressed after CEO Olugbenga Agboola made a stop in Kenya a couple of weeks ago.
However, his arrival and eventual departure from the country only achieved a single goal: the release of the frozen funds. The unicorn failed to acquire payment services from the Central Bank of Kenya. However, with the development of opening a regional office in Nairobi, this could change.
Flutterwave is now a fully licensed payments firm in Rwanda, having secured an Electronic Money Issuer license that allows the company to acquire all types of payment instruments.
The licenses now allow Flutterwave customers to access other services, such as money deposits and withdrawals, electronic transfers, as well as outbound and inbound remittance services to more than 13 million people in Rwanda.
Similar developments could arrive soon, and it may not take long to process.
It is worth noting that the announcement was made by Oluwabankole Falade, Chief Regulatory and Government Relations Officer at Flutterwave, during the 3rd American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Business Summit held in Nairobi.
We do not yet know the specific date when the office will be opened, but the implications of having a local office are obvious given Flutterwave’s status as a major payments company. It will likely launch robust campaigns to appeal to local customers.
We will provide updates once we have more information.