AZA, Africa’s biggest non-bank currency broker, has rolled out its recently upgraded payment platform BFX to Uganda.
BFX is a B2B payment platform that leverages AZA’s hybrid infrastructure and empowers companies to use African currencies with less risk, cost and friction than ever before.
The launch comes within three months of the Bank of Uganda approving a remittance license for AZA, which is registered locally as BT Payment Services Uganda.
Speaking at the launch event held at Serena Hotel on Thursday, Thomas Yieke, the Head of Sales for East Africa at AZA said the expansion to Uganda reflects AZA’s conviction that the economy is poised for growth.
The country is one of the world’s most entrepreneurial, with 28% of adults owning or co-owning a business, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.
Progressive currency market liberalizations have helped Uganda to rank as the third best among 20 countries for access to foreign exchange in Africa in the ABSA Africa Financial Markets Index, Yieke said.
The BFX platform will enable Ugandan small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to grow beyond their borders, opening up previously underserved trade markets through a number of pay-in and payout channels such as banks and mobile wallets.
“BFX is significantly easier and faster to use than incumbent systems, processing international transactions within one or two
business days. With extensive infrastructure, faster processing and local settlement accounts, BFX ensures quick transactions with less friction and lower fees,” Yieke said.
He added: “Our commitment to Uganda, East Africa and the wider continent is evident from our investment in building the best and most reliable technology for this market. We have created a competitive facility based on world-class technology, reducing settlement time to less than a day and at the best possible rates. Through the BFX product, Ugandan businesses will be able to save millions in fees each year with cost-effective transfers and efficient treasury solutions.”
AZA is the only non-bank provider of both wholesale foreign exchange and distribution across the African region, and has expanded through increased bank accounts, mobile money and other payment options.
With a team of over 100 people, Yieke said AZA is led from regional HQ offices in Lagos, Nairobi and London, with growing satellite teams in Kampala, Dakar, Madrid, Accra and, very shortly, Johannesburg.
The firm’s culture and fast-paced startup environment have helped spur its execution ability, operational efficiency and ability to retain top talent.
“We are hopeful that AZA’s existence will increase the number of skilled forex practitioners and intermediaries on the ground in Uganda,” said Yieke. “We are here to be an integral part of how Africa in general, and Uganda specifically, accelerate its growth,” he added.