Microsoft has announced a five-year strategic technology partnership with Flutterwave. In this collaboration, Flutterwave aims to build its next-generation platform on Microsoft Azure, with the goal of accelerating payment innovation in Africa and, by extension, driving the growth of small businesses across the continent.
SMEs Pivotal Role in Africa’s Progress Developments
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in Africa’s progress and development. Current estimates suggest that around 90 percent of the continent’s population is employed by SMEs. These businesses not only provide employment but are also at the forefront of innovation, offering solutions to some of Africa’s most pressing societal challenges.
African SME Failure Rate
Despite the vital role that small businesses and startups play in the African economy, they face significant obstacles on their path to success. Research from the African Union Development Agency indicates that approximately five out of seven SMEs in Africa will fail in their first year. Similarly, the average startup failure rate in Africa hovers around 54 percent.
The Obstacle of Limited Access to Financial Services
One of the primary challenges facing both SMEs and startups is limited access to financial services and difficulties in conducting seamless transactions across various local payment methods. While around 90 percent of transactions in Africa are still cash-based, many small businesses lack access to credit.
Driving Sustainable Growth
Ola Williams, Country Manager at Microsoft Nigeria, “To drive sustainable growth in Nigeria, small businesses need the ability to participate more actively in the local and even global marketplace. This begins with digital financial inclusion. If we want to build a more resilient country and ultimately a more prosperous continent, we must begin by giving these businesses the digital financial services they need, not just to survive, but to thrive.”
Enablement of Multiple Payment Methods
Flutterwave has been on a mission to assist businesses in overcoming challenges related to financial services access and connecting them to the global stage. It accomplishes this by enabling multiple payment methods, including local and international cards, mobile wallets, and bank transfers.
Democratization of Payments
Since its inception, Flutterwave has made significant strides in democratizing payments in Africa. Collaborating with Microsoft, the payments technology company aims to further fuel growth and revolutionize payment solutions for businesses across Africa.
Transition from Legacy to Azure
By transitioning away from its legacy infrastructure to Azure, Flutterwave will enhance its capacity to process high-volume payments at scale. This transition ensures a seamless and secure payment experience for its clients. Leveraging Azure OpenAI Service, Flutterwave also has the opportunity to scale its product offering to reach millions of merchants globally.
Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola, Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with Microsoft, characterizing it as a coming together of visionaries and go-getters. He highlighted that this partnership is about more than just transactions; it’s about transformation.
Lillian Barnard, President of Microsoft Africa, underlines Microsoft’s commitment to driving economic growth in Africa through technology’s transformative power.