Two Barbadian-owned companies will have the chance to expand their services to Nigeria as the island looks to strengthen its ties with African nations.
Global Integrated Fintech Solutions (GIFTS) and IPay Anywhere (Global) will work alongside Nigerian digital transformation giant TelNet Nigeria Ltd, under an initiative that was made official during a press conference and electronic contract signing ceremony on Tuesday morning.
TelNet, which provides engineering and consultancy services in the areas of information and communication technologies and related disciplines, has clients that include the Nigerian government and several small and medium sized commercial banks and major private sector entities across the West African nation.
The project is a collaborative effort between the Caribbean Export Development Agency and Export Barbados/Barbados and Investment Development Corporation (BIDC).
Speaking at the historic event, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Jerome Walcott said the initiative would help build bridges between Barbados and Africa.
He described it as a “win-win” for both companies, as it would allow GIFTS to have access to an initial market of over 200 million people by utilizing TelNet’s large database of customers, while permitting TelNet to extend its operation competencies into the Nigerian Fintech space.
“I must place on record the Government of Barbados’ commitment to building commercial diplomacy with countries in Africa,” Walcott said. “The deepening of our diplomatic relations with West Africa, through the imminent establishment of Barbados’ High Commission in Ghana, is already facilitating this Government’s exploration of a new and dynamic ethos of national development by a redirection of its diplomacy through the stimulation and encouragement of private sector partnerships, as is evident by today’s ceremony.
“I believe that GIFTS and IPay Anywhere are also expanding their reach into new markets such as Sierra Leone and Uganda, which is an alignment with this Government’s appreciation of the need to explore available opportunities for building meaningful and mutually beneficial partnerships,” the Minister added.
He maintained that Fintech was the way forward, as it was the fastest growing area for venture capitalists, having expanded to almost $300 billion, from $127 billion in 2018.
Executive Director of Caribbean Export, Deodat Mahraj said it was time the Caribbean and Africa translated their inextricable historical and cultural connections into business opportunities for their peoples.
Mark Hill, chief executive officer of Export Barbados/BIDC, said the initiative has taken entrepreneurship in Barbados to “a new level” as it has opened up tremendous marketing opportunities in West Africa.
Founder and executive chairman of GIFTS and IPay Anywhere, Barbadian Dave Sahadath, said he was excited at the prospect of working with TelNet.
He said the decision was not taken lightly, adding that he believed the company was the “right partner” whose knowledge of the Nigerian market would prove beneficial.
GIFTS has offices in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and the US, and offers a range of services including core banking, card processing, mCommerce and cyber security.
IPay Anywhere allows merchants and customers to make easy and convenient payments with their mobile phones, laptops or any other mobile device.