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Nigerian mobile payments company, Paga may be Africa’s next Unicorn, plans expansion to Mexico and Ethiopia

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Attaining the Tech Unicorn status in Africa is slowly becoming mainstream. There have been two African unicorns this year, Flutterwave and Chippercash, with valuations of over $1billion. And now, Paga, the free mobile application that enables users to conduct free financial transactions such as making payments, sending, and receiving money, is gunning to become Africa’s biggest unicorn

Founded in 2009 by Tayo Oviosu, the company processed $2.3 billion worth of transactions in 2020 and $8 billion during the past four years. It has 17 million unique users including tech entrepreneurs, businesses and individuals in Africa’s most populous nation.

Paga has over 27,000 agents across the country who perform similar roles like bank tellers with many retail outlets where consumers can access services like bill payments and other types of transactions.

Paga is also making its programming interface available to tech entrepreneurs for payments while expanding its consumer business through the partnership with Visa.

In a tweet made by Tayo, the company crossed N3 trillion in transaction values processed since the company started operations in 2012. They reached N2 trillion in March 2020 and N3 trillion in May 2021.

The company has top investors like U.S. billionaire investor, Tim Draper and former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economist Jim O’Neil. Tayo, in an interview with Bloomberg, said that Paga could reach a valuation of at least $1 billion “in the next year or two.”

The company is looking to expand into Ethiopia and Mexico where it could also facilitate payments for the millions who lack access to banking services. Expansion into Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation, is set for next year.

To foster its expansion plans, the company is counting on its deal with Visa Inc. The agreement will provide merchant solutions in Nigeria from this month, allowing payments by money transfer and a QR code among others.

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