BitPesa, through its website, is helping businesses in China and Africa to send instant payments in local currency directly from African bank accounts to Chinese bank accounts. Users in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo can now send money directly to bank accounts in China. The remittance service offered is low-cost as it cuts conventional money transfer costs by up to 60%, according to the company.
The trade between China and Africa increased to more than $170 billion in 2013 according to the World Bank and is estimated to have hit $220 billion in 2016, as Chinese companies invest heavily in small businesses across the continent. But until now, African companies had limited options for paying their Chinese suppliers in a swift and affordable way, according to BitPesa CEO Elizabeth Rossiello.
The cost of sending payments via traditional methods is high and can take days to settle. Elizabeth Rossiello added, “Some companies are even giving cash to a middleman who physically gets on a plane. There had to be a better solution.”
BitPesa requests ID, address and birth date of the customer at registration, and checks them against the same databases the banks use.
BitPesa, which was built as an infrastructure solution to meet the growing demand in this important corridor, is now growing in demand as businesses increasingly rely on their technology to send or receive payments faster and cheaper than anywhere else. The company is based out of Kenya and has raised $4 million in capital.
BitPesa is driven about eliminating the middleman and middle currency in Africa-China trade and to help them connect directly. The company further hopes to expand, hoping Bitcoin to be embraced as a tool which connects the continent.