NALA, the East African financial technology company enabling payments to Africa has announced a major $5m investment into Kenya that will go towards job creation and strengthening financial infrastructure via technology innovation.
The announcement is a major commitment on behalf of the firm as an early stage startup, and relays the seriousness of their plans to support economic opportunities to Kenyans through the investment of their own capital as well as their product innovation.
The investment deepens the company’s already strong roots in Kenya, which was chosen as the location for the company’s main office worldwide and over the coming years, the $5m will be allocated to create jobs, advance Nairobi as a burgeoning tech ecosystem, and innovate worldwide payments into Kenya.
Alongside the investment, NALA also announced its cross border payments platform for businesses, which it anticipates will ease frictions for capital inflows to Kenya.
According to a press statement, NALA for Business will integrate harmoniously with major banks to better connect pay-ins internationally. Currently the product is live in the UK/EU to Tanzania, but the company hopes to launch in Kenya once the appropriate licensing is in place.
State Department for Diaspora Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Roseline Njogu said that Kenyans have been on the leading edge of financial digitization, and the Kenyan Government wants to continue to support the innovation enabling easier and more transparent payments to Kenya.
Njogu maintained that NALA’s recent innovation enabling payments to Buy Goods and Till numbers directly from abroad will support Kenyans in having greater control and reducing leakage on the money they invest back home.
Despite the many options for sending money to Africa from abroad, the continent continues to be the most expensive place to send money as the World Bank estimates average transfer fees to Africa at nine percent.
Further, many existing options including hidden fees, make it hard to discern the true cost of sending money.
Nevertheless, NALA is working towards changing the paradigm of financial tools for Africans by providing fair and transparent services to empower people with control over their finances.
“Over three million Kenyans live abroad, largely in the US and UK. The latest figures from the Central Bank of Kenya show that diaspora remittances rose by 8.34 percent to $4b in 2022. This figure closes in on the size of Kenyan exports, which brought in $5.77 billion worth of foreign currency in the same period,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, NALA Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Benjamin Fernandes said: “At NALA we are deliberate and consistent about our investment into Africa and Kenya. Among the numerous reasons we chose Kenya as our headquarters are the favorable regulatory environment, top class talent pool and robust levels of startup investment. We want to increase our commitment to Africa and Kenya by doing rather than trying, and this is a sign for what’s to come for NALA in Kenya.”
As the organization continues to grow, NALA currently has a few ex-Google and Monzo employees on their team, leading and championing the efforts to scale payments across Africa.
By Michael Omondi