A “bus is faster” than bank transfers
Based in Ghana’s hip Accra region, Waya is a digital “challenger” bank working to bring financial inclusion to Africa, a region victimized by corrupt financial practices and infamously underbanked for its massive population.
Waya has partnered with blockchain-based payments protocol Ripple to presumably solve such widespread problems:
— Leonidas Hadjiloizou (@LeoHadjiloizou) May 18, 2020
At press time, no additional details of the partnership exist online, such as those pertaining to the use of XRP in cross-border payments or the extend of RippleNet’s platform.
If comments from a local blog are trusted, the significance of instant transfers to the African region is immense. The blog claims a remittance between Togo and Ghana, two African nations, is cheaper and faster if the relevant parties take a bus ride across the border than rely on banks.
Such problems impede “intercontinental trade and commerce” across Africa, but the entrance of players like Waya attempts to solve the issue. The company even promises a “30-minute” policy on its advertisements, returning money to the senders’ account if transactions are not cleared within the timeframe.
As of now, Waya operates in three African countries; Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria. Others are in the pipeline, including South Africa, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast. Interestingly, the project also lists Stellar (XLM) as a partner.
Africa’s bet on crypto
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have witnessed sporadic adoption in Africa, a massive, resource-rich continent suffering from poor financial infrastructure and a robust banking system. Non-blockchain protocols like M-Pesa dominate micro-payments in the continent.
Celebrities are navigating their way in such backdrops. Efforts from the likes of rapper Akon, who spearheaded the Akoin currency, and Madonna, who led a Ripple-backed fundraiser in Malawi back in 2018.
Meanwhile, XRP continues to receive flak from several quarters. Ripple, the crypto’s parent firm, has long maintained there is a “difference” between XRP and broader operations of Ripple Labs, meaning the two efforts are not interrelated.
CryptoSlate reached out to Waya and Ripple for comments on the partnership. Any insights will be updated when received.
Cover Photo by Michael Behrens on Unsplash