enza Group: Africa has a very vibrant fintech and payments ecosystem. This space is expected to grow exponentially over the coming years according to analysts.
Cash is still king in most African markets though, as more than half of all Africans remain unbanked or underbanked, which presents an opportunity for financial technology companies to digitize payments.
Global management consulting firm McKinsey estimates that only 5 to 7 per cent of all payment transactions in Africa are made via electronic or digital channels. As a result, McKinsey anticipates that between 2020 and 2025, the electronic payments market in Africa will grow by around 150 per cent.
It’s for this reason that payments industry professionals gathered in Egypt last week to launch the enza group (enza), a payments company focused on servicing the growing needs of banks, fintechs, and MNOs across the African continent.
According to a statement, enza has been formed to address this rapidly growing market demand and further accelerate the displacement of cash. The company is spearheaded by Group CEO Hany Fekry and Group COO Hamish Houston, both of whom were instrumental in the growth of the EMP Group, which serviced more than 180 banks across Africa.
The company will focus on providing native digital payments capabilities to service institutions that want to enable their customers to accept or make electronic payments, a space that was previously dominated by banks, but is increasingly served by MNOs, fintechs, and government entities. enza’s platform is token-based, cloud-native, API-first system that is provided with an open development environment that expedites integration and improves technical flexibility.
Hany Fekry, Group CEO, enza group, said “We have created enza because so many payments challenges remain unsolved across the African continent. Our focus is on creating a seamless digital fabric between the payments’ channels, schemes, integrations etc. so that enza enables clients to access anything they need, even if we don’t provide the service natively.”
Hamish Houston, Group COO, enza group, said: “We have had the great advantage of having no legacy technology or processes that we needed to modernise, but rather a blank canvass on which we could architect a modern, third generation payments service built from the first principles to be digital, open, and agile. Agility is not something that can be retrofitted onto legacy systems or operations.”
The enza team is growing rapidly with a new corporate office being opened in Cairo, Egypt by the middle of January. The company has attracted a board with considerable experience in banking, payments, and the African geography, with Mark Richards (an experienced banking executive formerly of Barclays, Actis private equity, and currently board member of Nova Ljubljanska Bank) joining as Chairman, Naeem Kola (currently the Group CFO at Nasdaq-listed Lesaka Technologies) and Marcello Baricordi (an industry stalwart having previously held senior positions at Visa and First Data International) as non-executive directors.
Mark Richards, Chairman, enza group, said “As a long-term Africaphile, with great enthusiasm for the continued development of the continent, I am very excited to be part of the enza journey, working with colleagues who have a proven track record in building African payments businesses.”