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Ren Partners with AeTrade Group to Build Landmark Real-Time Cross-Border Payments Solution for the African Continent

The African Electronic Trade Group (AeTrade Group) is a social enterprise with a mission to develop a continent-wide e-commerce platform and capabilities that enhance intra and inter African trade and implement an e-empowerment program for Africa.

  • Africa
  • Trade Association
Kigali, Rwanda
Company Size
201-500 employees
Trade Association

A Snapshot

The African Electronic Trade Group (AeTrade Group) is a social enterprise with a mission to develop a continent-wide e-commerce platform and capabilities that enhance intra and inter African trade and implement an e-empowerment program for Africa.

The AeTrade Group is motivated by three broad themes:

  • Enabling and supporting the economy through digital infrastructure, standards, regulations, trust, confidence and security
  • Building on areas of competitive strength to drive productivity and raise digital business capability
  • Empowering all Africans through enhanced digital skills and inclusion.

Insights on AeTrade group

The strategy of the AeTrade Group outlines four primary goals on which the government, the private sector and the community can collaborate around:-

  1. Build on competitive strengths and develop new ones by:
    • Driving productivity within existing industries.
    • Taking advantage of the momentum in the African economy.
    • Opening up new sources of growth to sustain Africa into the future.​
  2. Support digital business capability for engaged, innovative, high-growth businesses of all sizes across the African continent
  3. Drive a culture and mindset that supports lifelong learning, a global outlook, and positive responses to change
  4. Support actions on a diverse range of digital economy initiatives across multiple agencies.

Triggers for transformation

The impetus for payments transformation within the AeTrade Group stemmed from several significant triggers. Foremost among them was the adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by the African Union (AU) in 2018. This monumental agreement aimed to dismantle trade barriers and stimulate intra-Africa trade, ultimately establishing the world’s largest free trade area, encompassing numerous participating countries.

Notably, the AfCFTA held the potential to augment Africa’s income by a staggering US$450 billion by 2035, while concurrently offering the promise of lifting approximately 30 million people out of extreme poverty. To align with the AU’s vision for Smart Finance and Digital Banking, AeTrade further solidified its partnership with the AU, positioning itself to provide crucial financial solutions to the continental market. This strategic alignment underscored the urgency and significance of payments transformation as a vital driver for economic progress and prosperity across Africa.

Needs and Challenges

AeTrade recognized the imperative need for an interoperable payment system that could serve as the foundation for a multitude of services within the group. These services encompassed SME e-empowerment, SME insurance, e-government, and smart logistics and warehousing capabilities across the African continent. The aspiration was to establish a seamless payments system that would not only act as a game-changer but also serve as a powerful catalyst, propelling investment and fostering inclusive growth across diverse sectors of the African economy. Such a financial switch was seen as instrumental in advancing economic opportunities and accessibility for businesses and individuals throughout the continent.

Why Ren?

Ren’s selection as the provider of payments technology for this groundbreaking project with the Africa Electronic Trade Group (AeTrade) underscored their long-standing commitment to financial inclusion and innovation. Euronet’s experience of nearly three decades was helpful in reshaping global financial infrastructure to better serve both businesses and consumers.

Serving as the real-time payments switch for the entire African continent, this project represented a monumental milestone in AeTrade’s ongoing journey to expand financial access to individuals wherever they were. By harnessing Ren’s expertise, Euronet aimed not only to deliver tangible results for this critical initiative but also to enhance the financial participation of African citizens, leaving a lasting impact for generations to come. This partnership aligned perfectly with the AU’s Smart Finance and Digital Banking initiative, reflecting Euronet’s dedication to advancing financial services in Africa and beyond.

How did we help?

Euronet’s Ren payments technology played a pivotal role in empowering AeTrade to create a game-changing pan-African payments switch. This innovative solution now serves as the financial backbone for a substantial portion of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), encompassing 44 out of the potential 54 countries. With a staggering population of approximately 1.4 billion people and a combined GDP of around US$3.4 trillion, the AfCFTA represents a significant economic landscape.

By leveraging Euronet’s Ren payments technology, this switch facilitates seamless, real-time transactions among central banks, regional processors, financial institutions, regional mobile wallets (such as M-Pesa), and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Beyond fostering efficient financial interactions, this initiative brings forth a multitude of new banking benefits and capabilities to the African population. Through this collaboration, Euronet’s Ren payments platform is poised to catalyze transformative financial services and empower African citizens by enabling them to engage in secure and rapid financial transactions within their continent.

Know more about the AeTrade group here

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