Telecommunications and media group Millicom and payments platform specialist Kalixa are setting up a joint venture (j-v) to develop a payments service provider to operate in Africa and Latin America, initially commencing in Colombia and Brazil later this year.
The j-v will offer payment acceptance services for both businesses and consumers, including payment gateway and point of sale (PoS) solutions for merchants as well as one-click payment and electronic wallet (e-wallet) provision for online customers. The partnership will cover the end-to-end payment ecosystem and will offer multi-device and cross-platform services.
The partners said that the j-v would benefit from Millicom’s reach across Africa and Latin America through its high-profile ‘Tigo’ infrastructures in 14 countries and its online partnerships in 31 countries. It will also draw on Kalixa’s range of payment services, including issuing, acquiring and acceptance solutions to over 8,000 merchants across 100 markets.
The initial phase of the joint venture will begin in H214 and will provide an end-to-end service for electronic commerce (e-commerce) providers. Brazil is the largest market in Latin America with around 60% of its e-commerce by volume and 80% of the continent’s top 500 e-merchants present there. In Colombia, Millicom’s largest market in Latin America, e-commerce is growing significantly at over 60% annually with 50% of internet users enjoying online shopping.
“Working with Kalixa will enable us to offer a complete digital payments service in markets where e-commerce is growing rapidly and where we already have a strong presence,” said Millicom’s chief executive (CEO) and president, Hans-Holger Albrecht. “It is a great combination of our respective expertise.”
Ed Chandler, CEO of Kalixa, added: “As developing markets, Latin America and Africa represent a combined USD$1.7 trillion opportunity for the payments industry. Our partnership with Millicom is the first step in making payments easier for merchants and consumers in these regions by offering a connected service with the full spectrum of payment services being offered under one roof.
“As we have already seen in Europe, by removing unnecessary links in the chain we can service customers more efficiently. This allows us to pass the value back to help merchants capitalise on the digital explosion happening in this region.”
Founded in 1990, Millicom is headquartered in Luxembourg and listed on Stockholm’s NASDAQ OMX exchange. Kalixa has offices in London, Gibraltar, Cologne, Vienna and New York.
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Forecasts for 2016-2020 place Africa as the second fastest growing region in the world (at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.3%), just below Emerging Asia.