Interstellar Inc., an enterprise blockchain infrastructure services company and Interswitch Group, an integrated payments and digital commerce solutions company, have announced a long-term strategic partnership agreement to jointly develop blockchain-powered infrastructure services and solutions.
A statement on Thursday said Interswitch and Interstellar had been working together over the last two years, carrying out blockchain technology research.
As part of the partnership, it added that Interstellar’s blockchain technology stack (STARGATE) would be integrated with Interswitch’s industry-leading payments and digital commerce technology.
This would further enhance the shared vision of the businesses to drive greater financial inclusion and prosperity across the continent.
The statement said that both companies had been preparing for the blockchain revolution in the African market with several ongoing initiatives, including a Pan-African Payment Ecosystem powered by a private permissioned blockchain network which includes a consortium of banks and fintech players.
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Interstellar, Ernest Mbenkum, stated, “We are delighted to have established this strategic partnership with Interswitch, one of Africa’s most valuable fintech businesses.
“This marks the genesis of an innovative and collaborative partnership aimed at delivering impact-focused and enterprise grade blockchain-powered services across the African continent.”
Interswitch had been at the forefront of major innovation milestones in payments in Nigeria for the last 20 years, garnering recognition along the line as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in Africa (Deloitte Fast-Growth 50), it stated.
It added that it had been gaining acclaim as the first homegrown African fintech unicorn, following a minority investment by Visa in late 2019.
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“Today, Interswitch’s current business footprint covers more than 26 countries in Africa,” it stated.
The Divisional Chief Executive Officer for Transaction Switching and Payment Processing at Interswitch, Akeem Lawal, stated, “We are excited to partner with Interstellar on this journey and we look forward to the amazing things we will achieve together in the African market.
“This new alliance underscores the directional evolution of our blockchain innovation strategy which is premised on our strategic intent of developing a native, proprietary enterprise-grade distributed ledger technology stack that is practically tailored to the African context.
“This enables us to progressively digitise multiple industry value-chains across African markets while also supporting the actualisation of the Pan African payment ecosystem, riding the wave of opportunities created by such initiatives as the AfCFTA.”
The adoption of distributed ledger technology applications in Africa offers significant potential for advancing socio-economic growth, empowerment of communities, digitisation of industries, lowering the costs of local and cross border payments, localisation of emerging technology and the development of African tech talent.