OPay, Africa- mobile payments System
Another series on Africa business and investment
OPay, an Africa-focused mobile payments startup founded by Norwegian browser company Opera, has raised $50 million in funding.
OPay will use the capital (which wasn’t given a stage designation) primarily to grow its digital finance business in Nigeria — Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy.
OPay will also support Opera’s growing commercial network in Nigeria, which includes motorcycle ride-hail app, , ORide and OFood delivery service.
Opera founded OPay in 2018 on the popularity of its internet search engine. Opera’s web-browser has ranked No. 2 in usage in Africa, after Chrome, the last four years.
The $50 million investment in OPay is more than just another big round in Africa. It has significance for the continent’s tech ecosystem on multiple levels.
The majority of the investment for OPay’s raise comes from Chinese funds and sources, including Source Code Capital. All this process could support the shift of Nigeria surpassing Kenya as Africa’s digital payments leader. For years Kenya has outpaced Nigeria in P2P digital payments volumes and digital financial inclusion, largely due to the rapid adoption of mobile-money products.
Some of this is due in part to Nigeria’s Central Bank limiting the ability of non-banks to offer mobile payment services. The CBN eased many of those restrictions earlier this year. This opens the door for mobile operators like MTN, with the largest phone network in Nigeria, to offer mobile-money products.
OPay’s $50 million-backed commitment to grow mobile money in Nigeria should provide another big boost to digital-finance adoption across the country. And not to be overlooked is how OPay’s capital raise moves Opera toward becoming a multi-service commercial Internet platform in Africa. Let’s wait and see how that would plunder