In 2009, an idea was conceived. The idea took the form of transforming Nigeria into a cashless society. The idea, which was developed in 2009, is on its way to becoming a Unicorn, and that idea is Paga.
Tayo Oviosu is the brain behind Paga. Oviosu aims to build a PayPal for Africa and transform the African continent into a digital economy. Fast forward to 2020, and the company has over 17 million unique users.
It has over 27,000 agents across the country who perform similar roles as bank tellers with many retail outlets where consumers can access services like bill payments and other transactions.
Paga, which kicked off commercially in 2012, has the backings of investors like Jim O'Neill - former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management) and Tim Draper - one of the world's most famous venture capital investors. The company crossed N3 trillion in transaction values processed since the company started operations in 2012. The company reached the N2tn ($4.8bn) level in March 2020, and by May 2021, the fintech firm had reached the N1tn level.
Paga is currently planning to break into other countries in Africa and Latin America, and the company's next stop is Ethiopia.
“We want to solve the problems in big places – Africa and Latin America. We will go to neighboring countries in Africa, but our next country is Ethiopia. We are waiting for regulatory approvals currently, and are now working to prioritize the other African countries we aim for. But the way we go to various countries will differ.” CEO Tayo Oviosu said in an interview
The next question is how the company will expand into other countries because capital is critical in achieving this plan. Oviosu said, "We haven't started, but we will be doing it soon. We are currently backed by a number of private equity firms though."
Nigeria in focus
GDP: $448.12 billion compared to Ethiopia's $95.913 billion in 2019
Population: 200,963,599 compared to Ethiopia's 112,078,730 in 2019
GDP per capita: $2,229 compared to Ethiopia's $855 in 2019