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The state of cross-border trade in Africa is rapidly evolving. According to recent estimates, intra-Africa trade was projected to exceed $1 trillion by the end of 2020, up from around $600 billion in 2015. This represents a significant increase in the amount of cross-border trade within the continent and demonstrates the potential for increased economic growth across Africa.

The increase in trade has not happened in intra-Africa conversation alone. Africa’s trade with the rest of the world increased by 11.3% in 2020, reaching a total of $595.7 billion, with export and import growing significantly. 

Although these all suggest an increasing rate of cross-border trade in Africa, the continent has still not scratched the surface of the trade potential it has with itself and the rest of the world. 

Cross-border trades in Africa have increased in spite of  numerous challenges. One of those biggest challenges to cross-border trade in Africa has been the difficulty of payment. 

As Africa continues to grow and develop economically, cross-border payments in Africa are becoming increasingly important. 

Cross-border payments help facilitate international trade, allowing businesses from Africa to transact with their international customers easily. This also helps increase access to new markets, allowing African businesses to expand their reach and tap into global opportunities. 

Additionally, cross-border payments provide a secure and reliable way for businesses to receive payments from their international customers, making it easier for them to operate their businesses successfully.

Challenges with cross-border payments in Africa

However, differing payment systems, currency fluctuations, and limited access to banking infrastructure have made it difficult for businesses to access cross-border payments.

Additionally, the cost of payment processing can be high, as businesses may have to pay additional fees or taxes when sending or receiving money from other countries. Finally, fraud and security issues remain a concern, as scammers can easily take advantage of vulnerable online payment systems.

These are challenges that fintechs and payment companies are solving with the help of payment gateways. With the rise of technology, cross-border payment gateways are becoming more accessible and offering more efficient solutions. These gateway solutions help facilitate payments across international borders, allowing African businesses to transact with their global customers easily.

Cross-border payment gateways

A payment gateway is a secure online platform that facilitates funds transfer between two parties, a merchant and a customer. Gateways also power cross-border payments by providing a secure online platform connecting two parties in different countries, typically a merchant and a customer. 

The gateway allows the customer to send money to the merchant’s bank account quickly and securely while allowing the merchant to receive payments from international customers. 

Cross-border payment gateways are designed to be secure and reliable, helping to protect both parties from fraud and other risks associated with online payments. Additionally, they often offer lower fees and reduced processing times, making them an attractive option for businesses looking to do business internationally.

As African businesses have yet to be able to transact enough with themselves and the rest of the world due to the difficulties associated with cross-border payments, cross-border payment gateways will significantly benefit the continent. 

More trade across Africa and between Africans and the rest of the world will improve the economy in several ways. First, it can increase access to goods and services that may not be available within a country’s boundaries. This opens up opportunities for both importers and exporters, which can aid in economic growth. 

Additionally, cross-border trade can reduce costs by allowing countries to take advantage of lower labour and production costs in another country. Finally, the increased trade flow can lead to infrastructure development to enable better transportation of goods and services, further contributing to economic growth.

The potential of what Africa can be when businesses are equipped to do cross-border trade is why fintechs and payment providers have developed solutions that are tailored to the African market. Many of these solutions offer fast and secure cross-border payments.


At Fincra, we are helping to solve cross-border payment issues in Africa by offering digital solutions that make it easier and more cost-effective for businesses to send and receive payments from international customers.

Fincra offers online wallets and payment systems that allow customers to make payments with a button.

With Fincra, merchants can accept cross-border payments through Virtual Accounts in USD, EUR and GDP. Merchants can sell from anywhere in Africa and receive international payments into their wallets or local bank accounts with Fincra-issued Virtual Accounts.

Fincra’s Pay-Out also powers business-to-business cross-border payments. Merchants worldwide can pay other businesses with over 40 currencies and in over 150 countries.

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