Opera Software has stepped up its push for share of Africa’s burgeoning payment market with the appointment of a Kenyan, as its managing director and Vice President for Fintech Africa.
Eddie Ndichu, a former head of Digital Services and Mobile Payments at KCB Bank Group, is expected to lead the development of micro-lending, remittances, payments and transaction capabilities using improved technologies in mobile and the internet.
“For years Opera has been invested in bringing fast and affordable internet access for all,” said Ndichu about his appointment in a statement. “For this reason, I am honoured to be part of the team that seeks to grow together with the African internet ecosystem, thus we are seeking local partners to integrate value-added services, fintech products and data bundling into its browser platform.”
Ndichu’s appointment comes with the opening of a Kenyan office that is expected to serve as East Africa’s hub. The company plans to hire 100 Africans over the next three years, who will be trained on web development to spur the growth of Opera’s products via artificial intelligence engine for smartphones to ensure content delivery.
Opera also plans to commit about $100 million over the next two years to facilitate the expansion of Africa’s digital economy. The company over the period hopes to invest in growing internet penetration and adoption and at the same strengthen the internet ecosystem in collaboration with local partners.
It will be recalled that Opera in December 2017, acquired a Nigerian-based payment platform, Paycom PiDO, a move many saw as a strategic positioning to playing in the payment space in the country.
“Africa is on its way to transform itself into the digital continent with the rapid adoption of mobile internet. For the past five years, the Opera Mini Browser has been a key facilitator in bringing more than half of Africa’s internet population online by featuring tools for lowering data costs,” Ndichu noted.