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Stellar partners tap USDC for remittances between Europe and Africa

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The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) has announced that it will facilitate a new remittance channel between Europe and Africa using the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin.

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On Oct. 25, the SDF announced that global payments technology company Flutterwave will use the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin on the Stellar network to simplify remittances between Africa and Europe.

Flutterwave will work alongside Stellar’s principal EU payments partner, Paris-based money transfer operator, Tempo Payments.

Olugbenga Agboola, CEO at Flutterwave, commented that it is more expensive to send money to sub-Saharan Africa than to any other region in the world. He added that the new partnership will help to expand the network and “bring all-important, cost-effective money transfer services to African business owners.”

Flutterwave claims to have processed more than 140 million transactions worth over $9 billion to date, serving over 290,000 businesses which including Uber, Booking.com, and Facebook. The firm already has the infrastructure in more than 33 African countries, including Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa.

The SDF has been targeting Africa for roughly one year, with the foundation teaming up with East African payments firm ClickPesa in November 2020. ClickPesa provides on and off-ramps to the banking systems of Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda.

Stellar and its partners face stiff competition as there are already several payments companies operating in Africa, including WorldRemit, Azimo, Transferwise, Payoneer, and Xoom.

Africa has become a key market for payments companies because much of the population remains unbanked. However, remittances have fallen during pandemic-induced lockdowns, with Africa.com recently reporting a 28% drop in remittances to Nigeria last year.

The outlet also predicted that more transfers will be made in cryptocurrencies by 2025, adding that digital assets are likely to penetrate Africa’s remittance market despite exclusionary policies from local governments.

Related: Crypto in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges, Explained

In February, Stellar announced that it had integrated Circle’s USDC stablecoin. USD Coin has seen monumental growth in 2021, with its market cap surging 733% since the beginning of the year to tag $32.5 billion.

Stellar’s native token, XLM, has gained 2.2% over the past 24 hours to trade at $0.386 according to CoinGecko. However, XLM is still down 56% from its January 2018 all-time high of $0.875.

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