South African businesses striving to extend their reach beyond the African continent to Europe and the United States frequently encounter a maze of complications.
According to the McKinsey Global Payments report released last year, these enterprises grapple with formidable obstacles within the conventional banking environment, such as regulatory constraints, protracted transaction durations, volatile exchange rates, and unexpected expenses.
“The volatility of currency exchange rates poses a significant concern. It can undermine the profitability and interfere with the strategic planning of businesses engaged in international commerce,” the report declares. In 2022, the trade between South Africa and the European Union amounted to a considerable €26.4 billion, suggesting the potential impact of such fluctuation.
Delays can stunt the growth and profitability of businesses, impeding strategic expansion plans. According to a World Bank report, the cost of sending payments from South Africa is among the world’s highest, averaging 15.05%, compared to a global average of 6.24%.
Nevertheless, South African enterprises possess tremendous potential for expansion, especially within Africa and Europe. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), one of the world’s largest single markets boasting a GDP of $3.4 trillion, presents a substantial opportunity. Furthermore, the ongoing growth of trade relations between South Africa and Europe – currently the nation’s largest trading partner – provides a path for deeper market penetration.
Amid these obstacles, fintech solutions like Verto are the key to surmounting cross-border payment challenges. McKinsey’s report underscores a growth rate of 13% in non-cash retail payment transactions from 2018 to 2021. In emerging markets such as Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa, this figure catapults to 25%.
“By harnessing innovative financial technologies, we can surmount barriers, streamline international payouts and currency conversion, and facilitate frictionless cross-border payments,” asserts Ola Oyetayo, the Chief Executive at Verto.
“For example, our cross-border payment service is a groundbreaking instrument tailored to simplify complex payment landscapes. It empowers companies to conduct transactions rapidly, transparently, and efficiently, enhancing their global growth trajectory.”
Leveraging digital wallets and cross-border payments experts like Verto, African enterprises can more effortlessly navigate regulatory compliance. Transparent fee structures allow businesses to anticipate costs, effectively manage their budgets, and focus on growth and job creation instead of administrative complexities.
“In this demanding economic landscape, businesses are continually pursuing competitive edges,” states Oyetayo. “Verto’s real-time conversion solution enables businesses to counterbalance exchange rate volatility with competitive rates for nearly 50 currencies. This is particularly critical for enterprises solidifying their footing in global markets. Trading in larger FX volumes further secures even better rates.”
Oyetayo says, “Enabling seamless transactions within the AfCFTA and EU markets will empower South African companies to seize growth opportunities, fuel international expansion, and cement their roles as global contenders.”