Interswitch, an African digital payments and commerce company, has partnered with Microsoft to launch the Interswitch Blockchain Service. Built on Microsoft Azure, the service brings together entrepreneurs, major financial institutions and corporate organisations, and provides end-to-end visibility that will ensure fast and seamless trade financing in supply chain operations.
As a result, small to middle-sized businesses will be able to access funding in a shorter time (up to three weeks) from participating banks such as United Bank for Africa PLC (UBA), Guaranty Trust Bank PLC (GTB) and Zenith Bank PLC. According to an Interswitch press release, the solution will allow Nigerian lenders and suppliers to identify and build relationships with high performing entrepreneurs, helping empower people to create more jobs, more wealth, and a more prosperous Africa.
“In our 15 years of operation, we have experienced the bottle necks associated with the existing corporate-based financing infrastructure in Nigeria. Therefore, we are happy to partner with Microsoft, by leveraging the advanced technology of the Microsoft Azure Blockchain, to prove the possibility of building a distributed ledger that is practical, viable and has the propensity to solve some of Nigeria’s most difficult financial and logistic problems,” says Mitchell Elegbe, group managing director and chief executive officer at Interswitch. “Interswitch, in collaboration with Microsoft, has built a platform that will allow anyone to build blockchain-based solutions easily and more cost effectively.”
Michael Glaros, principal program manager for Microsoft Azure Blockchain, said: “We are excited about this partnership with Interswitch. This will be the first enterprise-grade blockchain service in Nigeria, and one of only a handful of production blockchain applications in use by banks and corporates globally. The blockchain technology is still in its infancy in Nigeria and we are happy to pioneer its deployment in partnership with Interswitch, an innovative and forward-thinking company which has evolved its business around financial technology.”
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