ImpactAlpha, October 21 – Crypto is having a moment in Africa. Dozens of African fintechs promising to democratize access to cryptocurrencies across the continent have raised venture capital funding.
Ejara was launched by Nelly Chatue-Dio to serve financially-underserved consumers in francophone West Africa, especially women. The woman-led startup offers simple, mobile-based cryptocurrency investment and savings options, as well as financial literacy tools.
It is among the first crypto-focused fintechs serving francophone African countries.
Ejara’s $2 million funding round was backed by CoinShares Ventures, Anthemis Group, impact investor Mercy Corps Ventures and others.
Crypto for impact
“Crypto in Africa is being driven by other factors rather than financial inclusion,” observes Samora Kariuki of Frontier Fintech, a newsletter covering fintech in Africa. “The space is yet to offer useful everyday banking solutions for the unbanked.”
The impact potential of crypto, over mobile money and traditional financial services, comes from lower fees, faster transaction processing and higher yields. It’s also a way for emerging market consumers to get access to more stable currencies through “stablecoins” like USD Coin, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar and independently audited.
What differentiates Ejara from other African crypto fintechs is “how they’re thinking about financial education and responsible use of crypto, and how it can be beneficial to people, rather than just trying to increase trading activity,” Mercy Corp Ventures’ Dan Block told ImpactAlpha.
He adds that Ejara is among the only crypto players in francophone West Africa. “And I think they’re the only one that is really doing it responsibly.”