PayPal may have expressed hesitation in serving Nigerian customers years ago, but it couldn’t ignore, for long, the huge potentials embedded in Africa’s largest economy. In less than a year after fully setting up in the country, the international payments company has revealed that Nigeria has become its second largest market in Africa, a development that is likely driven by the eCommerce-related progress made by the likes of Konga and Jumia.

This was disclosed by Malvina Goldfeld, PayPal Head of Business Development for sub-Saharan Africa, while expressing satisfaction with the adoption rates and general progress in the country thus far.

“We are very happy to see that PayPal has been widely welcomed by Nigerians since the launch of the service in the country last year. Over time, we plan to expand our service offering in Nigeria to include services that will lead to better experiences in online and mobile payment methods in Nigeria. While PayPal customers in Nigeria can open an account and send money internationally for free, the company is yet to open up its payment gateway to merchants who want to receive money, a decision so many people are not happy with,” she said.

“Nigeria is a very interesting market and over time we may expand our presence, but for now we are satisfied to help Nigerians register for free for a PayPal account and make payments on overseas websites,” she concluded.

Reports have it that PayPal signed up tens of thousands of Nigerians within one week of operating in the country. This suggests an active marketplace that was in strategic readiness for such a development, and a significant opportunity for a further boom in eCommerce across the country.

E-commerce is still a developing industry in most of Africa but it continues to register impressive growth outcomes every year, driven by the rising number of African middle class citizens and the spread of eCommerce giants across the continent. African consumers already make purchases from the likes of Britain, China and the United States of America, hence the need for suitable payment solutions to facilitate speedy transactions. Before PayPal’s decision to set up in Nigeria, its citizens faced significant hassles in buying goods directly from foreign merchants.

With the entrance into Nigeria and 10 other nations last year, the total number of countries served by the payments giant has risen to 203. South Africa, which has more than one million active accounts, is PayPal’s largest African market, and Kenya trails close to Nigeria.

By Emmanuel Iruobe

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