Operating a business in Africa comes with many unique challenges, to put it mildly. Our focus in this article is on the opportunities that can be unlocked by increasing access to global financial services for businesses in emerging markets.
As an entrepreneur in the African market, you must have witnessed firsthand how barriers to platforms like PayPal, Stripe and others cause unnecessary friction.
This friction ripples across the entire business ecosystem. It limits opportunities for joint ventures, partnerships and technology transfer between African and global entities. African businesses struggle to participate in global marketplaces and e-commerce platforms. This hampers their potential growth and ability to access wider clientele.
To make matters worse, recent actions by startup-centric banks have exacerbated the difficulties faced by founders in Africa. For example, recent policy changes at Mercury placed Nigeria on the list of prohibited countries that cannot have accounts at Mercury.
PayPal, a leading financial services platform doesn’t allow Nigerian residents to receive money, no matter where their businesses are registered. Stripe, on the other hand, allows Nigerian residents to open accounts if they have a US-registered business and an EIN.
The situation highlights how dependent the African private sector has become on whimsical policies made thousands of miles away in places like Silicon Valley or Washington DC. Any changes to terms can upend revenue streams and contracts virtually overnight. It erodes trust in the stability that businesses need to plan and scale operations with confidence.
This vulnerability stems from a lack of local viable alternatives. Most African businesses do not have the option to simply switch to another provider when policy changes occur abroad. The control essentially lies abroad with these large platforms determining the rules of engagement for our markets.
How Norebase is Enabling African Businesses to Thrive
To address the imbalance caused by restrictive policies, there has been an increasing push to develop more African-owned and focused fintech solutions.
However, developing robust homegrown alternatives from the ground up will take time. A gap remains where the continent struggles to conduct seamless cross-border e-commerce.
This is where Norebase comes in by bringing novel solutions to reduce friction. Norebase is bridging an important commerce gap on the continent by enabling African businesses to register businesses online in the United States.
With a US entity registration and address provided, entrepreneurs gain access to the tools required to participate more fully in the global digital economy. They can accept payments, make fund transfers, and partner with overseas suppliers through major online financial services restricted to their local African market.
In essence, Norebase gives these businesses a “virtual physical presence” in a market with fewer barriers. This provides a viable solution that will enable Africans thrive in the international scene. Entrepreneurs can focus on growing their ventures instead of navigating needless blockades.
So far, the impact has been promising. Qala, a startup designed to train the next generation of Bitcoin and Lightning Network developers was recently acquired by ₿Trust and Norebase is the vehicle that facilitated their US business formation.
There’s also the success of ThriveAgric across Africa. Norebase facilitated its expansion into Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia after it raised $56.4 million.
“ThriveAgric faced a variety of hurdles and obstacles while trying to establish a presence in
Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, before getting the necessary support from Norebase. So far, we have done over $70k across all 4 countries and have been able to onboard over 3k farmers.”
Through Norebase, thousands more have gained access to payment processors like Stripe and banks like Levro. They can now sell to customers internationally, raise funds from global investors, and partner with global peers more seamlessly online. Norebase has removed a major bottleneck, unlocking new business potential across borders for Africa.
Of course, this model is not yet a perfect solution for local self-sufficiency over time. The goal is to enable more sustainable homegrown solutions that will drive an increase in Africa’s GDP.
Norebase provides a smart frictionless solution to reduce trade friction faced in markets where options remain constrained.
Given globalization and the interdependence of economies today, Africa needs platform and policy stability from foreign players to thrive. While oversight is important, the continent deserves fair, transparent treatment.
Norebase empowers entrepreneurs and helps to push back on arbitrary shutdowns of vital commercial access points through our cohesive business incorporation and expansion infrastructure. Moving forward, nuanced cooperation between public, and private sectors both within Africa and with global counterparts will be key to sustained prosperity.