South Africa's fintech eyes regional market with Nairobi office

Quantum Metal Chairman and Founder Dato Lim Khong Soon (L), Dr Thana Balan from Banyan Investment Banking & Hedge Fund, Rubi Foundation Africa Rubi Moss William, Banyan Group Of Companies Chairman Jean Baptiste Bilala (R) during the opening of the Nairobi offices. [Courtesy]

A Connecticut-based digital bank with a focus on transformative financial technology has announced its expansion to the region with the opening of Nairobi offices.

Banyan Investment Banking & Hedge Fund in a statement said the new office will serve as the fintech’s regional headquarters to address the growing demand for digital financial services and digital currencies in Kenya and the wider region.

Nairobi now joins Cape Town as the other region where fintech has set up operations on the continent.

Dr Thana Balan said the firm is eyeing monetisation of Kenya’s and the wider African carbon credit assets.

“We will introduce our AI technology to review Kenya’s carbon credit deposits. We believe that this will transform the economic opportunities for farmers and other stakeholders in the larger economy,” said Balan.

The project will also see Quantum Metal Bullion Pty Ltd pilot the project to develop a carbon credit initiative program.

Their innovative AI-enabled drone will measure carbon credit deposits in real-time.

The fintech further announced a $100 million funding agreement with Quantum Metal Group to support their African gold trading activities. Additionally, Banyan will serve as a custodian bank, holding 2.5 tonnes of gold on behalf of Quantum Metal Bullion Pty Ltd, the beneficial owner.

Balan said in line with its expansion plan, the firm announced the launch of Letscoin, a digital complementary currency, designed to empower local communities by enabling merchants, entrepreneurs and other users to participate in the digital economy.

Letscoin has additionally secured financial banking from Germany’s Deutsche Bank with ABC Bank being its local custodian bank.

The bank in the statement announced it will commit €1 Billion to the Rubi Foundation Africa.

“These funds will go towards the agriculture and housing sectors in 22 African countries where we believe there is great potential for job creation,” said Rubi Foundation Africa President and Founder Rubi Moss William.

In Kenya, Rubi Foundation Africa will primarily focus on counties in the Arid and Semi-Arid Areas (ASAL), such as Pokot, Narok, Turkana, Baringo, Marsabit, Kajiado, Wajir, and Makueni.

These initiatives will include providing affordable housing, water resources, and agricultural support and inputs to sustain livelihoods.

“The Foundation is already working with the government to launch this program and its related projects. Our goal is to settle over 2 million people in the ASAL regions. Additionally, we are focusing on irrigation and school feeding programs,” added William.

The firm’s Chairman Dr Jean Baptiste Bilala said its investment strategy is designed to foster economic growth within local communities by promoting conservation efforts and catalyzing job creation primarily within the tourism and hospitality industries, which are essential for showcasing Africa’s natural beauty and promoting environmental stewardship.

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