Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott. (FP)

A historic and enduring commercial partnership has been formed among Barbados companies’ Global Integrated FinTech Solutions (GIFTS) iPayAnywhere (iPay) and TelNet Nigerian digital transformation company.

During a cross-border virtual signing ceremony this morning, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, characterised the partnership among the three companies as a “win-win”.

“It allows GIFTS to have access to an initial market of over 200 million people by utilising TelNet’s large database of customers, and permits TelNet to extend its operation’s competencies into the Nigerian FinTech space. This initiative also presents GIFTS with an opportunity to expand the operation of Barbadian homegrown technologies in the near future, as part of government’s strategy of economic diversification.”

Senator Walcott emphasised Government’s commitment to building and deepening commercial diplomacy with countries in Africa, and pointed out that this could be seen through the imminent establishment of Barbados’ High Commission in Ghana.

He said that government’s exploration of a new and dynamic ethos of national development by a redirection of diplomacy, through the stimulation and encouragement of private sector partnerships, was evidenced by today’s ceremony.

“Government will also continue to utilise technology to enhance the ease of doing business in this country, and in doing so, become more transparent, predictable and competitive,” Minister Walcott added.

The Minister thanked the entities and the individuals engaged in the initiative for their commitment to the process over the last few months, which he noted involved many hours of discussion and negotiations, across different time zones.

Congratulating the management teams of the companies, he said. “On the formation of this new partnership built not only on best practices in terms of corporate governance, but underpinned by what I hope will be a valuable symbiotic relationship, I trust that this partnership will set the necessary standards that others will seek to follow as we rekindle our ancestral roots.”

Founder and Executive Chairman of GIFTS and iPay, Dave Sahadath explained that the decision to go into business and form a partnership with TelNet was not taken lightly.

“It was important to us to form a partnership with an organisation whose core values mirrored ours, and whose operating ethos did the same,” he noted.

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Mr. Sahadath shared some of the products and services being provided under the new partnership which include: anti-money laundering and know your customer product; a full suite of payment and payment processing services; fraud reduction through an early detection product which is powered by artificial intelligence, ‘Fred’; as well as iPayAnywhere solution, which is an end to end, mobile based payment solution that services both government, private sector and consumers alike.

“We are very happy to form this partnership with TelNet and we are happy to say that in TelNet we believe that we have found the right partner, the right partner who also has the knowledge of the local market, understands the culture, [and] has served the Nigerian market for the last three decades with pride and distinction, and integrity. In doing our due diligence we recognise that TelNet had a pristine reputation of delivering great products and services to the marketplace,” Mr. Sahadath expressed.

Chairman of the TelNet Nigeria Limited group of companies, Chief Samaila Aleyodeino, described the signing as a significant milestone for closer collaboration between Barbados and Nigeria. 

He noted that TelNet and its subsidiary companies, for over three decades, have been at the forefront of digital transformation in Nigeria with key projects that have transformed the Nigerian economy.

Chief Aleyodeino shared that the mission of TelNet is to provide technology enabled business solutions, efficiently, and cost effectively to the utmost satisfaction of their customers, which include businesses in financial services, government, oil and gas, healthcare, travel and the hospitality and energy sectors.

The Chairman of TelNet emphasised that with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and governments had to adopt the use of technology in their operations, in order to improve their bottom line, and effectively provide services to their customers.

He added it was vital for organisations to follow business trends and understand how technology is driving or reacting to market forces.

“Business opportunities abound in Nigeria, and the FinTech sector is growing.  We at TelNet are excited that this historic event is taking place at this time [and] I’m also confident that this international partnership will drive a new wave of world class developments in FinTech solutions,” Chief Aleyodeino stated.

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