The founder of revolutionary peer-to-peer currency exchange and e-money company TradeNAIRA, Martin Nwike, has expressed confidence over structures set in place by his company to contribute significantly to country’s economy.
The company, which was founded in late 2018 has already started to gather momentum.
According to findings, TradeNAIRA has signed up over 50,000 users from around the world and is growing at a phenomenal pace. Currently the company offers currency exchange services between the Nigerian Naira, US Dollars, British Pounds, Euros and many more. It also allows users to send money to each other through an online escrow service aimed at making business and trade in Nigeria much safer and transparent.
Recall that banks had struggled to manage forex in Nigeria for many years, leaving a massive vacuum that has since been occupied by a vibrant black market in currency exchange. This has not been good for consumers and businesses as they have been forced to put themselves and their money at great risk in order to simply pay for goods and services or send money abroad.
Nwike, stated that, “technology has given us the opportunity to disrupt this broken industry and try to put right the many issues that Nigerians face when sending money to or from Nigeria.
“Banks in Nigeria have completely lost their way and the black-market operates with zero accountability or incentives to behave long-term. We have decided to build a company that is completely focused on the user and to assist them to make safe, simple and reliable transactions.”
Going down memory lane, Mr Nwike, had first started working on TradeNAIRA in 2016, just after a devastating currency crisis in Nigeria that affected many businesses and caused massive inflation. Mr Nwike, who is an established businessman and entrepreneur based between London and Lagos, explained that one of his Nigerian companies that was focused on wholesale distribution was also badly affected by the 2016 currency crisis as they were heavily import and forex dependant.
His words, “I understand how painful a foreign exchange crisis can be for businesses and Nigerians who do business abroad. I have experienced this, and I believe the most important thing is to build a system that prevents these kinds of issues from happening again. While many industries such as media, music and travel are being disrupted by technology, there has been very little innovation when it comes to foreign exchange, especially in Africa.”
Nwike, had initially built his career from real estate in the UK after graduating with a Master’s degree from Cass Business School in London and has established many successful companies over the last 10 years.
“When you face a challenge or barrier, rather than complain and give up, you have to understand that it gives you the opportunity to create a solution.”
“I encourage all young people to not shy away in the face of difficulty, but to rise up to the challenge because especially in Africa we need good leaders. I understand the challenges inherent in the forex industry in Nigeria, but I have built a dynamic team that is very capable of facing off to all the challenges we may face.”
Mr Nwike is part of a growing group of British Nigerians returning home to start businesses. He says more Nigerians should go into business and build institutions.
“Nigerians are some of the most entrepreneurial and hard-working people in the world. We can go to any country in the world and thrive. Now we should focus some of our talents to solve some of the big issues we have at home. We cannot wait for someone else to fix our problems.”
“About 46% of Nigerians have access to the internet today and that number is growing rapidly. More and more Nigerians are becoming computer literate. This trend is great for those that want to start internet companies.”
TradeNAIRA has built an advanced currency matching exchange platform that works by matching the transactions of people selling Naira with those of people who want to buy Naira from around the world.This creates a unique mid-market exchange rate for Nigerian Naira that provides better value for those remitting money back to Nigeria as well as those who need access to forex for business purposes.
The company generates revenue by charging users a withdrawal fee that ranges from 0.025% and 2% depending on the volume of transactions they make monthly.
“What really sets us apart is our user interface and customer service,” Mr Nwike explains.
“The UK,USA and Europe have a large Nigerian diaspora population who have very strong ties to their homeland and remit billions of Naira on a monthly basis. As technology becomes more accessible and people are travelling more and doing business globally, we expect to see greater sums of money being remitted back to Nigeria.”