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Nigeria’s Roqqu exchange secures regulatory nod in South Africa

Nigerian digital asset exchange Roqqu has received regulatory approval to offer its services in South Africa. The approval allows the exchange to facilitate deposits, digital asset purchases, and withdrawals of the South African rand.

The move to South Africa aims to increase the exchange’s footprint and the global adoption of digital assets, Roqqu says.

Speaking to a local outlet, the exchange’s Head of Product, Israel Ololade, revealed that Roqqu intensively researched the most strategic expansion targets before settling for South Africa.

The country is one of Africa’s largest Bitcoin markets, alongside Nigeria and Kenya. In 2022, studies found about six million digital asset owners in South Africa, accounting for 10% of the population. A majority of these are low-income earners, and with the country having the world’s highest wealth inequality, digital assets could bridge the gap.

South Africa also offers an easy entry into other African countries, Ololade claimed.

One of Roqqu’s biggest targets, as it ventures into South Africa, is the cross-border transfers and remittances sector. Africa received over $95 billion in remittances in 2022, making it one of the region’s most important sources of foreign currency. Remittances account for as much as 28% and 21% of the national GDP in Gambia and Lesotho, respectively.

Despite their importance, remittances are still costly and inaccessible in Africa. The World Bank found the average cost of receiving funds to be 8.17% in Africa, almost twice the 4.9% in South Asia. In some countries like Kenya and Tanzania, the cost is as high as 17% and 21%, respectively.

Digital assets are targeting this market, with some, like Centbee allowing users to receive funds in seconds from across the world for a fraction of a penny. With its expansion to South Africa, Roqqu seeks to tap into this market.

Roqqu will now compete with South African exchanges for the lucrative market, most of whom have thrived despite the global market downturn. VALR, the largest market player, raised $50 million last year at a $240 million valuation. Collectively, South African blockchain startups raised $176 million in 2022, only bettered by Seychelles at $208 million in the continent.

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