The use of cryptocurrencies in Africa is on the rise, as they offer a fast, easy, and direct peer-to-peer channel for remittance payments, international commerce, and savings. Statistics show that cryptocurrency adoption in Africa increased by 1200 percent between July 2020 and June 2021. This adoption of cryptocurrency in Africa, however, is not widespread. In regions like Francophone Africa, the rate of cryptocurrency adoption is tardy. While Francophone Africa is one of the most crypto-friendly markets in Africa, only a few players are taking advantage of the market. Reports show that Africa has the smallest cryptocurrency economy even with its impressive achievements, and startups like Ejara continue to help push the cryptocurrency space in Africa as well as her digital economy.
To provide crypto and investment services and promote the adoption of cryptocurrencies in Africa, Ejara, a Cameroon-based startup, has raised $2 million in a funding round led by CoinShares Ventures and Anthemis Group. Other investors who participated in the round were Mercy Corps Ventures, Lateral Capital, LoftyInc Capital, and NetX Fund, as well as two angel investors — Pascal Gauthier of Ledger and Jason Yanowitz of Blockworks, and a syndicate social fund.
In Francophone Africa, cryptocurrencies are usually reserved for the upper class in the society who wish to diversify their assets. Ejara wants to provide financial inclusion to the lower and middle-class French-speaking Africans so that they can invest as little as 5,000 CFA (~$9).
Founded in 2020, Ejara’s blockchain-based mobile investment and saving platform offer secure and convenient financial services to the population in Africa. Its non-custodial wallet and platform allow people to keep, invest, send and receive digital assets. Deposits and withdrawals can be done through mobile money, bank transfer, and credit card. With non-custodial wallets, users are allowed to own and store their keys. Ejara said it emphasizes security, privacy, and ownership, which is why it is taking measures to give non-custodial wallets to its users so they can securely buy, sell, exchange, and store their crypto investments.
Currently, Ejara has more than 8,000 users from Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, and Senegal, as well as French-speaking Africans in the diaspora (Europe, Asia, and the U.S.), and caters to them via a partnership with crypto payment infrastructure company MoonPay so they can send funds to friends and family in Africa.
Talking about the investment, Meltem Demirors, the Chief Strategy Officer and digital asset manager of CoinShares, said that her company was excited to partner with Ejara. In her opinion, Francophone Africa has a lot of potentials but suffers from the lack of funding. Notwithstanding, she believes that Ejara’s funding round offers a glimmer of hope for Francophone Africa. “We are excited to work with Nelly and the Ejara team to deliver financial services via non-custodial wallets and offer a new level of trust and transparency to Francophone savers and investors,” she said.
Ruth Foxe Blader, a partner at Anthemis, said that Anthems invested with Ejara because of how Ejara educates people in Francophone Africa on digital assets and democratizes wealth creation opportunities.
With the new investment, Ejara will focus on accelerating its growth, deploying new features, and expanding its product and tech team.