By Adedapo Adesanya
As the Commonwealth Games opened in Birmingham, the United Kingdom, pan-African payments infrastructure, Kora, has been announced as a new Commonwealth-sourced foreign direct investments (FDI) project for the West Midlands.
India’s first credit platform, The Disposal Company, was also announced alongside Kora.
Business leaders and government officials gathered at the International Convention Centre, organised in partnership with the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, as Kora was unveiled during a presentation at the Commonwealth Business Forum.
Both Commonwealth-sourced investments have been secured as a direct result of the Global Growth Programme, a new UK government-backed support package for international companies looking to grow in the UK.
The programme will provide Kora and The Disposal Company with a package of free support, including office space at Bruntwood SciTech’s Innovation Birmingham campus.
Speaking on the investments, Mr Andrew Griffith MP, UK Minister for Exports, said: “I’m so pleased to share these new investments, a direct result of the Global Growth Programme, which has helped to showcase the potential of the West Midlands for businesses to invest in.
“We already have free trade agreements with 33 Commonwealth nations, and additional ones that we are currently negotiating will unlock fresh opportunities for further collaboration, particularly in the green industries that are priorities for the UK and our Commonwealth partners.”
In pursuit of its mission to enable payments across, into and outside of Africa, the West Midlands office will be Kora’s first European presence. The Techstars-backed company has chosen Birmingham as the location for its first UK sales and support office due to the city’s established fintech and banking ecosystem and its rich tech-oriented talent pool.
“Marking our first ever European investment, the launch of our new Birmingham office is a major milestone for Kora. The region’s extensive pipeline of tech talent and strong track record in FinTech and banking will support us in enabling more businesses and individuals to use our innovative payments infrastructure,” said Mr Gideon Orovwiroro, Chief Operating Officer Kora.
The West Midlands Global Growth Programme is part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Business and Tourism Programme (BATP) – the first economic legacy programme of its kind aligned to the Commonwealth Games and is designed to strengthen bilateral ties between the UK and other Commonwealth markets.