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AZA, Africa’s biggest non-bank FX broker, hires Diebold Nixdorf’s Habibi in major expansion

AZA, Africa’s biggest non-bank currency broker, has appointed  Meryem Habibi as Chief Revenue Officer in a major expansion of operations across Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

AZA, which Business Insider listed this year among the top global fintech providers, has disrupted the costly and lengthy process of intra-African transactions going via the US dollar by creating a direct market for currency pairs across the continent using its innovative BFX and TransferZero platforms. The company has increased transaction volume exponentially to above $1bn annually and has tripled staff in the past year to more than 150 across six regional offices.

Moroccan-born Meryem will oversee revenue growth through sales, strategic partnerships and expanded marketing. An experienced leader in finance and technology innovation, Meryem previously served as Head of Channel Operations for EMEA and APAC regions at Diebold Nixdorf, the US-based provider of ATMs and software to banks and retailers, and led marketing and communications at Samsung Electronics.

‘Specifically, Meryem will drive further hirings for leadership, sales and business development positions, with particular focus on Africa, the Middle East and Asia, along with strengthening existing operations in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Senegal,’ the company said in a statement on September 1.

‘AZA is in the final stages of establishing an office in Egypt, where it sees significant demand from partners on the ground. After being accepted last year into the Fintech regulatory Sandbox in Abu Dhabi, which provides a controlled environment for FinTech participants to develop and test innovative solutions, AZA sees strong growth potential across the Middle East and North Africa market,’ the statement added.

‘AZA is opening up intra-regional trade opportunities in emerging and frontier markets by tackling inefficiencies that companies have typically viewed as simply too overwhelming or entrenched to confront,’ said Meryem, who recently moved from Casablanca to take up her new role in London. ‘In Africa and beyond, there are no limits to applying AZA’s technology to intrinsically improve the way that cross-border trade happens.’

The crisis created by Covid-19 has forced individuals to look for alternatives to cash and businesses to seek ways of transacting more efficiently. ‘AZA has been a focused and reliable provider of liquidity throughout this difficult period, building a solid platform from which to further expand,’ said Meryem.

AZA’s commitment to diversity and equity is reflected in a seven-strong leadership team comprising four women, including three Africans, and commitment to training and capacity building to promote from the inside up.

‘AZA has shown incredible growth, even in the face of this year’s global economic turmoil, and Meryem is deeply committed to the level of operational excellence needed to take AZA to the next level,’ said Elizabeth Rossiello, AZA’s CEO and Founder.  ‘Her deep African knowledge and roots reinforce our commitment to recruitment in the frontier markets we serve.’

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