Aboki Africa is an online-based business platform that provides digital services including foreign exchange and foreign bank accounts. Established in 2020, the platform was created by forex enthusiasts, Idoreyin Obong and Joseph Aghedo after a frustrating experience the former had a year before.
According to Idoreyin, the idea of creating the startup came up two years ago. He had saved his funds in US Dollars (USD) and wished to use part of the money for rent payment. However, it proved very difficult for him to convert his funds to Naira, to be able to pay up.
“That single frustrating experience was responsible for the creation of Aboki Africa, which was birthed in 2020,” Idoreyin disclosed this in an interview with TechCabal.
Before the inception of Aboki Africa, Idoreyin said he had to contact a bureau de change service representative in Lagos to convert his funds from USD to Naira. Today, it hasn’t only become increasingly difficult to contact an operator but the exchange rate has increased exponentially — favoring the USD.
The difficulty of getting a bureau de change operator was a result of the CBN stopping the sale of foreign currencies to operators in July this year. This policy caused massive controversy when the CBN first announced it because of the importance of the bureau de change operations in the forex market.
Before the ban, there were more than fifty-six thousand licensed bureaus de change service providers in Nigeria, who made the acquisition of foreign currencies easy and stress-free. However, that wasn’t the first time the Central Bank of Nigeria would be taking a controversial approach that would significantly impact Nigerian forex traders.
Since Nigeria first entered recession in 2015, things haven’t been the same in its economic sector — prompting the sourcing and utilization of foreign currencies by its citizens. This has pushed the CBN to create new policies in different sectors of the economy — including foreign exchange services — most of which have been met with public backlash.
Since monitoring most of the CBN’s forex guidelines can be frustrating, the only solution was to create an efficient system that could tackle these problems — enter Aboki Africa.
The One Percent Fee
Aboki Africa began operations in 2020 as an internet-based money exchange platform. Here, customers can easily transfer foreign currencies to their Aboki accounts and exchange the currencies with Naira and vice versa.
However, according to its co-founder — Idoreyin — the company had to restructure its system after facing challenges carry out transactions successfully. This resulted in its 2021 relaunch where it included digital foreign bank accounts.
“At first, we assumed that our users wouldn’t have difficulty understanding how to receive money and then exchange money using our platform. However, we are currently assisting them in learning how to receive money and exchange with us immediately,” Idoreyin said.
Aboki Africa receives a one percent fee for every transaction or conversation that is done using its platform. This is the same as the amount the parallel market — popularly known as the black market — charges.
When a new user signs up, their foreign account will be available between one to two business days. However, they must meet the guidelines and policies of the company.
At the moment, Aboki Naira offers customers European-currency-based accounts but is working to include USD accounts soon.