African digital payments network MFS Africa has agreed to acquire US-based fintech Global Technology Partners (GTP) in what is described as a rare deal.

MFS paid $34m for the fintech firm in a combination of cash and shares, according to a report by Financial Times.

Oklahoma-based GTP is said to be a leading processor for prepaid cards in Africa with 80 banks, including UBA, BIA, Ecobank, Stanbic, Coris, NSIA and Zenith Bank, using its platform.

The firm, which process for Visa, Mastercard, GIM, GIMAC and Verve networks, has clients in more than 34 countries.

The deal will enable MFS Africa to further expand its offering to Africa’s gig economy, and the business travel market.

Furthermore, it will enable the company to serve millions who are seeking to participate in global digital commerce through card credentials linked to mobile money wallets.

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The addition of GTP is also expected to bolster MFS Africa’s bank and fintech base and provides tokenisation for the mobile money world in linking the traditional card scheme ecosystems such as Visa and Mastercard.

MFS Africa founder and CEO Dare Okoudjou said: “This is a momentous milestone for us and Africa’s tech ecosystem – on many levels. It’s something of a first for an African tech company to acquire a US tech company of GTP’s size and stature, and we’re delighted to be welcoming the GTP team to the MFS Africa family.

“Their expertise enables us to extend our value proposition of last-mile connectivity to African banks and to accelerate our offering of card connectivity to mobile money users and other fintech companies operating across the continent.”

Following the acquisition, MFS Africa intends to make additional investments in GTP’s current card programmes with banks.

The company will also leverage GTP’s stack to fast-track card programmes for MNOs and FinTechs across Africa. Lastly, MFS Africa intends to leverage GTP’s presence in the USA to expand its commercial activities in North America.

GTP founder and chairman Robert Merrick said: “MFS Africa is an ideal home for GTP, and we are focused on adding new features and functionalities to our platform, signing up new clients, expanding into new countries, driving growth and making a significant contribution to growing MFS Africa’s business and its network of networks.”

Last November, MFS Africa raked in $100m in an equity and debt financing round to further accelerate its expansion effort by adding more talent to its teams in Africa and worldwide.