MoneyGram International, Inc a leading global financial technology company that connects the world’s communities, has announced a strategic partnership with Astra Tech (Astra), a technology investment and development group based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Astra’s overarching vision of creating the world’s first ultra app has seen the company make several strategic acquisitions since launching in March 2022, the most recent of which includes BOTIM, a popular Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) solution in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Through its innovative partnership with MoneyGram, Astra will deliver BOTIM’s 90-plus million registered users a simplified experience and the first communications platform in the region with seamless international transactions that take place in a matter of seconds, in real-time, and across 200 countries and territories worldwide.
“As we increasingly look to capture growth by opening our global network to new use cases, we are thrilled to offer our leading international money transfer capabilities on BOTIM, Astra Tech’s latest and most substantial acquisition,” said Alex Holmes, MoneyGram Chairman and CEO. “With BOTIM becoming the MEA’s region’s most trusted consumer platform, this will enable us to extend our reach to the millions of consumers who use it, enabling seamless communication and money transfer for businesses, family, and friends around the world. This partnership is a prime example of how MoneyGram strategically and efficiently reaches new customers worldwide through innovative channels.”
Abdallah Abu Sheikh, Astra Tech’s Founder and BOTIM’s CEO, said: “Partnering with MoneyGram will allow us to leverage their unparalleled security and offer BOTIM users world-class financial services. We are revolutionizing the sending of international money transfers by making it as easy as text messaging and removing the hassles of standing in long lines, tedious form-filling, and unnecessarily carrying cash or paying additional fees. This represents our ability to connect people not only socially but also financially while demonstrating our arrival as the first chat-based communication platform that enables people to send money home with a click of a button.”
With nearly nine million expatriates living in the UAE, this partnership positions MoneyGram to accelerate its digital growth further and promote financial inclusion in a region dominated by outbound international payment transfers, BOTIM’s rapidly growing app is uniquely positioned to reach up to 1.2 billion users throughout MENA in the next few years, given the region’s sizeable expat population and strong demand for free VoIP services.
“MoneyGram has spent over 80 years building one of the world’s largest P2P payment networks, and today’s announcement highlights the potential for all kinds of organizations to plug into that seamlessly,” said Grant Lines, MoneyGram’s Chief Revenue Officer. “I am excited to see this partnership take form as it advances our leading position in the Middle East and spurs a positive impact for our business while we continue uncovering new opportunities to create meaningful processing revenue in the years ahead.”
The partnership will be live soon for consumers.