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Gijima, Walker JV Targets African e-Finance

[Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA] Nasdaq-listed e-business firm Walker announced on Monday that it has entered into a joint venture agreement with South African IT company Gijima Info Tech aimed at exploiting the R500-million e-business market for financial applications. The agreement, to be known as the Walker Afrika Initiative, will see the U.S. company use the Gijima client and technology base as a platform to launch it's e-commerce products into Africa.

The companies revealed yesterday that they would be targeting the public sector, parastatal organizations and private sector corporations. Both companies already have an established presence in this country, a key feature being a strong link to government organizations and parastatals.

Walker already has existing relationships with SA companies having implemented its solution for organizations such as Telkom, Eskom, Woolworths, Sanlam, the CSIR and Old Mutual. The black-owned Gijima Info Tech already boasts established relationships with public sector organizations and parastatals including the SA Police Service and the Departments of Justice, Home Affairs and Correctional Services.

This would appear to suggest that the companies would be making a bid for a slice of the government IT pie in this country. Gijima CEO Robert Gumede confirms that while this would form a component of its business strategy, the companies also expect to garner a significant portion of the large-scale e-finance applications market in Africa particularly in the banking sector.

Gumede commented that the recent modernization in Africa has paved the road for financial e-business application technology such as that offered by Walker. "Banks in Africa need systems and processes that conform to international standards," he said. "With Walker, we plan to dominate these markets."

Gumede highlights Kenya, Uganda and Ghana as three of the countries favored for immediate investment, but highlights Mozambique as a particularly promising region, especially in the banking sector.

Walker CEO Frank Richardson credited the governments from both countries as being instrumental in the establishment of this JV agreement. "Our relationship with Gijima is also a tribute to the efforts of the Mbeki-Gore Bilateral Commission, which has led the way in forging value-adding partnerships between South Africa and United States companies."



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