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Is eToro pulling out of Africa?

“Steve and Dave use eToro to invest in financial markets, Steve does all the research while Dave plays around, yet they both have the same results.”

That’s a copy of a popular eToro advert you might have come across on YouTube.

If you’re wondering how Dave and Steve get the same results, the answer is copy-trading. That’s the promise of eToro, that novices can copy the financial moves of experts and achieve the same results. 

Who wouldn’t want in?

Over the years, eToro an Israeli social trading company has grown in popularity. As of May 2020, it had 13 million registered accounts and was last valued at $2.5 billion.

Recently, it added Nigeria and some other African countries to a list of countries where its services aren’t available. 

Currently, eToro is not available in almost 40 African countries and about 90 other countries around the world.

Before now, eToro accepted traders from Nigeria, with the minimum deposit required to open a live account being $200. 

In terms of user reviews, eToro was praised for its safety and ease to use.

But there were also complaints that there were no local deposit & withdrawal methods for Nigeria and that it’s trading fees are higher than other platforms.

Another review pointed out that 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading with eToro. Well, trading cryptocurrencies, stocks, ETFs, currencies, commodities is a risky activity irrespective of which platform people use. 

TechCabal reached out to eToro on its decision to leave Nigeria  and the response was: 

“From time to time, as a global business, we need to review and update the countries from which we can service clients in line with regulatory requirements and risk management considerations. For this reason, we will no longer be providing our services to clients in Nigeria. We apologise for the inconvenience caused to clients in Nigeria.”

I followed up to get clarity on which other countries or what instances led to this business decision but the final word from eToro was that Nigeria is not unique and is amongst a group of countries where it will no longer be serving.

Although the list on eToro’s website hasn’t been updated to reflect these new changes, it shows that previously Nigeria, Kenya and SouthAfrica weren’t barred. It’s unclear if Kenya or South Africa have also been added to list. 

With an increasing number of African countries being barred, I can’t help but ask if eToro is pulling out of Africa.

Out of Africa’s 54 countries, with almost 40 countries barred, there’s not much left.

Irrespective of eToro’s play, with an increase in smartphone availability and the rise of trading platforms accessible to Africans, Africans have many other alternatives to turn to.

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