NIGERIA- Interswitch, Nigeria’s leading integrated digital payments and commerce company has acquired a majority stake healthcare technology company, eclat.

By acquiring shares from current shareholders and subscribing to the newly issued shares, Interswitch now owns a 60% stake in eClat Healthcare Limited.

The company said in a statement that “The combined product offerings of Interswitch and eClat are expected to, amongst other things, enable operators in the healthcare sector develop new capabilities, improve the efficiency of their core operations and facilitate seamless payments.”

The payments company revealed that it sees its latest acquisition, eClat  which currently operates in Lagos, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Enugu and Ondo states, as a vehicle for addressing Nigeria’s long-standing challenges in healthcare delivery.

The move would enable Interswitch to intergrate its famed payments infrastructure with eClat’s seven-year experience in providing support services to healthcare service providers and this could prove an innovative combination from one of Africa’s biggest companies.

Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch’s CEO, says his company’s expansion into healthcare reflects an ambition “to provide customers with greater access to healthcare across different interaction points beyond hospitals, providing much-needed services to patients across Nigeria and, in the future, in Africa”.

While its most recent acquisitions – VANSO and Paynet – have been financial services startups at their core, eClat represents an entry into more lifestyle-related products for Interswitch.

This move can be thus seen interpret as a sign of things to come as the company look to strengthen its place in the fintech industry where smart, ambitious upstarts are rising to cater to a generation of digital-first consumers.

Fintech’s are increasingly becoming attractive to investors in both Nigeria and Africa, attracting about six times more investor funds than healthcare tech companies in 2017, a TechCabal ‘State of Health Tech in Nigeria’ study shows.

The acquisition by Interswitch is the country’s second major acquisition in the Nigerian health tech space in recent times and comes at a time when there is as a global discourse highlighting the need for governments to ease and democratize access to quality healthcare for its citizens.