Africa: The Overlooked Hub of Payments Innovation
Friday, October 17, 2014
The perception that Africa is behind the times when it comes to the payments industry is an interesting one. It is easy to assume that the continent as a whole is still cash-based with large rural unbanked areas widespread across the region.
This assumption isn’t entirely unfounded, with the exception of the highly publicized success of the M-Pesa mobile payments initiative in Kenya, what do we really know about payments in this continent? It turns out a number of financial institutions are using emerging technology to deliver payments on the continent.
Home to approximately one billion people across 54 different countries, Africa represents nearly one seventh of the world’s population; a population that is largely unbanked. With the exception of South Africa, which boasts just over 50% financial inclusion according to Mercator Advisory Group, the percentage of people banked in each country largely ranges from 10 to 50%.