One of UK’s biggest banks is going digital in Africa for a share of the mobile money market
By Yomi Kazeem
The success story of mobile money and payments in several African countries has been a boon for financial inclusion and a significant victory for telecoms companies like Safaricom and MTN. In contrast however, that success has caught major traditional banks off-guard, leaving them to play catch-up.
UK bank, Standard Chartered, is making a play for the mobile financial services market in Côte d’Ivoire—where it has no physical presence—with the the launch of its first digital-only retail bank. The bank will offer digital services allowing users make transfers and pay bills.
Standard Chartered currently has retail banking operations in 10 African countries, but is opening up in the West African Francophone country because without a legacy commercial banking business it hopes to start from scratch by redefining itself as a digital bank there. If successful in Côte d’Ivoire, Standard Chartered is expected to replicate the digital bank model in other major African markets including Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.
Photo courtesy of Erik (HASH) Hersman.