Why different parts of Africa have widely different levels of success with mobile banking
Friday, April 4, 2014
Why are different parts of Africa experiencing widely different levels of success with mobile banking, despite years of experience in Kenya? Panellists at the IPS conference in London offered a range of explanations
“It’s about bringing together all the stakeholders including governments, the private sector and the local community,” said Edward George, head of soft commodities research at pan-African banking group Ecobank. “You have to start at the bottom, from the fields up. It is a huge effort. It’s been said that M-Pesa only succeeded in Kenya because the government didn’t understand what they were agreeing to.”
Headquartered in Togo, which borders Ghana to the west, Ecobank is active in 35 African countries and describes itself as the ‘cheese in the sandwich’ between the Sahara and South Africa – an area that is home to 700 million people with no bank account. The company is currently partnered with Standard Chartered and Barclays and is in discussions with Dutch bank ABN Amro in the region.