Everything To Know About African Fintech Right Now

Written by Staff
Africa-focused fintech startups are the tech rave of the moment. In the last three years, fintech startups have received more investment than other sectors. Photo: Rawpixel Ltd, Flickr

Africa-focused financial technology (fintech) startups are, by far, the tech rave of the moment. In each of the last three years, startups in the sector have received more investment than other sectors – and there’s a basis for this.

Across the continent, fintech isn’t so much disrupting traditional financial services as building up a historically underdeveloped industry. By creating a raft of tech-based products and solutions, including mobile money, online payment processing, lending, and investing, these startups are plugging large gaps that exist in local financial service industries.

With around 66 percent of the adult population in Africa unbanked, the emerging industry has a huge opportunity to drive financial inclusion outside of traditional banking systems. In Kenya, M-Pesa mobile money service has been a runaway success by allowing users to pay bills, and each other, through mobile phones or an agent network, whether or not they have bank accounts. Since launching in 2007, the service has impacted local access to financial products and services: today, financial inclusion in Kenya stands at 83 percent—up from 27 percent in 2006.

Story from Quartz. Story by By Yomi Kazeem.

And it’s not just Kenya. Across West Africa, the reach of the mobile money sector is 13 times wider than local banks. In Ghana, MTN launched a mobile-money based IPO last year and raised over $200 million. Earlier this year, Flutterwave, the Nigerian-headquartered payments API, struck a landmark partnership with Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba to allow African merchants receive payment from Alipay’s one billion users.

Thanks to fintech companies that have focused on honing mobile technology as a solution to bypass age-old problems and building infrastructure from scratch, a new generation of young Africans are participating in local and global economies.

Africa is home to the world’s youngest labor force, and a rapidly growing rate of mobile phone use. Providing essential financial services to this market has major potential—and global investors, from Silicon Valley venture capital firms to international finance institutions, are taking notice and backing African fintech companies. Notably, global payments giants also want in.

Read more at Quartz.