International

The Tech And Payments Promise Of Africa

The next great tech frontier?

That would be Africa, according to recent comments from Alibaba Group Holding’s founder and chairman Jack Ma. “The opportunity in eCommerce in Africa lies in the fact that Africa is lacking logistics, infrastructure and payment systems,” Ma said at a conference in Johannesburg, according to Bloomberg.

Digital payments, FinTech and eCommerce are expanding slowly but surely in Africa. In Kenya, banks are pursuing regulatory approval to use distributed ledger technologies to help facilitate payments and create credit scoring models. In Nigeria, Microsoft and First Bank are linking up to bring financial services to consumers there.

And just this week, Stripe, Visa and other firms invested $8 million in Paystack, a Nigerian firm that enables developers to create payment tools via its APIs and connects multiple payment processors by handling transactions for merchants and consumers. In a new PYMNTS interview, CEO Shola Akinlade talks about the challenges of improving payments in his home country, including those related to infrastructure and connectivity.

That doesn’t mean the path to a larger digital ecosystem will be a smooth one. Despite being home to Africa’s biggest mobile phone market, Nigeria is seeing a decline in banked adults in the country. Financial inclusion in the African country reportedly has declined close to 4 percentage points from 2014 to 2017, now standing at 39 percent at the same time that the Sub-Saharan African average of banked people increased more than 8 percentage points to 43 percent.

In Kenya 73 percent of people use mobile money — compared to under 6 percent in Nigeria, noted Bloomberg, citing data from the World Bank.  “We’re taking baby steps when we should be running,” Yomi Ibosiola, an associate director at Deloitte Nigeria’s data analytics practice, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Despite the speed bumps, Africa holds great promise for some of the world’s biggest investors. Find out more here.

 

 

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WATCH LIVE: HOW WE SHOP – TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2020 – 12:00 PM (ET)

New forms of alternative credit and point-of-sale (POS) lending options like ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) leverage the growing influence of payments choice on customer loyalty. Nearly 60 percent of consumers say such digital options now influence where and how they shop—especially touchless payments and robust, well-crafted ecommerce checkouts—so, merchants have a clear mandate: understand what has changed and adjust accordingly. Join PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster together with PayPal’s Greg Lisiewski, BigCommerce’s Mark Rosales, and Adore Me’s Camille Kress as they spotlight key findings from the new PYMNTS-PayPal study, “How We Shop” and map out faster, better pathways to a stronger recovery.

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