Africa’s potential for financial inclusion through smartphone adoption remains strong
Africa’s impressive mobile growth rate continues strong, verifying the continent's potential as the most fertile ground globally for the Fintech and mobile financial services evolution.
According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, total mobile subscriptions at the end of Q3 2018 raised to 1.045 billion, adding approximately 14 million new subscriptions in three months, while subscription penetration in the continent reached 82%.
On a yearly basis, Sub-Saharan Africa’s sub region was the most dynamic one, adding 30 million new mobile subscriptions out of a total number of 40 million that they were added in Middle East and Africa. During the same time, Sub-Saharan Africa gained about 70 million new smartphone subscriptions, a sign that the region is massively switching to smart devices in order to ride on new digital highways. Despite the late start of the region, mobile broadband gained significant ground during the past year. Subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa reached 410 million, 50 million of them were LTE subscriptions.
The future seems brighter as Ericsson Mobility Report’s estimations are more than positive for the next few years. In almost every segment CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) for Middle East and Africa scores double digit numbers. Driving factors behind this expected shift, especially in smartphones and mobile broadband subscriptions, include a young and growing population with increasing digital skills, as well as more affordable devices.
Besides prices, key role to the affordability of smartphones will play services such as handset loans, a sector where Channel VAS is well positioned. Greater smartphone penetration will lead to an accelerated pace of adoption of mobile financial services, as smartphones are considered a powerful financial tool for customers new to formal financial services. Therefore, there are great opportunities for services such as micro or nano loans, airtime credit and data loans.
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