The intriguing fintech market of Sub-Saharan Africa
Unbanked and underserved population of Sub-Saharan Africa represents a great opportunity for the fintech sector, which is growing really fast in the region. The need for bridging financial gaps is really strong and the region has been considered a global leader in fintech innovation and adoption. For Channel VAS especially, it is part of our mission and commitment to improve people’s daily lives, providing financial inclusion for everyone through our fintech services.
Findings from a recently published report justify those high expectations. The insightful report from EY agrees that “the conditions for growth are promising, and the market is exhibiting favorable signs for continuous development”. “By providing access to financial services to this population, fintech companies have the potential to profoundly change the financial services landscape and play a pivotal role in improving financial inclusion” it adds.
The report from the famous consulting house argues that the continent has already proven its readiness for fintech companies, having one of the highest mobile phone penetration levels in the world, and in turn experiencing a boom in mobile financial services and payment technologies. According to the report, the SSA fintech landscape has experienced an impressive compound annual growth rate of 24% over the past decade. Key drivers of this fast adoption of fintech services are the favorable demographics and high use of internet and mobile technology. Moreover, EY’s study expects that adoption rate will increase even further in the upcoming years, as fintech expands its footprint to more countries. For the time being South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria play a leading role in the fintech market of SSA and have become the three main hubs, providing innovative financial solutions. “In addition to those markets, recent developments have shown encouraging signs of fintech growth in Ghana, Uganda, Cameroon and Rwanda. Given the increasing interest in the segment, it is expected that the ecosystem will further improve across more countries in SSA in the near future».
On the other hand, the report says that for the near future fintech market in SSA will continue to be dominated by payments solutions until the need for financial inclusion is sufficiently addressed. “At the same time, it can be expected that the smaller segments will expand their footprints in the sector as consumers shift their attention to solutions that satisfy other previously underserved financial needs”.
EY mentions the dominant role of local fintech players. According to the report, active fintech companies in SSA market are split into local (80%) and international (20%), but it expects that those numbers will change as the market matures. “This is due to the enhanced transferability of innovative solutions that have yet to gain footing in the SSA market” it adds.
In addition, investors have overcome their reservations about the SSA sector and have started to invest at an increasing rate. Key drivers are the increase in confidence and the success of multiple fintech companies across the industry, which will continue to drive investments in the sector and positively influence its growth trajectory. “The increasing development and huge growth potential of digital ecosystems and sustainable investments is expected to be a similar investment driver in SSA as in more developed markets”.
The report concludes that “the combination of these trends cements the view that the SSA fintech sector has high growth potential and provides opportunities for investments”. Fintech has built (and will continue to do it) services of fundamental importance, from powering payments, ensuring financial inclusion for the unbanked to tackling access to credit for small businesses and individuals among others. That’s why it holds long-term appeal for investors.
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