This full report looks at the continent’s main FinTech hubs, secondary effects of FinTech, collaborations between major tech and financial service players, and regulations occurring in 11 countries regarding mobile financial services (MFS). Here we present those countries/ cities of particular interest – the current established players, and rising stars.
Body: There has, for the past few years, an exciting pace of development in FinTech – and MFS – across Africa. Our report provides a comprehensive look into this area. We begin by looking at the four countries of major interest – South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya (SANGK).
SOUTH AFRICA: The country is focusing on unlocking private investment into dynamic sectors and encouraging small businesses with potential like those in technology and specifically FinTech. The country also has a number of exemplary programmes to boost this sector such as the Cape IT Initiative (CiTi), JoziHub – backed by Google and Omidyar, and Standard Bank’s Incubator programme.
However, STEM subject are in short supply. Math pass rates (grades above 30%) are down to 53.5% in 2015, from 59.1% a year ago. Telkom Business also estimates the country lacks between 30,000 – 70,000 skilled IT practitioners.
NIGERIA: The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced its intention to improve financial inclusion to 70% of the population focussing on areas such as remittances and pensions. It is doing this through a cash-lite initiative and has worked with MasterCard and Verifone to meet its aims.
The country’s telecommunications sector contributes 8.34% to Nigeria’s total GDP. This is good news as the government aims to diversify away from oil revenue. E-commerce is also proving popular both Konga and Jumia received $40m and $150m respectively to build their operations in the country. However, Nigeria faces IT skills shortages, estimated to persist until 2018/2019. It also possesses a distressed HR banking system which is coping with significant changes as a result of heavy training demands and large scale organisational changes.
GHANA: The government is taking its role to improve ICT within the country very seriously. Already 60,000 laptops have been distributed to school students and 50,000 teachers have received further Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training as part of its Better Ghana ICT Agenda. The government also plans to have all employees registered within the country paid electronically by 2020.
This might be possible as mobile phone subscriptions outnumber the country’s population by 1:1.2. It also has a busy start-up scene in Accra with the world renowned Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST). Though strides have been made to improve its ICT skills base; through a network of training centre – Community Information Centres (CICs) – a large percentage (44%) of these have no internet access.
KENYA: Though not the first African country with FinTech or MFS, it has been the most successful at capitalising on the sector’s potential through M-Pesa. The government is investing a lot into the country’s ICT, firstly through the Konza Technology City, a large tech hub hoping to create 17,000 jobs, and through its East African Marine System (TEAMS) cable. The government hopes to increase bank deposits from 40 to 80% and reduce financial exclusion from 85 to 70%.
There is also a concentrated effort to invest heavily in ICT skills training, an area the country’s ICT Authority admits is lacking investment. Currently many secondary schools, particularly in the rural areas, lack access to computers. The current estimate stands at only 15 %. Moreover, most of these are also unlikely to have internet access. But the ICT Authority has partnered with SAPS Skills for Africa and Microsoft (separately) to avoid the much needed training.
RISING STARS: Also of major interest are those up and coming locations which should be on your readers’ radar as they have a number of factors working in their favour. Countries such as:
o ETHIOPIA: an entrepreneurial culture/ start-up ecosystem and huge population growth;
o ANGOLA: advancing telecommunication expertise and budding financial sector; and,
o EGYPT: an excellent start-up ecosystem and a perfect geographical and cultural location.
There are FinTech apps in the UK which allow you to share restaurant bills and transfer money, but across Africa, things are so much more advanced. The most famous service is M-Pesa (started in 2007), though it wasn’t the first on the continent, that was WIZZIT (South Africa). But, M-Pesa is the most famous and how it’s maturing. M-Pesa users can pay for insurance, contribute to UNIT investments, setup funeral planning payment, and pay utility bills and school fees all via their non-smart phones! See attached Inforgraphic.
Company/ organisation information: OKA-HR (www.okahr.co) is a people and organisational development consultancy focussed on firms working within the FinTech sector. Our motto is: Always leading, always exceeding.
Source: Yinka Opaneye
Title: CEO OKA-HR
Email Address: [email protected]