by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – DIGITAL technologies are improving convenience and driving financial inclusion in the continent.
They are enabling people to transact, bank, invest and expand their financial knowledge, using a mobile device.
Traditionally, retailers have been slower to adopt new payment technologies than e-commerce retailers and small businesses.
However, the advent of COVID-19 and its associated lockdowns accelerated the pace of change.
Retailers are rolling out contactless payments, delivery apps and online e-commerce offerings at an unprecedented speed.
The GMSA State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money for 2022, established that there were 184 million active mobile money accounts in Africa in 2021.
These completed more than 36 billion transactions, valued at more than US$$700 billion.
Finance technology companies such as MFS Africa have been solving cross-border payments issues on the continent, thereby enhancing the capacity of African businesses and people to send and receive funds across geographical obstacles.
“Our guiding principle is that African consumers and businesses should be able to pay for anything, both offline and online,” said Rashi Gupta, Chief Operating Officer at MFS Africa.
“We’ve always known that in order to really eliminate borders, we needed to connect mobile money to the rest of the world; introducing card capabilities into our network seems to be the most effective means to do it.”
Gupta believes MFS Africa’s recent acquisition of GTP is assisting the company reaching this goal.
The Google Wallet was recently launched in South Africa, to create a safer, simpler and more helpful experience when transacting.
Alistair Mokoena, Google SA Country Director, said access to technology is vital for economic prosperity as millions of people use their mobile devices daily for transactions.
“At Google, we have learned that great things happen when technology works for everyone” Mokoena said.
“By including everyone – a dynamic ecosystem of manufacturers, developers and users – we want to make digital wallets accessible to everyone through fast, secure access to their everyday essentials.”
The digital payments sector has seen massive growth, but as this area starts to mature and saturate on the continent, there is an emergence of other digital technologies to help people save, invest and take out loans.
So says Tony Mallam, Managing Director micro-investment platform, upnup.
“Micro-savings and investment products, which allow consumers to put away a small amount of money, are perfectly suited to the South African context where savings rates are low, and the cost of living means that not everyone can put away set amounts of money each month, ” he said.
A 2021 report by Momentum and the University of South Africa established that many South Africans were “financially unwell” because of poor financial decisions or a lack of financial literacy.
“Few people have access to a financial advisor or the resources to learn more about how to manage their finances, but technology has the power to bridge this gap, says Glenn Gillis, CEO of Sea Monster.
– CAJ News