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High demand for financial inclusion driving SSA’s mobile money payments

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Africa , 15 Jul 2021

High demand for financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and rapid use of mobile wallet transactions in ‘leapfrog’ markets such as Kenya has helped propel the region’s 23% rise in mobile money transaction values for 2020.

This is according to Aida Diarra, head of Visa in Sub Saharan Africa, who added that the race to take Africa’s payments industry online is speeding up, building on blossoming Fintech and e-commerce platforms.

These platforms are being integrated with mobile money platforms in countries such as Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe, among others.

“Restrictions on movement and increased wariness of handling physical cash caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, helped lift Sub-Saharan African mobile money transaction volumes,” said Diarra.

Recently, GSMA said that transaction values on mobile money platforms across Sub-Saharan Africa had strengthened by 23% to US$490-billion in 2020.

“Leapfrog markets like Kenya have one of the highest mobile money penetration rates in the world (mobile money is 54x bigger than card payments),” said Diarra in a blog posting on Navigate Visa, a platform for insights around electronic payments from the global credit and debit cards company.

Africa’s mobile money platforms such as M-Pesa, EcoCash and Airtel Money are revolutionising the region’s payments industry through taking payments online and integrating with cross border remittance companies, card payments companies and e-commerce as well as Fintech firms.

“As a result, the payments segment has grown rapidly in Sub-Saharan Africa, mainly due to the high demand for financial inclusion. Today, Visa has become the connective tissue to enable new payment and commerce experiences across the region by co-creating with all players in the payments sector – including Fintechs, neo-banks and wallets,” explained Diarra.

However, Zimbabwean billionaire telecommunications entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa believes that there is still a gap in Africa’s electronic payments sector and that current mobile money platforms in the region are unable to effectively support online payments.

He is now driving the SasaiPay platform on the social networking site Sasai to integrate with global Fintech companies like MasterCard and Visa as well as other e-commerce platforms. 

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