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'M-Funding the future for Africa's small businesses'

Africa , 19 Dec 2014

'M-Funding the future for Africa's small businesses'

With increase use of mobile money gaining popularity in Africa, ApexPeak sees great opportunities in mobile funding for African businesses.

ApexPeak is a financial solutions company that lends businesses money once they verify their e-invoices on the platform, before they are due. Such services enable small and medium enterprises not to get stuck on financial options.

"The m-payments explosion, which began with bill payments and money transfers, has now spread to Africa's business world. African small business also want access to financial services, but have so far been denied because they were either not eligible for a bank account or for a credit card," Anthony Coundouris, Marketing at ApexPeak said.

Coundouris referred to research that made reference to this trend, including that from the African Development Bank, "Financial Inclusion and Integration through Mobile Payments and Transfer", The share of bank financing in Africa is 8 percent (compared to an average of 11 percent in other developing countries) while the share of equity financing in Africa is less than 2 percent, as compared to about 8 percent in other developing economies.

In a recent report, African Guarantee Fund backed the sentiments that there is low financing for SMEs in Africa. African Guarantee Fund helps African small business with financial lending services and was founded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

"Studies done by the World Bank and other organisations have revealed very low levels of bank financing to SMEs in Africa when compared to other developing countries. It is also often noted that SMEs represent a 'missing middle' in African private sectors as these are dominated on the one hand, by (mostly informal) very small (micro) enterprises, and by large companies on the other," Felix Adahi Bikpo, CEO, African Guarantee Fund said.

Quick options to finance SMEs' operation and solve their money flow issues will increase, aided by the explosion of mobile payments and other technological solutions, enabling the underfunded businesses to grow.

"As mobile was key to the consumer revolution, mobile will be key to unlocking financial services to small business and farmers. Access to credit, or m-funding, will increasingly become a routine exchange between alternative financiers and business in Africa," he added.

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