Cash is king in Africa, or at least it was until financial technology (fintech) began giving more and more Africans access to financial systems through innovations such as mobile banking.

So great has been the uptake of mobile banking that 57,6 percent of the world’s 174 million mobile money accounts are registered in Africa and the market is only set to grow larger.

Speaking at the Africa Tech summit taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, Ecobank’s assistant vice president for the push payments division Nshuti Lucy Mbabazi heralded fintech as a key driver in the bank’s business today.

“Digital technology is central to what we do at Ecobank. Technology offers us great opportunities to open up new markets, increase choice and speed delivery of services,” said Mbabazi.

Ecobank operates in 36 countries and allows customers to transact across borders easily.

The bank’s assistant vice president went on to say that the African fintech market is expected to grow to a value of $3 billion by 2020. The current value of the African fintech sits at $200 million.

“Rwanda, where the summit is taking place, is seeking to move from a cash-based economy to a digital one. The number of digital transactions in Rwanda increased by 11 per cent in the first half of 2017 from 1.37 million the previous year to 1.53 million in the same period, and more and more merchants and dealers are becoming access points,” explained Mbabazi.

In just one year Rwanda saw point of sale transactions double from 270 084 to 523 473.

“Going digital provides not just better services and connectivity, but enables banks and businesses to unlock productivity and play a role in development,” concluded Mbabazi.

[Image – CC BY NA Pixabay]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.