Who is leading the Fintech sector in Africa

Fintech has become somewhat universal in Africa. The unlikely development in this field throughout the continent has been getting the attention of all the venture capitals and investors from different countries. If you’re not familiar with the topic you may find this odd that the continent with middle-income countries at best, is paving the way for fintech revolution. Fintech really thrives in Africa because it gives the population access to services that they wouldn’t get anywhere else in their countries. 

Around 66 percent of people in Africa are “unbanked”, meaning that they’re denied the traditional banking services because of the lack of necessary documentation or the faulty regulations from the bank’s side, which more often than not tends to be the case in Africa. That is why the fintech is thriving in Africa and the investments keep flowing in. Even though the development is pretty universal there are some countries and specific startups that have gained the most attention and the money, of course. South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya are leading the financial development of the continent. As seen at ForexBonusLab Kenyan brokers list,  the boom of Foreign exchange has also brought in some extra revenue.

Here’s we’ve combined a list of top 3 Fintech firms in Africa that are leading the fintech revolution and changed the customer experience of payments drastically.

M-PESA

We have to give the honorable mention to the company that gave the initial start to it all. M-Pesa has now been functioning for over a decade and since then has managed to set the tone for the fintech startups across the continent. M-Pesa was among the first mobile services to allow users to pay bills and other people through a mobile phone or an agent network, even without having a bank account. It first started out as exclusive to Kenya but since getting bigger has been delivering services to neighbor countries. 

This revolutionized the entire payments system and gave a fresh start to mobile payments and something to build off of to the newcomers. M-Pesa was launched in 2007 and since then the financial inclusion has increased from 27% in 2006 to 83% today. It was launched by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom which are the biggest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania. But now it operates in South Africa, India, Afghanistan, Romania, and Albania. 

People use PIN-secured SMS text messages to send balances to other users and they are charged a small fee for sending and withdrawing money. Throughout the years they have somewhat monopolized the industry which is what the company gets most criticism about.

Flutterwave

This particular startup is based in Nigeria and just recently managed to get a $20 million Seris A extension for its side project GetBarter.Flutterwave is a payment solution company that mostly offer Business to Business startups, serving big companies. But their latest product which is called Rave, the company aims to reach the customer of their customers, so the users of the businesses that use their financial products. 

Visa and Flutterwave have plans to focus on GetBarter in the future since the demographic that could benefit the most out of these inclusive financial technologies are regular people, more than big businesses. This new project will build a user base across mobile money and bank clients in different African countries but doesn’t plan to stop there. The goal of this new project is to reach countries all across the continent and help out the unbanked population that has yet to be integrated within the financial industry. 

This will still require some fees, according to the CEO of the company Olugbenga Agboola, which the company will collect through cards and also transactions. The charge will be around 40 Naira per payment which accounts for 11 cents.

MNT

MNT is also one of the most successful names in Africa. Just last year the company based in Ghana launched a mobile-money based IPO and managed to raise over $200 million. In Ghana, MTN is definitely the leader with over 90% of mobile money transactions happening under it.

Ghana has over of the world’s fastest-growing mobile-money market, the fastest one in Africa and the company has capitalized on that pretty well. Thanks to MNT, 45% of Ghana’s population now has mobile money and most of them don’t even bother with regular banks anymore. MNT has plans to expand its coverage to 20 million people and with their paid interest rates of 5%-7% compared to the bank average in Ghana, which is 4% it’s not all that unrealistic.

It is exciting to see that the innovations are now more evenly distributed across the continent and the monopoly isn’t just in the hands of South Africa’s Subsaharan Valley. African countries managed to accommodate their innovations to their needs and put them to good use. In Africa cash is slowly becoming irrelevant and people are less likely to apply to regular banks for their financial services. Although the risk of scams is always there the adoption rate says that the experience in Africa has been mostly positive for the people.

Author: Yash Hirani

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