Betting on Africa: Why the Future of Fintech Lies on the Continent

Betting on Africa: Why the Future of Fintech Lies on the Continent

By Erika Masako Welch, 15 June 2023

Africa is home to 1.4 billion people. 

Nearly 1 in 5 people on the planet live here, in Africa.

57% of Africans still don’t have a bank account or mobile wallets. It is one of the last frontiers for fintech entrepreneurs. It is a virgin land, a frontier market for the adventurous looking to become the market leader. Many credit the rise of fintech as the great enabler reaching the unbanked in Africa, where traditional banks with brick-and-mortar business models simply couldn’t reach. Many say the opportunity is still huge.

In 2020, Stripe, one of the world’s largest privately held fintech unicorns, acquired PayStack, Nigeria’s very own payments company. That deal, along with a steady stream of fintech unicorn births from the likes of Interswitch, Opay, and Flutterwave (from Nigeria), Fawry (from Egypt), and Wave Mobile (Senegal), has drawn the attention of investors and globally-minded fintech companies alike.



Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt make up nearly half (46%) of the entire continent’s GDP. That means half of Africa’s wealth sits between these three markets. It is not surprising then to find out that the vast majority of fintechs getting funded are based in and focus on one or more of these markets. Kenya and Ghana are also vying to round out the Top 5 fintech nations in Africa.

In 2020, Africa’s total financial services market revenue totaled US $150 billion. By 2025, it’s expected to reach over US $230 billion. No matter how you cut it, that’s no small pie.

Nigeria is the continent’s most populous nation in Africa, with 213 million inhabitants today. By the end of the century in 2100, Nigeria is forecasted to be the 2nd most populous country in the world, overtaking China, and on the heels of India. Fintechs across the country are reaching youth and students, who have never had a bank account to their name – opting instead for a mobile wallet.

Deal sizes in Africa are substantially smaller, with much larger upsides than most other markets. Seed cheque sizes in the top three markets average between $3M to $10M. Granted, the risk of Africa being a frontier market, still vaguely regulated at best, may dissuade some investors for now. But the continent is too big and too promising to ignore. There is incredible smartphone and internet adoption, and a burgeoning youthful population that is keen to leapfrog traditional banking systems for the convenient fintech approach.

On top of all that, there is a real need for these financial services on the continent. Not just for individuals, but for micro and SME entrepreneurs – which are the businesses and business owners that the continent is built on. More than 70% of Africa’s GDP is created by SMEs, but more than half of these business owners require funding that they cannot access or apply for because they are unbanked, without any credit history. There is a real opportunity here to do some good while expanding financial services to the hundreds of millions of unbanked Africans on the continent.

Once you’re done reading our special report, you may well conclude that the future of fintech might well be in Africa.


To read more about the drivers, barriers and the opportunity of fintech in Africa, as well as strides made towards financial inclusion – read the full report here


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Related Report

Future of Fintech in Africa

The Future of Fintech in Africa

18% of the world’s population lives in Africa, and 57% of Africans are ‘unbanked’, living without a bank account or a digital wallet to their Name. The opportunity is massive, which is why fintech is the most dominant and most funded tech sector in Africa, today.

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