The Fintech Journey to Empower Africa's Underserved

The Fintech Journey to Empower Africa's Underserved

By Sahir Berry, 10 June 2023

Financial Inclusion, as defined by the World Bank, means that ALL individuals and businesses have affordable access to financial products and services in order to build better futures. Financial inclusion has also been identified as an enabler for 7 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals to reduce extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. Despite fintech and mobile banking making significant strides to close the financial inclusion gap in the past decade, there is still great work to be done – especially in my home continent of Africa.

I am just one of 1.4 billion people that call Africa home. It’s easy to forget sometimes that a population equivalent to that of China inhabits the Mother Continent. However, 57% of this burgeoning African population does not have any access to a bank or mobile money account. That’s hundreds of millions of unbanked Africans that also have no access to loans, investments or savings instruments, because they have no credit history. 

Related Video: What Is Sustainable Development?

The story is not that much better in Nigeria, Africa’s largest and fastest growing economy. A recent KPMG study found that 1 in 3 Nigerian adults are completely financially excluded. There are over 40 SMEs and microbusinesses registered in the country, but there are only 2 million POS machines in circulation in the country. You do the math. 

Access to the right financial tools could make the difference between surviving and thriving. Nowhere in the world is the potential impact of fintech greater, than here in Africa. 

At NowNow, we’re committed to providing SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs with the access to formal financial products that they so desperately need, such as payment acceptance tools, loans, and insurance. If 70% of the continent’s economy is built off the backs of these micro-business owners and SME entrepreneurs, why shouldn’t the African financial ecosystem cater to their needs? 

The challenge is equal to the size of the opportunity. But I’m extremely optimistic that Africa will get the global attention that it deserves, the international capital that is required and the top global talent to continue this momentum of improving the lives and communities across the continent, through the adoption of fintech.

There are many reasons for this optimism, but I’m primarily inspired by Africa’s youth. Africa has the youngest population in the world. 70% of subSaharan Africa is under the age of 30. This means that much of Africa’s young population is digitally native, having grown up in a digital age where there was increasing access to smartphones and cheaper and faster internet. The opportunity for mass fintech adoption has never been more ripe.

Related: NowNow Reimagining Fintech 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

Related Report

Future of Fintech in Africa

The Future of Fintech in Africa

Eighteen percent of the world’s population lives in Africa, and 57% of Africans are ‘unbanked’, without a bank account or a digital wallet. This presents a massive opportunity, making fintech the most dominant and funded tech sector in Africa today. This special report highlights how African fintechs not only have one of the largest total addressable markets globally but are also crucial for achieving financial inclusion and empowering unbanked populations. The potential impact of a successful fintech in Africa is unparalleled. To learn more about the drivers, barriers, and opportunities in African fintech, as well as progress toward financial inclusion, read the special report.

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