August 29, 2017
Although Africa is considered to be the largest unserved market that has dropped out of sight of the global financial system, there are segments in its financial services industry that is highly advanced in terms of the adoption scale and attractiveness to entrants. For instance, remittance via mobile has picked up a rapid pace in Africa, with Kenyans already using mobile money services for over eight years.
As a market, Africa has all the prerequisites to serve as a firm foundation for growth and development. Among the key data points characterizing Africa’s financial system, as outlined by the SWIFT Institute, are as follows:
Both banks and nonbanks are allowed to provide mobile money services in 47 out of the 89 markets where mobile money is available.
Half of almost 300 million registered accounts of mobile money globally are located in sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition, there are 2.26 million mobile money agents in developing countries around the world, a figure that is comparable with the number of alternative financial access points comprising ATMs (1.38 million), commercial bank branches (524,000), post offices (501,000) and Western Union locations (500,000).
In the face of an outstanding opportunity presented in Africa, an ecosystem of FinTech startups providing services across segments has grown to transform the financial services industry in that continent for inclusive growth (with the support of dedicated accelerators and incubators). In this overview, we will be focusing on Nigeria – one of the most promising economies for entrepreneurs.
Professionals emphasize significant FinTech opportunities in Nigeria that could potentially redefine the financial services landscape over the next five years.
The fast growing young population (115 million people below the age of 35), exponential growth of mobile phone lines (estimated at 150 million as at July 2016), huge financial inclusion potential (less than 50 million people with bank accounts in a population of 170 million people, based on Bank Verification Number [BVN] data) and relatively strong talent pool (buoyed by Nigerians in diaspora) are pertinent indicators of the FinTech opportunity, as noted by Boye Ademola, Partner, KPMG US.
Some of the important highlights on the opportunities in Nigeria’s financial services industry, as observed by industry professionals, include the following:
Predominantly cash-driven Nigerian economy has been responding well to the FinTech opportunity. This is partly demonstrated by the exponential growth in mobile money operations from an average monthly transaction value of $5 million in 2011 to $142.8 million in 2016. The growing FinTech penetration is attributed to a surge in e-commerce and smartphone penetration.
FinTech investment in Africa has increased significantly from $198 million in 2014 to ~$800 million in 2016, as investors are increasingly attracted to the industry’s potential to tap into Africa’s huge unserved/underserved population. Investments in Nigeria and Africa as a whole have been primarily focused on payment solutions, as other FinTech segments such as lending and wealth management, are in a relatively nascent stage.
Smartphone penetration in Nigeria (i.e., the percentage of adults owning a smartphone) is estimated at 28%, with 76% of internet traffic routed through mobile phones.
The payment space is one of the most attractive segments for FinTechs in Nigeria, and it has become a key source of revenue for banks and other payment service providers. As part of its Payments Systems Vision (PSV) initiative to reform the payment industry, the Federal Government of Nigeria launched the cashless Nigeria policy giving rise to several innovative payment systems propelled by changing consumer patterns, rising adoption of smartphones, increased internet penetration, and deployment of ATMs.
A strong tal ...