Africa is the world’s fastest-growing continent when it comes to fintech revenue with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32%. This means that by 2030, the African fintech market will be worth around $65 billion (~R1.2 trillion), according to a recent report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and QED Investors.
The report found that South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt lead the fintech race in Africa. This is partly due to a lack of legacy infrastructure holding these countries back from exploring new financial ecosystems to serve underbanked and unbanked citizens. Just under 500 million people in Africa are unbanked, whereas just over 410 million are underbanked.
“Fintech could be the vehicle to solve the access issue, with smartphones presenting major opportunities in payments and lending for regional champions with full-stack attacker models,” explains Caio Anteghini, partner at BCG Johannesburg. “Globally and in Africa, the fintech journey is still in its early stages and will continue to revolutionise the financial services industry as we know it,” he adds.
How the rest of the world stacks up
Africa is currently winning the growth race for fintech, with a predicted 13 times growth to be achieved by 2030. The continent is followed by Latin America with a 12.5 times growth rate. Asia-Pacific is expected to grow by 8.5 times and Europe by 5.5 times. By 2030, North America is expected to grow by 4 times.
However, these are growth rates, not overall revenue value. While Africa’s fintech market is expected to be worth $65 billion by 2030, this is the smallest value of all. The Latin America fintech market is expected to be worth $125 billion; the European market will be $190 billion; the North American market will be $500 billion and the Asia-Pacific market will top $600 billion by 2030.
“We expect to see continued growth not only in developed markets in the US and Europe, but also in developing fintech markets in Latin America, Asia and Africa, where the inertia and friction are even greater,” says QED Investors managing partner Nigel Morris.
Why Africa is in a good position for fintech market growth
Globally, financial services is one of the most profitable sectors but it struggles with innovation and customer satisfaction. African companies have seized the opportunity to plug holes in the market through innovative fintech services that provide some financial freedom to local users. Mobile money services are a common trend among African telcos.
In addition to telcos joining the financial services sector, many banks have also launched fintech services to retain market share and accelerate their own digital journeys. Even in South Africa, some banks offer points-based reward systems or digital currencies of their own.
“In Africa, although cash is still king, fintech could be a vehicle to solve the access issue, as most of the population is still either underserved by banks or fully unbanked. As the youngest and fastest-growing region globally – with a median age of roughly 19 and projected population growth of an additional 1.2 billion people by 2050 – demographic shifts and earning-power increases will deepen the need for financial access,” reads the report.
“Most Africans’ first interaction with the financial services sector may be through their smartphones – presenting major fintech opportunities in payments and lending…” continues the report. This can already be seen with telcos and their fintech offerings that have spurred on growth in the African sector.
The future of fintech services
Currently, payments are the largest fintech segment and the cause of the initial growth. Payments are likely to remain the biggest use of fintech until 2030, but business-to-business-to-any-user (B2B2X) and B2B services may become the next big thing for the market.
B2B2X is a new business model in which a telco delivers financial services to its end users. The idea is to combine telecom and IT services with applications used by companies to offer services to their customers, retailers, partners, suppliers or whoever might make up the “X”. It’s set to be an emerging business model that relies on fintech.
Currently, B2B fintech revenue is projected to grow at a 32% CAGR until 2030. With roughly 400 million small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) globally, hundreds of millions of small business owners could benefit from joining the fintech revolution and unlock financial benefits for their companies. In Africa, SMEs provide 80% of all jobs, so the opportunity for growth in the fintech space is massive.
Regulation needs to catch up with the fintech market
The regulation of the fintech sector in Africa has been a bit light and fragmented. Some countries have better systems in place to regulate their fintech ecosystems while others have almost no measures in place to help guide and structure the market. However, industry regulators must ensure that they do not overregulate this sector, otherwise innovation and growth will be severely stifled.
The role of regulators is to level the playing field and enable easy pathways for fintech businesses to become licensed and accredited. This will help to facilitate an open banking system that supports digital infrastructure and economic growth. Some countries have started to tax mobile money transactions, which is viewed by some as a setback to years of progress in the sector.
The fintech market has already unlocked financial benefits for many citizens in Africa, but the role of regulators now becomes crucial in maintaining the growth curve and facilitating new ways to bank through digital technologies. Regulatory frameworks need to accept the coexistence of fintech services with traditional financial services, either by granting standalone fintech licences or by accepting that fintech service providers are part of the financial ecosystem.
With the rapid growth of fintech services in Africa and the rest of the world, it’s certainly here to stay. African businesses need to adapt and enable fintech payments to reach underbanked or unbanked customers. 4C Group offers fintech services to telcos and other businesses in Africa. Using our software, users can deposit, transfer and receive digital payments from a network of mobile money providers and registered agents.
These services include our iNSight payment gateway and other fintech offerings that revolutionise the way we do business. Enterprises across the continent can rely on 4C Group for innovative digital tools and fintech technology. If you’d like to find out more about these offerings, please contact us today.
At 4C Group of Companies, we strive to effect operational changes and cost savings for customers through our iNSight product and associated services. This product’s main function is to re-purpose and deliver business-critical information to a variety of systems and stakeholders.
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