How corporations are getting involved in Africa’s fintech sphere

by Sep 15, 2023Insights

Africa’s fintech market is advancing at a rapid rate; it’s the world’s fastest-growing fintech sector and is expected to be worth R1.2 trillion by 2030. The opportunities for business growth and success are too good to miss out on, which is why several global corporations are getting involved in Africa’s fintech space.

From telcos and payment processors to entertainment businesses and information and communications technology (ICT) companies, the race for a piece of Africa’s fintech market is on. Corporations are buying stakes, launching fintech services and sponsoring start-ups in a bid to join this lucrative sector.

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 business can be done.

Telcos already in the fintech space

Many African telcos have already launched their own mobile money services and other fintech services to their customers. Safaricom, Econet, Vodacom and MTN are just a few examples of telcos that offer their customers a range of financial services through their mobile networks and apps.

More recently, Vodacom has started to provide free cash deposits to its unbanked customers through the VodaPay app. These services are intended to accelerate the digital and financial inclusion of underbanked and unbanked citizens in South Africa. Until recently, cash deposits were only available to customers with bank accounts.

By building broader, more convenient offerings onto VodaPay, such as deposit and cash-out networks, we aim to enable more people to use and benefit from digital financial services,” says Vodacom’s financial and digital lifestyle services CEO Mariam Cassim.

This cash deposit service allows unbanked users to add cash for free into their VodaPay wallet through Vodacom stores and selected nationwide retailers. This mobile cash can then be used to buy products, pay for utilities or make digital payments, as well as earn rewards through the app.

Payment processors looking for a slice of the pie

Two of the most popular payment processors, Mastercard and Visa, are both looking to join the fintech market in Africa. Mastercard has just agreed to a deal with MTN to purchase a minority stake in its R99 billion fintech business. Once the final agreement has been signed, the details will be made public.

Visa, on the other hand, is offering financial support and training to 40 fintech start-ups in Africa through its Africa Fintech Accelerator programme. This programme is designed to help start-ups grow through funding, networking and expertise-sharing initiatives to the tune of R18 billion. Once the programme has concluded, Visa will provide further capital investments in selected start-ups that show the most potential.

“Africa has one of the most exciting and admired fintech ecosystems in the world, bringing outstanding entrepreneurial talent to a young digital-first population that is growing fast,” says Visa executive chairman Alfred Kelly Jr. “Visa has been increasing our investments in Africa for decades and strengthening partnerships throughout the continent to support the next wave of innovation and growth,” he adds.

Entertainment giants weigh in

Even television and entertainment companies are eyeing out opportunities in the fintech sphere. MultiChoice, one of South Africa’s biggest entertainment businesses, is currently developing a pan-African payment platform, called Moment. This integrated system will allow customers to make payments and savings, as well as enable businesses across the continent to collect debts and make payments to buyers or suppliers.

“The aim is to transform the African payments landscape by making digital payments more accessible and reliable for domestic, cross-border and global payments,” explains MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela. He says that this fintech platform will address the need for accessible financial systems for small businesses and millions of consumers in Africa.

“Investing in this venture is a logical progression for us, as we already process payments every month from 22 million households across 50 countries in Africa. Moment fulfills our strategy to expand our ecosystem, by investing in adjacent businesses that provide scalable services, underpinned by technology,” says Mawela.

Global ICT companies embracing fintech opportunities

Multinational ICT companies are looking to get involved in Africa’s fintech market. Swedish networking and telecommunications giant, Ericsson, is one such corporation that already offers mobile money platforms to telcos in Africa; the company provides the underlying technology for MTN’s MoMo app.

“I know most people do not know that Ericsson plays in the fintech space, but we are a very key player under our wallet platform. Today, every fifth transaction that you find on mobile money passes through an Ericsson platform,” says Ericsson business development manager for mobile financial services Rosemary Kimaku.

“Ericsson is primarily a technology service provider. So, we provide the underlying technology that powers any payment rail that wants to run on top – the wallet technology can run a mobile money provider, the payment technology can run a bank or any other payment player that has the requisite licenses to be able to hold financial transactions,” she explains.

These wallet platforms serve over 360 million users across 24 countries (19 of which are in Africa). Ericsson processes more than 2.6 billion transactions every month, worth around R668 billion. This is one example of a multinational ICT business with a stake in Africa’s mobile money sector. Ericsson wants to expand its services on the continent.

“Africa is not yet there, in terms of maturity [of digital banking]. Financial services in Africa are more leaning towards mobile money than banks. But we do believe, at least globally, especially in Asia and in Europe, there’s a trend towards neo-banking. So that would be an interesting space in terms of our longer-term strategy,” explains Kimaku.

As the world’s most rapidly developing fintech market, Africa is in the spotlight for numerous global companies. In a continent where just under 500 million people are unbanked and 410 million are underbanked, fintech services already play a vital role in financial inclusion and revenue generation.

Companies that want to join the race can rely on 4C Group’s fintech services and intelligent software solutions. Built around our innovative iNSight framework, these services will unlock the potential of mobile payments and fintech services for your company. If you’d like to find out more about these offerings, please contact us today.

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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. 

We specialise in information management, business assurance, fintech solutions and a variety of cyber security services. For more insights into our products and services, check out our blog page or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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