People in Africa are especially keen on digital financial technology. Financial systems on the continent are increasingly undergoing digitalisation and mobile banking has proved a great hit. In fact Ecobank reckons that over half of the 174 million mobile payment accounts in existence worldwide are located in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya and Rwanda, the African countries with the highest mobile penetration rates, the volume of digital banking transactions has greatly increased. Rwanda saw a 26% rise between 2016 and 2017 and a further 11% hike during the first half of 2017. Turnover in the FinTech sector in Africa is now expected to climb from the current $200 million to $3 billion over the next two years. Ecobank, which operates in a total of 36 African countries, is now offering a range of low-cost banking services, such as checking account balances and making payments, based on an app that is available in 33 countries. Thanks to its excellent results and new product and service launches in Cameroun, the Republic of Guinea, The Gambia, Togo and Uganda, Ecobank was recently named Bank of the Year in all five of those countries following a survey conducted late last year by The Banker magazine. Which goes to prove, if proof were needed, that digital tools, today a strong factor for social and economic inclusion, have a great deal to offer the unbanked segments of the population.
By Marie-Eléonore Noiré