Despite the challenging global outlook, the pandemic has created new opportunities in the African Fintech sector due to a renewed focus on cashless payments and digital identification methods that avoid human contact.
Washington Okungu, Product Head Cards, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya says the virus has been a major catalyst for the adoption of digital payments on the continent. He says in Kenya, banks and telcos have temporarily waived charges on bank account and mobile wallet transfers, mobile peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfers, and implemented zero merchant fees on certain essential services.
“This has further heightened the adoption of mobile money by those who would otherwise have used cash. In Rwanda for instance, the value of funds transferred via Mobile Money grew by 450% between January and April 2020.”
LINCOLN MALI, Group Head Card & Payments at STANDARD BANK GROUP, echoes these sentiments, “This ‘contactless everything’ trend may fast-track retail innovations such as self-checkout, order-and-collect solutions, drop-off deliveries, buy now pay later and true omni-channel shopping.”
He adds that there are huge opportunities for partnerships between traditional and more nimble players.
DALENE DEALE, Fintech Head at TRANSUNION SOUTH AFRICA, has noticed a similar trend, saying in a South African context, most of the Fintechs haven’t been set to disrupt financial services, but rather to partner with traditional lenders and financial institutions.
“This means that if their focus has been on things such as KYC and driving digital change, they are on the front foot and therefore even more relevant if they have a robust solution that is now in high demand.”
SEGUN ADEYEMI, Country Head at JUMO NIGERIA, says brick and mortar branches a reset to be a thing of the past.
“Many Fintechs are already digital by nature and some already operate a work-from-home option. We will see more companies adopting this as a more permanent option. The big challenge will be around regulatory compliance, security and data and privacy concerns that relate to staff working from home.”
“We can expect a focus on domestically sourced technology and local Fintechs to limit global exposure, digitally enabled SME entrepreneurs rising from the job market reshaping, and a focus on breaching the expanding digital divide.”
FAYE TESSENDORF, Managing Director at HOMECOMING REVOLUTION comments, “This rapid acceleration towards a cashless environment has created a demand for highly skilled fintech professionals across Sub-Saharan Africa”.
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