By Akshay Grover
COVID-19 has propelled the adoption of digital payment platforms for millions of people across the African continent. The need for contactless methods of making transactions, transformed what was once a nice-to-have into a necessity.
Indeed, whereas the pandemic has bolstered the adoption of digital payments across industries, demographics and payment types on the continent, Africa has always been at the forefront of the payments space led by mobile money services since 2010.
(TOP: A cashier in Nigeria confirming mobile money payment via Tingg by Cellulant).
As a company, serving thousands of businesses at varying growth stages across 35 African countries, we’ve witnessed firsthand the sheer drive and resilience that underpins this revolution in digital payments.
It’s the entrepreneurship spirit of the continent that inspires us to innovate for businesses, connecting people and their resources, aligning our strategy to bolster the adoption of digital payments by…
Deepening Our Presence in Existing Markets
Recently, we expanded into 8 new countries – South Africa, Egypt, Senegal, Côte D’Ivoire, Cameroon, DRC, Angola, Ethiopia – in a bid to accelerate the digitization of payments for global, regional and local businesses to build a more connected Africa. By creating seamless payment experiences for businesses and consumers, we’re opening up opportunities for millions to do business, access basic services and even connect with their loved ones when it matters the most. Whereas what we’ve achieved so far is impressive, with coverage across 220 million banking, mobile money and cards consumers, we intend to go deeper in the countries we’re already in. We firmly believe we’ve only scratched the surface and there is unparalleled opportunity.
Tapping into the Underserved Offline Payments Sector
In a report by GSMA released earlier this year, mobile money accounts grew to 1.2 billion with 43% of new users all from Africa. Inferring from this growth rate in just one year, it’s clear that the market size for offline payments is significantly larger than online payments. In coming years, we’ll be focusing on this space even as we continue to grow in online payments.
In sub saharan Africa alone, there are 44 million micro, small and medium enterprises providing the majority of jobs effectively serving as the backbone of the economy in their countries. Most of these enterprises and the individuals they serve or employ still use offline or cash payments. Whereas we’re keen on expanding access to these businesses, we can only scale by.
Creating a Win-Win Ecosystem through Partnerships
As a fintech company, we’re deeply connected with the banking ecosystem and view them as partners not competitors. Leveraging partnerships with different entities in the industry from banks, to mobile network operators and large enterprises is a fundamental aspect necessary for growth in the fintech space.
Because as consumers increasingly use digital methods for their payments – from peer-to-peer transactions to purchasing household goods, paying their bills and accessing fundamental services such as healthcare and education- this presents wonderful opportunities for retailers and businesses to grow their digital capabilities as people move from cash dependency.
Enabling businesses to adapt quickly to these changing demands by providing the right infrastructure and relevant value-adds is our driving force.
(Akshay Grover is the Cellulant Group CEO).