Accelerating instant payments in Africa can boost development – report

Over 350 million adults in Africa are unbanked and primarily excluded from the formal economy, relying heavily on cash or informal providers for their financial needs, which is costly, risky and leaves them vulnerable to economic instability.

This is according to AfricaNenda, an African-led institution that is working to unlock the potential of inclusive digital financial services on the continent. The institution’s interventions aim at reducing vulnerability to economic shocks by those excluded from the financial system, particularly women in rural areas.

In its inaugural annual report, AfricaNenda highlights its work and achievements to accelerate implementation of more inclusive payment systems across Africa by removing barriers to instant and inclusive payments, accelerating access to digital payments and mobilizing the continent’s digital financial ecosystem for inclusive growth.

The CEO of AfricaNenda, Dr. Robert Ochola said: “Today, the need for a more inclusive society is becoming increasingly urgent. One of the fastest ways to achieve this is by putting in place systems that expand access to financial services and leave no one behind. Instant and inclusive payment systems can play a pivotal role in creating universal access to financial services for all Africans.”

In 2022, AfricaNenda supported its partners to mobilize $11 million for developing instant and inclusive payment systems in Africa to support the roll out a Digital Public Goods (DPGs) in an African Country and to support a Regional system. AfricaNenda also contributed to the scaling of the Transactions Cleared on Instant Basis “TCIB” platform in the Southern Africa Development Community along with extensive training for the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

AfricaNenda is partnering with the Rwanda Information Society Agency to drive digitization efforts, which include advancing the country’s merchant payment system on an open-source interoperability platform. Developer and the fintech communities in the country are also benefiting from opportunities to showcase their talent, participate in a fintech exhibition and to join an accelerator programme.

AfricaNenda supported the development of seven digital finance course modules tailored to help cross-border traders in the region adopt digital payments, during the year. In line with this, AfricaNenda published a report in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the COMESA Business Council, which recommended innovation in digital payment solutions and a custom-designed curriculum for training MSMEs.

Additionally, AfricaNenda launched the first State of Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems in Africa (SIIPS) report in 2022. The report offered a comprehensive view of Africa’s current instant payment systems landscape, revealing that more intentional and dedicated focus is needed to build the inclusivity of instant payment systems in Africa.

As a convening actor, AfricaNenda has established relationships with multiple national, regional, and continental stakeholders. This network, which includes governments, central banks, regional organizations, the private sector, and development institutions, aims to foster intra-African knowledge sharing and training to support the development of instant and inclusive payment systems in Africa.

AfricaNenda is an African-led team of experts committed to unlocking the potential of digital financial services for the financially excluded across the continent by accelerating the scale-up of instant and inclusive payment systems. AfricaNenda’s approach is to provide public and private sector stakeholders with technical expertise and the capacity to reduce barriers to digital payments. AfricaNenda wants to enable everybody in Africa to make digital transactions seamlessly and at a low cost wherever they are on the continent by 2030. AfricaNenda is fiscally sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


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