Africa's digital financial journey

Africa's digital financial journey

Africa is a place of many contrasts, geographically, economically, culturally and financially. While the continent is home to some of the poorest countries in the world, it’s also home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies, thriving financial ecosystems, and world-beating digital innovation.

While financial inclusion for the continent as a whole remains low, this overlooks the staggering advances that have been made over the past twenty years thanks to digital technologies such as mobile phones, digital-only banking and cryptocurrencies, leapfrogging legacy technologies and systems used elsewhere.

Every month, John Everington, The Banker’s Middle East and Africa editor, discusses the amazing shifts underway across the continent’s financial services sector, and how technology is being used to widen and deepen financial inclusion from Cairo to the Cape.  

Bridging Africa's financial gender gap

While mobile money has prompted financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa to more than double in 10 years, the gender gap in access to basic financial services remains wider than any other world region. John Everington talks to the World Bank's Leora Klapper about the main obstacles to increased financial inclusion for the continent's women, and to the World Food Programme's Chloe Gueguen about strategies for narrowing the gender gap. 

In conversation with Ade Ayeyemi

As he prepares to step down from the helm of Ecobank International after seven years, Ade Ayeyemi discusses the next stages in Africa's digital financial journey, including lowering remittance costs, the challenge for regulators of cryptocurrencies, the role for CBDCs and the factors needed to make the nascent African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) a success.

Mobile finance’s next challenges

Amid the 15th anniversary celebrations of the launch of M-Pesa, it’s worth stepping back and looking at what mobile money has achieved …. and what it hasn't. John Everington talks to Edem Seshie, an associate partner with Mackinsey in Lagos, about why cash remains king across much of the continent, and why newer services like mobile lending have struggled to take off.

The birth of African mobile money

It’s been fifteen years since M-Pesa changed the landscape of African banking forever. What are the factors that made mobile money a success in some markets and a failure in others? Amid evolving offerings from fintechs and banks, do new mobile money entrants in markets such as Nigeria still have a role to play in broadening financial inclusion? 

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