Short fuse, big bang for digital financial services in Africa



The key to reaching hundreds of millions of financial services customers across Africa? Affordability, reach, access and trust — enabled by digital technologies and smart partnerships — according to Leveraging digital to unlock the base of the pyramid market in Africa, a new report from Deloitte.

New financial products and services are beginning to meet the needs of customers with low and unsteady incomes. BIMA, for example, provides life and hospital insurance via mobile technology for 18 million customers, with coverage up to $1,100 for as little as 30 cents per month (see, BIMA raises $38.4 million for mobile microinsurance).

Cape Town-based JUMO uses behavioral and digital data to build credit scores and provide savings, credit and working capital products to five million low-wage and small-business users. (Note: Both BIMA and JUMO are backed by Leapfrog Investments.)

Such ventures are bringing hundreds of millions of small merchants and smallholder farmers, women and other Africans into modern financial services.

“Global banking and insurance are facing disruption by technology players,” the authors write. “We expect this disruption to be imminent and to be sizeable in impact: short fuse and big bang.”

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