It's time for banks to make East Africa an electric payment society – EY

by Tendai Dube 0

Kenya has made noteworthy strides in adopting the use of mobile money to increase financial inclusion.

According to the African Development Bank, 21 per cent of the adult population in Sub-Saharan Africa has access to traditional banking services but new studies show that 52 per cent of this population is now using mobile money as part of financial inclusion.

“The story is a good news and growth story and we actually had a conference with a number of clients and mobile providers, telephone operators and banks to examine some of that phenomenon and I think Kenya leads the way on that one, there’s no doubt about it,” said Steve Osei-Mensah, Advisory Leader for Financial Services in East and Central Africa at EY.

Banks have leveraged off the success of mobile access growth on the continent which has in turn broadened financial inclusion.

“There is quite a lot of collaboration, we had a couple of banks there who are collaborating with telephone companies – I think both sides are finding tremendous synergies, telco providers have opened up the market in a fantastic way,” Osei-Mensah said.

He adds that despite that the region is still very much a cash-based society with a lot of payments still going through a third party.

“The real challenge from banks and telcos is; how do we really make this an electric payment society and move on to other lifestyle issues around insurance and other financial services.”

“One of the things has been really refreshing in this part of Africa is that the regulators have taken time to really listen to the inclusion agenda and to actually come up with a framework  that actually allows for innovation and there are not many parts in the world where we see that happen,” said Osei-Mensah.

But with such technology and access, another focus has to be placed on cyber security – Osei-Mensah suspects that will be an ongoing battle.