News and insights about The Annual Debate - Africa's leading business forum in London, 24th April 2018, at The Law Society, London.
It may be a slow process, but financial inclusion in Africa is improving. Given the barriers formal banking faces on the Continent, including practical issues such as dispersed populations, and regional variations in infrastructure, it is unsurprising that this is not an issue which will be resolved overnight. We spoke to Ibukun Awosika to find out more on First Bank Nigeria's actions on financial inclusion, her thoughts on improving access to banking services – plus the impact of mobile in Africa.
As industrialisation continues to be held as the crucial step towards economic development in Africa, much energy has been poured into the potential for the Continent's manufacturing and heavy industry sectors. The conversation about Africa's industrialisation, however, cannot exclude a crucial driver of its economy – the agricultural sector.
The effect of limited road connections is estimated to add 40% to transport costs in Africa's costal nations – and 60% to landlocked ones. With the rate of population growth and urbanisation outpacing other nations worldwide, the necessity for infrastructure to support African development is vital.
The wave of mobile phone use in Africa has not only connected individuals to each other, but has connected many people to mainstream financial services for the first time. In regions where populations were majority unbanked, access to mobile technology has simultaneously unlocked mobile money, and spurred economic growth in societies previously run on informal, cash-based finance. By the end of 2016, the number of registered mobile money accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa stood at 277 million.
There is a mobile revolution unfolding in Africa - a revolution not only in how people communicate – but how they do business. Throwing off long-held assumptions about Africa’s technological development, the Continent’s populations are taking up the mobile phone – and its access to the internet – in their droves.
There is one way of charting Africa’s turn to connectivity: the rise of the mobile. As many have seen, mobile subscription continues to grow in Africa, outpacing every other region worldwide.
Since 2010, American Tower Corporation have established sites across South Africa, Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria; constructing over 8000 towers as part of their wireless network deployment.
We spoke to Hal Hess, President of Latin America and EMEA at American Tower on the transformation of Africa’s ICT sector, the impact of connectivity on the Continent and markets ATC are most excited about going forward.
With a planned oil refinery project worth $4bn, Fairfax's recent investments have drawn them to East Africa, with an ambitious infrastructure investment looking to provide Ethiopia and it's neighbours with 120,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Through financing as private equity and venture capital, the fund has created a profile of investments across manufacturing, agriculture and infrastructure - including co-investing in Hello-Cash, leading mobile payment platform. By refusing to shy away from the challenges posed by investing in Africa, the fund has focused on high-performing sub-Saharan nations and now enjoys a portfolio of companies employing more than 1,600 people - projected to reach 6,000 by 2020.
- 4G Capital fintech solutions are accelerating financial inclusion in Africa
- US $26M worth of loans disbursed to date
- Customers financial literacy grows with adoption of the service