From cryptocurrencies to blockchain to mobile money, financial technology (“fintech”) is revolutionizing the basic structures of the global economy. Financial services delivered through fintech are becoming more accessible, efficient, and personal. In sub-Saharan Africa, where only 34 percent of adults have bank accounts, fintech companies are already providing financial products and services to millions of unbanked and underserved Africans in ways that traditional financial institutions cannot.
A new issue brief by Africa Center Senior Fellow Dr. Aleksandra Gadzala, Fintech: Powering Inclusive Growth in Africa, helps investors and policy makers better understand the impact of the waves of fintech innovation unfolding in sub-Saharan Africa, and reflects on the enabling environments needed to ensure its success and contribution to inclusive growth. Fintech has the potential to serve as an equalizer in Africa by driving financial inclusion, but the technology faces hurdles. Gadzala’s brief tracks the emergence and expansion of fintech on the continent and the ways in which it adds value to other sectors, including insurance, energy, and agriculture. She concludes that, while not without its challenges, the long-term prospects for fintech to drive economic growth in Africa are immense.