In recent years, the issue of financial inclusion has been a major talking point across the African continent, especially in West Africa. Quite simply, the dynamics are lucid. Today, Africa has more digital financial services distribution than any other continent in the world with over 100 million active mobile money accounts.
There are collaborations between the Banking and Telco industries in Ghana and Nigeria to promote digital financial services which foster the effectiveness of products and services for end-users. For example, the use of mobile wallets has experienced an upscale in subscription and usability.
It is important to channel our focus on the rural areas since they require more attention, although statistics indicate they are digitally inclusive. Currently, in Ghana, more than 85% of people living in rural areas own mobile phones whilst in Kenya and Tanzania, it’s about 70%, thanks to agricultural technology that has been widely accepted by local farmers to track their farm produce – this justifies the reason behind these percentages – farming is the most common form of economic engagement in rural communities. In their case, it starts with basic financial literacy. In the end, the whole idea is to satisfy and serve the customers through collaborative effort – another initiative Money Zebra is championing. In achieving this, we have entered into partnerships with some financial institutions in Ghana and Kenya.
In Africa, there are 3 main branches of financial inclusion in focus including, and in order of high demand,
- Microcredit 2. Savings 3. Payments/Remittances
Payments and remittances have become very common over the past years, as it is relatively easier to send and receive money from friends, family, or peers across borders with a smart device. Making payments for goods and services have also been made hassle-free via P2P platforms. The second, savings, is also gaining significant traction with more income earners saving than ever before. Credit, being the number one subject in highest demand, happens to be the least explored market – the main reason why people demand credit is for housing, second is to fund education.
We are taking advantage of the opportunity especially in the microcredit market to provide credit to a readily available market. Countries like Kenya and Tanzania are very much ahead in all the three areas mentioned.
Money Zebra’s Solution
There is a growing middle class in Africa with a wide homogenous group who still do not understand financial inclusion and we have realized a huge gap in the market which we are trying to bridge – ie connecting lenders with borrowers and making sure that everyone has a sense of inclusion. If we talk about inclusion, what Money Zebra is aiming at, is to ensure that the less represented people in society have access to basic financial services. Financial inclusion is not just about having bank accounts but rather being able to access banking.
In this light, we are providing a very simple and flexible service that will give borrowers in emerging markets the freedom to access loans at fairly priced rates to undertake petty trading, medium-sized business ventures, and other day-to-day activities which obviously require funding. This will invariably generate a significant amount of FDI’s that will be pumped into the continent to serve as an engine for growth and development
How can you do well and do good at the same time? By serving the demographics well and making a social impact, and that’s how profits will be generated.
One of the major problems facing SMEs in Africa currently is access to funding. Within the agriculture sector for example, which happens to be one of the highest contributors to GDP in Ghana, most farmers, especially those practicing subsistence farming are not able to transport their farm produce to the larger cities due to funding problems – this mainly stems from lack of collateral. Our platform gives borrowers the ability to access credit on flexible terms with attractive and affordable rates from various lenders in and out of Africa.
Being a blockchain-backed platform, it serves as a guarantee for our users; ensuring soundness and security of their personal information.
In aligning our goals with that of the UN’s development agenda, we want to corroborate that financial inclusion is a must for the youth and the working population. Currently, about 18 million Ghanaians are unbanked, this represents about 59% of the total population. Our goal is to bring financial inclusion in the region to 100% by 2030 as part of making a social impact.
For us at Money Zebra, it is quite paramount for people to be able to use mobile phones or portable devices though it is not a strict requirement, the education of people who are not tech-savvy will be done through agencies who are in partnership with us.
We would take this opportunity to reach out to NGO’s, fintech, investors, and foreign-based companies (who wish to launch out in Africa), and all other stakeholders (interested in our business model) to get in touch.