Fintech is no longer a niche space in Africa, and over the last few years has become a core market segment not just in South Africa, but across the African continent. Despite the global pandemic, the African fintech ecosystem has remained on a steady rise. Increasing access to mobile devices, internet connectivity and backbone network infrastructure has accelerated Africa into the second fastest market for global banking and payments businesses.

Our new episode of FInsight: Global Financial Institutions Industry Podcast takes a closer look at fintech in South Africa and the Sub-Saharan African Region. The speakers from this episode are Ashlin Perumall, a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Corporate and M&A practice group in Johannesburg and Sarah Williams, an associate in the financial services practice in London.

Key highlights of the episode include:

  • The African content presents opportunities for companies to solve big problems with vast potential user bases, without much initial challenge from incumbents or legacy competitors.
  • Payments (or paytech) is the top market segment, followed by B2B technology, and lending. This last segment is rapidly growing, and encompasses online lenders and asset financing. 
  • A relatively low share of Africa’s population has adequate access to financial products – and this is one of the main drivers of growing investments in the fintech sector. Africa’s fintech rise also comes at a point when venture investors are looking for leaner and faster growth opportunities, which can do more with their capital in a relatively short period.
  • South African regulators have focused on the payments regulation environment given the size of this segment, and as it has been due for a significant overhaul for some time as part of the central bank’s Vision 2025 program. This includes the recent introduction of a Rapid Payments Programme (RPP), which promises instant payments clearance. Vision 2025 sets out the goals and strategies for the national payments industry, aimed at building a world-class national payment system that serves the economy and the people of South Africa.

Despite global trends, the growth of the African fintech ecosystem is driven by the creation of value through solving real problems within large user markets, not just the availability of capital. Fintech has barely scratched the surface in terms of pain points and opportunities across the continent.

You can visit the Baker McKenzie Fintech Hub to know more about relevant fintech resources and services. The Fintech Hub curates all relevant insights developed based on Baker McKenzie’s analysis and market experience.

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