Africa may not seem like the most glamorous and high-tech lending environment for the growth and proliferation of Fintech, but it certainly is a unique arena for new financial technologies to flourish. Traditionally, Africa has been left behind by the banking system, considering a vast percentage of its population is unbanked, and undesirable for banks; this leaves the continent ripe for disruption.
The need for financial inclusion in Africa is hinged upon it being a core part of the Sustainable Development Goals, which highlights its necessity for the people of Africa who are unbanked. But more than that, it is an area where disruptive Fintech will be welcomed and extrapolated as there is not much banking legacy to get in the way.
Something like Blockchain, which can not only create an ID for people who traditionally lack the necessary paperwork to have an ID – and thus a bank account, has vast advantages in Africa. The token economy that sprouts from Blockchain is also key, as is the growing DeFi movement, which can bolster a higher degree of financial inclusion.
Still, even with this situation very much ripe for disruption, not much is being done in Africa. However, that could change if one of tech’s leading lights, Jack Dorsey, gets stuck in. Dorsey is currently in Ghana, having visited Nigeria, and is meeting with tech entrepreneurs, as well as Bitcoin believers.
Dorsey is a big believer in cryptocurrency and what it can do, having implemented it with his Square Cash App.
But as much as Dorsey is a Bitcoin believer, Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa are starved to know as much as they can about Bitcoin. In the last 12 months, the three countries mentioned before were in the top four countries that googled the word Bitcoin.
Dorsey is a shrewd businessman, and although he can see this hunger for digital banking alternatives, he can also spot a gap in the market for his companies.
Speaking in Lagos, the Square head remarked,
“I want to understand the challenges of starting a company here and figure out a way I can support. I want to live here for three to six months next year, full time, no travelling.”
Indeed, Dorsey could be a key figurehead to lead Africa forward with the help of Fintech. If he is committed to making this endeavor work, Dorsey and his payment company could help proliferate fintech and digital currencies, as well as even help spread the adoption of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.