Safaricom turns attention to Africa financial divide - Mobile World Live

Safaricom turns attention to Africa financial divide

27 OCT 2022

MWC AFRICA, KIGALI: Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, managing director at M-Pesa and acting CFO at Safaricom (pictured), underscored the need for collaboration between operators, policymakers and international institutions in closing Africa’s financial divide.

In his keynote speech, Lopokoiyit unveiled findings from the company’s Africa Connected white paper, highlighting the development of digital financial services in the continent and the systemic challenges that handicapped it.

He hailed the progression of mobile money and relevant services in the region, stating 17.6 million people in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Mozambique are using mobile money services.

Out of the estimated figure, 12.3 million users in the four countries are registered to M-Pesa digital ecosystem with “61 mobile loans issued every second” and “over $30 million lent on a daily basis” through the system.

Meanwhile, 45 per cent of the adult population in Sub-Saharan Africa remains unbanked – naming documentations required for KYC, financial literacy, lack of rural banking and banking fees as major backlogs.

In turn, “financially excluded citizens will continue to struggle to save, borrow and manage financial shocks”, he added.

Appeal for fair regulations
For digital financial platforms like M-Pesa to accelerate financial health in the continent, regulators need to introduce a stronger risk-based approach and “introduce stronger customer protection mechanisms” to ensure customers’ data, both in the countries and cross-border, are protected.

Lopokoiyit also stressed the need for a level-playing field between local institutions and Big Tech, calling for a fair policy given foreign companies can operate in African territories with ease while local operators must “replicate our platforms in each country”.

“We want to work with policymakers”, he said, adding “partnerships are absolutely vital to help shape the fintech and digital ecosystem in Africa”.

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Hana Anandira

Prior to joining GSMA, Hana worked in the world of publishing as an editor and contributor for three years, covering a wide range of interests that span from culture and politics to architecture. She has written for Jakarta- and London-based...

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