Here’s some good news: SA uses tech to help the poor
Some good news in a bleak week is that South Africa came in second, behind Kenya, in a digital and financial inclusion report by the US think-tank Brookings.
The 21 nations were Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda and Zambia.
This is a good index to top because it shows South Africa has leapt ahead when it comes to extending financial services that use technology to a good number of people.
And here’s the important one: “[South Africa is] ranked number one for mobile capacity]”.
This means most South Africans have a cellphone and a significant number use it to do transactions.
We scored well on adoption – people are using mobile money or their phones (in most cases) to buy and sell. The banking industry, under pressure from the state to make financial services accessible, has done so.
The range of banking options for low-income earners is significant.
Government also used the grant system to give 16 million people an account. Digital and financial inclusion are healthy indicators for the nation to build on. Even in hard times.
– Ferial Haffajee