Here’s some good news: SA uses tech to help the poor

CityPress - - Business -

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

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