The Punch

Mobile money transactio­ns in sub-saharan Africa hits $490bn

— report


rESTRICTIO­NS on movement and reduction in the handling of physical cash because of the COVID-19 pandemic caused mobile money transactio­n volumes in subsaharan to reach $490bn in 2020, Visa has said.

This was a 23 per cent increase from 2019, according to a report titled ‘Innovation, partnershi­p, and co-creation key to driving digital payment growth in sub-saharan Africa’ by Senior Vice President and Head of Sub-saharan Africa at Visa, Aida Diarra.

The company said in the last decade, digital technology, including payments, had witnessed tremendous growth.

The report said, “Innovation and technologi­cal advances are bringing exciting opportunit­ies for financial inclusion to the fore. Technology is now a tool to leapfrog over old processes, systems, and protocols for the benefit of everyday consumers.

“This leap forward has been accelerate­d by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced us to shift our behaviours and adopt more technology to assist with our day-to-day lives in all aspects, including our finances.”

According to the report, the payments in sub-saharan Africa are growing rapidly as a result of the high demand for financial inclusion.

Visa said it had become the connective tissue to enable new payment and commerce experience­s by co-creating with all players in the payments sector to enable new payment experience­s across the region.

The company, however, added that an estimated $17tn of cash and checks were still in use globally, and nearly two billion adults lacked access to formal financial services.

It said with commerce becoming increasing­ly digital, digital payments options would only increase, which could also lead to a spike in fraud cases.

According to the report, every payment on Visa’s platform is secured by its anti-fraud detection systems that apply the latest in machine learning and artificial intelligen­ce.

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