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Dr Edward George, Head of the UK representative office of Ecobank and Group Research

Fintech is boosting financial inclusion across Africa.

This is according to Ecobank, an independent pan-African banking group currently providing insights at the 2018 Africa Tech Summit, which opened today, 14 February 2018. 

Although over 80% of Africans have mobile phones, only around one quarter (28%) of them have bank account. But mobile banking and e-wallets are helping to break the banking logjam, offering a range of alternative payment methods as well as lending and savings services. This has boosted the overall financial inclusion rate to 34%, and it is growing each day.

However, there are many barriers to wider use of new technology where a step change is needed in attitudes and approaches towards innovation. Ecobank’s work with e-commerce, small business, and consumers – through their mobile banking app and other e-products – is helping organisations and individuals to overcome these barriers and stimulate wider usage.

Dr Edward George, Head of the UK representative office of Ecobank and Group Research provided a keynote address at the opening of the Summit where he looked at the acceleration of disruptive technology in Africa, technological innovations that are causing a step change in the way we do business and transact and describe some of the latest banking and tech innovations that are helping individuals and businesses to meet the challenges.

“Nearly all the growth in financial inclusion since 2011 has been due to mobile banking services,” says Dr George.

“With around 100 million users of e-wallets, Africans account for around half (57.6%) of all mobile wallets in the world.”

“However, people are often stuck in their ways – whether a market trader or top executive – and the challenge is to change the mindset and open them up to the opportunities of digital.”

“Disruptive technology is about recognising these challenges and seeing technology as an enabler, not a panacea, and by adapting innovations to the reality on the ground. That is what we are doing at Ecobank to help businesses and individuals take the digital leapfrog.”

The Africa Tech summit takes place today and 15 February in Kigali, Rwanda. It will explore the latest trends in digital technology with some 250 key African and international tech leaders from across the continent.


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