COVID-19 turned many things upside down, and one of them was the global financial sector. Though the impact of global social isolation was definitely devastating, it still fueled many processes that turned out to be positive for the world’s financial health. For example, the wide dissemination of mobile money and the rapidly growing market for digital transactions are all COVID outcomes with far-reaching implications for how money moves around the world now.
We at Clinq.Gold have envisioned this project as a relevant, just-on-time solution for people lacking access to digital finance. And when reading the latest McKinsey and GSMA reports on the 2023 financial dynamics, I see that we’re on the right path. Here, I would like to share a couple of my personal insights from these reports to show where global finance is heading and how we embrace these dynamics and trends.
A quick outlook at the global mobile money market shows we’re moving fast ahead, with over 1.6 billion registered accounts and a CAGR of 13%+. Just fancy: over 400 million people make digital transactions at least once a month. It’s not surprising that the value of transactions continues to skyrocket, already exceeding $1.2 trillion a year and rising day by day.
Regional Insights: Focus on Africa
We initially planned Clinq.Gold as a project supporting the financial infrastructure in African countries. Interestingly, the 2023 GSMA report also claims that Sub-Saharan Africa is currently the leader of regional growth, with a 17% rise in registered accounts, 30-day active accounts, and transaction volumes and value. It is well ahead of South Asia and the East Asia and Pacific regions – the ones typically associated with lightning-fast digital finance adoption. These figures thus prove that Africa is currently the most responsive region concerning financial innovation and digital money adoption, offering mind-wrecking business opportunities to businesses.
Digital Payments Adoption in Africa
The present-day mobile payments landscape in Africa is uneven but promising; some countries have a mature digital payments infrastructure and many service providers, while others are only stepping on the path of mobile payment adoption. East African countries have over 390 million registered accounts, and West Africa has over 290 million active users and the highest increase rate over the past year (+27%). However, Southern and North African countries have only 18 million user accounts each, with Central African states accounting for 65 million users.
The disproportion is pretty noticeable, with some countries possessing widely adopted mobile payment systems like M-pesa in Kenya (in use since 2007), Mozambique, Lesotho, Tanzania, DRC, Egypt, and Ghana. However, the very existence of M-pesa and its steady rise, with 6+ billion transactions made after 2016, hints at the continent’s readiness for a greater mobile money-related change. The time is ripe for FinTech innovation, as McKinsey report also suggests, with a couple of highlights to illustrate what I mean:
- Only 5-7% of all money transactions in Africa are done via electronic or digital channels (compared to 50% in Turkey).
- E-payments in Nigeria doubled to 800 million in 2020 and grew by 40% in South Africa in 2020-2021.
- The young African population is getting more urbanized and mobile-friendly.
- Payment methods alternative to cash and bank transfers have risen to $1.2 billion in 2020.
From what I can see, mobile payment technology is getting increasingly adopted and widespread across the African continent due to:
- Growing interoperability between competing wallets.
- Integration of universal QR codes.
- Central bank-sponsored wallets.
- Reduced complexity of financial app and wallet use.
- Growing speed and ease of p2p and commercial transactions.
- Rise of real-time payments infrastructure.
These observations suggest a solid ground for any FinTech with a focus on the untapped African market, as the consumer behavior changes overlap with the increasing urbanization, technology adoption, and pursuit of alternative payment options.
Role of Crypto in the African E-Payments Infrastructure
Another point of grand significance for our project is the stably high rate of cryptocurrency adoption in Africa. According to McKinsey experts, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa are in the top 10 list of countries with high Bitcoin trading volumes. Such reliance of African users on crypto may offer a solid basis for launching stable, reliable, and ultimately flexible crypto-backed payment solutions like Clinq.Gold.
The best thing about our project is that it doesn’t come with volatility typical for crypto; our CGT token is backed by gold and follows its price instead of the crypto roller-coaster. Therefore, Clinq.Gold can close the digital payments gap that many African countries still experience and offer a robust, safe, and functional method for transacting online with CGT with minimal volatility risks and the full set of user-friendly features of mobile and digital payments at every African user’s fingertips.
CEO & Founder at Clinq.Gold, Bank of Bullion | Keynote Speaker