Fintech is disrupting banking, finance, and even money as we know it. It’s a global phenomenon, but in Africa more than anywhere, the impact has the potential to be both socially and economically transformative (source: africafintechsummit.com)
Read our “Fintech in Africa” article here.
There is something mysterious going on in Africa, the cradle of mankind.
For decades, Africa has been growing at an extraordinary rate and in fact the unweighted annual average GDP growth overtook Asia’s average in early 2000 and has not only maintained this, but the growth gap is holding its own and potentially increasing.
Much has been said about BRIC nations, but in that group only China has been in the top 10 along with 6 from the continent of the lion. Overall though within Africa, taking growth and stability into account, the top cheetah of the pack is Botswana.
And guess what, fintech in Africa is booming! In the last years a good third of venture capital funding raised by African startups was directed at the fintech sector. This might seem surprising since most adults in Africa do not have a bank account, they are “unbanked”. Around 80% of adults did not have access to banking services, in a traditional sense.
This is not just another compliance decree. PSD2 could change or even revolutionize the payments industry, in fact it actually mandates the idea of open banking!
In the past, the words ‘open’ and ‘banking’ seldom mixed. So, what is open banking?
Provocatively speaking, open banking suggests that “anyone” can have access to your bank account! Anyone, being a trusted 3rd party. With that, banks no longer have the monopoly on your account information!
But let’s start from the beginning! Back in October 2015, the European Parliament decided to promote innovative Fintech service providers e.g. for online and mobile payments. This means allowing access to bank data by third parties, by non-banks.
As I woke up this morning, enjoying my favorite first coffee, Brooke chanted out my usual financial summary I have now become accustomed to. Nothing special nowadays. She beamed up the key figures right in front of me over the kitchen table, all my accounts, my two portfolios, all non-financial assets with derived appraisals on my real estate, my home and holiday appartment, the latest estimates on my stamp collection, even one on my old books collectables. Nothing had moved significantly lately so Brooke was fairly calm.
They say you know there’s a bubble when the man on the street gives you a stock tip. It’s one of those moments when your friends ask, your relatives ask, even your mother asks “How can I double my money”.
It becomes such a repugnant question to answer that the easy way out, even for an investment professional, is to just follow the bandwagon. At these moments in time, the market appears to soar to the highest heights of irrational exuberance. There is no way out, especially if your job is to invest for a living.
We accepted their jammed keys, their snarled ribbons and their smudgy carbon paper for copies. It was our world, but we knew no better. Fortunately the PC arrived in this absence of logic and our lives changed forever.
Sometimes you need to look afresh at what we take for granted in order to innovate, like how we do banking. Here, bitcoin or more specifically blockchain could do to banks what email has done to our postal service. Perhaps it’s a little before its time, like the Internet before the web browser. But it’s surely not a hype?
Article by James Eagle