Africa Day: My vision for payments in Africa
I was scrolling through Twitter and saw a few tweets about a yet-to-be-launched product we’d been building. Our Social Media Team had created an account for it and some well meaning folks reshared the screenshot on Twitter and got some responses. A few of the comments showed that people were looking forward to the product as they believed it was going to lay a new foundation for education financing in Africa. That is what we live for at Flutterwave–to build solutions that create real impact.
For us at Flutterwave, our vision includes an Africa-focused growth in the payment industry with global implications. We may face a lot of obstacles on our journey to achieving this vision, but we know that we are always working towards building the payments infrastructure for Africans. For now, we have the Flutterwave for Business Suite of Products which is built for Africa and we have Send by Flutterwave, our remittance solutions which is built for Africans in the diaspora. Africa is at the heart and center of what we do. And why not? My beloved continent inspired me to start Flutterwave in the first place.
I was working in a Bank in South Africa when a brand wanted to expand to Nigeria. They found it difficult to pay their vendors and employees in Nigeria and that hindered their expansion dreams. I saw an opportunity to build the payments infrastructure that will help big brands to expand within Africa and set up shop in record time within the continent. Today, there is no better example that shows we are very close to this dream than our partnership with Uber which has helped the brand expand to eight countries in Africa.
Seven years in – and our vision still stands; to support businesses expanding into Africa, to enable businesses expanding within Africa and to help businesses in Africa start anywhere and go global. But I always say that payments are just one key part to Africa being able to leapfrog its economy. In order to jump start wealth creation across the continent, we have to do this through payments, logistics and commerce. While we may not be able to tackle all three, we can get payments right and as we do, we create the channels and opportunities for other entrepreneurs to get logistics and commerce right.
Payments, commerce and logistics are at the heart of everything we do in Africa. These three industries command values in hundreds of billions of dollars and if fully unlocked, could create value in its trillions. Total transaction value in the digital payments market is projected to reach $146.40bn in 2023. Third-party logistics has a total industry cost reaching $344.2bn in 2023 and ecommerce is expected to grow by 26.5% between 2023 and 2028. Mind you, Mobile Money is a category of its own which grew up to $697.7bn across Sub Saharan Africa in 2021.
There are a lot of opportunities to unlock and what we are doing at Flutterwave is to roll up our sleeves and get to work in creating synergy across these growth drivers. In the last seven years, we have brought onboard the mobile money payment methods on Flutterwave with our partnerships with MTN, Airtel, Safaricom amongst others across different countries. We have also integrated various third-party logistics providers, most recently, Shiip–which enables our Flutterwave Store vendors to deliver to their customers. We also continue to enable payments for other ecommerce companies and online marketplaces across the continent.
There’s more to be done, however. The industry needs continued support from the African Union and the Association of African Central Banks. While we acknowledge the progress so far of the AfCTA in creating the PAPSS network consisting of 8 Central Banks, 28 commercial banks and 6 switches, we’d appreciate stronger alignment in regulatory requirements across the 54 countries of Africa. Also, the support we’ve gotten from various Central Banks have helped us increase our technology reach to 34 countries. There’s an opportunity to truly make Africa one big payments market, and once we do, the possibilities are endless.
Until then, we will continue to do what we do best; turn the support we’re given into value for our customers, partners, people, and investors. And like I always say, yesterday was the best time to build in Africa. Today is the next best time.
Today is Africa Day, a day dedicated by the African Union to celebrate the continent of Africa and to highlight those issues that affect us. On behalf of all my colleagues at Flutterwave, I wish us all a Happy Africa Day! Indeed, it’s still day one in Africa.