Fintech (a.k.a. technology for finance) is really taking off in Africa. Something that has been made possible with the transition to digital. This has led to the emergence of lots of start-ups, especially in the field of mobile payments as, although 80% of Africans own a mobile phone, only 28% have a bank account. One of these start-ups is WeCashUp, a payments platform that requires no credit card, which was set up in 2015 in Cameroon and now operates in 35 other countries on the continent. Then there is Tala, which offers micro-credits of between 10 and 500 dollars. Other green shoots on the market: Jumo, based in the Cape, which offers loans, saving accounts and insurance to those without access to traditional banking systems, and Kuda, the first digital bank in Nigeria. Ones to watch in future.
Today, Africa has 65% of the world’s arable land, but spends 45 billion dollars every year on food imports. That figure could reach 110 billion in 2025. A paradox whilst jobs and the environment are also a challenge to the development of a smart, healthy agriculture. Innovation has picked up the gauntlet and has taken to the field in the form of several initiatives: in Kenya and Nigeria you can lease a tractor at low cost from Hello Tracteur by text. Also in Kenya, the World Bank is using climate data to help farmers optimise their production. A start-up, Twiga Food, is delivering fruit and vegetables to small retailers directly from the producers. Lastly, the first crowd-funding platform in Africa dedicated to farmers has been set up to give them “fertile funding”! Remember the name: Seekewa.
In 2050, the African continent will have almost 2.5 billion inhabitants. Naturally, the question of mobility arises. One solution for alleviating jams in the cities and helping the locals is car-sharing. There are already more than 50 shared mobility platforms in 21 countries on the continent. Uber operates in Africa, but it faces competition from lots of local start-ups, some of which have already become part of daily life for many. For example, there is Jumpin Ride in South Africa, with over 11,000 users, Jekalo in Nigeria and Nsogo in Algeria, which defines trips on the basis of user preferences. In Morocco, more than 1,000 people use Pip Pip Yalah to share their journeys and costs every day. Solutions that reduce the number of trips and pollution, all from a smartphone.