Fintech innovation in Africa is set to pick up pace in 2018 and be a key trend across the continent as Africa's economy rebounds after a tough year, according to a new report from Ecobank Group Research.
The report, Ecobank Research's Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities (FICC) Guidebook, indicates a positive outlook for the continent, with three key trends forecast to "take hold during the next 12 months."
The first "indicates an economic rebound in sub-Saharan Africa driven by a recovery in the region's economic heavyweights, Nigeria and South Africa, and ongoing growth in the top performers, Ethiopia, Côte d'Ivoire and (more recently) Ghana."
The second "points to West Africa's gas sector becoming a hive of activity in 2018 from Senegal to Angola, with the development of gas pipelines, floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platforms and major gas field projects."
And the third "suggests fintech innovation in Africa picking up speed in 2018," fuelled by "a new generation of Africans who are ‘digital natives’. The proliferation of tech hubs across Africa (notably in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire) will nurture the next wave of African startups and help connect them with investors," suggests the Ecobank Group.
It adds: "Digital innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa is being driven by the explosion in mobile phone usage, enabling African consumers to leapfrog existing business models and technologies… African fintech firms are increasingly driving this innovation, deploying digital tools to build credit profiles for the previously 'unbankable,' providing electricity to rural households that were previously off the grid, even using artificial intelligence to diagnose health problems remotely."
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— The staff, Connecting Africa