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Fintech is the equalizer unbanked Africans have been waiting for


Financial inclusion in Africa would be impossible without the current digital boom improving access to financial services. The growth of mobile across Africa means more people on the continent than ever before can engage with banks, meaning unbanked Africans now have a chance to experience endless opportunities that come with understanding and control over their money.

The growth in digital platforms in Africa has led to an unprecedented rise in the number of people enjoying mainstream financial services. Banking has never been easier, from mobile banking to Agency Banking, bringing new services closer to communities.

Thanks to innovative technology and growth in Fintech, those once excluded from the formal banking sector can now quickly and conveniently make the most of their money for the first time.

Previously unable to save or borrow, the trend has been that millions in Africa were stuck on the peripheries, prevented from decisions as simple as saving for the future, let alone benefiting from financial help for start-ups or personal development.

From individuals vending in informal settings to renting more expensive space to operate small businesses in bustling African towns, businesspeople were succeeding without the helping hand that comes with financial inclusion. Despite the clear need and demonstrable benefit to both communities and the economy, few financial institutions stepped up to satisfy this crucial and overlooked market.

Access Bank is leading an evolving generation of banks by utilizing mobile connectivity to reach people with tailor-made and affordable financial products.

This life-changing development means many across Africa can now apply for on-demand loans for business expansion - once a preserve for deep-pocketed enterprises and individuals.

The business landscape is changing quickly in the face of new digital opportunities.

Leading a digital revolution

At the core of driving change in the banking sector is Access Bank’s digital revolution, targeted at the historically forgotten people residing in semi-urban and rural areas. Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is primarily concentrated in these areas, meaning huge swathes of individuals were unbanked and unable to participate in what many took for granted.

Currently, over 45% of sub-Saharan Africa is using mobile money and making use of innovative payment solutions.

Access to financial services has traditionally been underpinned by Agency Banking, which has seen exponential growth in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. But those living in remote areas without a physical bank close by can now bank remotely, so their money and the ability to action their dreams and plans for the future becomes available 24/7.

This has helped communal farmers looking to grow production on their farms and small businesses employing their local community, enabling growth without worrying about access to finance. To date, Access Bank’s digital loans have provided over ₦260 billion to upwards of 1.8 million customers.

As Agency Banking has grown by 170%, underpinned by removing financial barriers between ordinary people and services, the trend for digital banking has already gained momentum.

Platforms like WhatsApp Banking are growing exponentially, as witnessed by a 73% rise in transactions showing a desire in the previously unbanked demographic.

Other services such as the Payday Loan, through which individuals can get instant credit against their payday earnings, have been of great help during the pandemic due to unpredictable challenges and a widespread liquidity crunch.

With digital transformation comes the inevitable problem of cybercrime. To protect its customers and help them thrive in a new digital paradigm, Access Bank’s FacePay leverages AI and facial biometric authentication to make more secure payments. So far, over 60,000 individuals have benefited from from this service.

Fintech is the future of Africa

As new products quickly gain ground in a receptive market, Africa is set to experience exponential growth of its Fintech industry, where mobile money is transforming everything.

The growth in Fintech on the continent aligns with Access Bank’s goal to maintain a strong presence in Africa through leveraging technology. Its long- standing reputation for supporting growth and nurturing potential throughout Nigeria with innovative technologies mirrors the growing advancement throughout Africa.

And with the growth of digital banking and innovation grows the ability of ordinary people to improve their livelihoods.