by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – WIRECARD, one of the world’s fastest growing digital platforms in the area of financial commerce, has disclosed plans to pursue an aggressive growth path further into East and West Africa.
It is presently concentrating on growth in Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.
Last year, the company acquired MyGate – a South African fintech firm that enables merchants across Africa to accept a wide range of different e-commerce payment options, particularly online card payments, thereby helping them to serve millions of African consumers.
“We expect to make further acquisitions in South Africa, as well as eastern Africa and western Africa in the next six to 12 months,” said Peter Stenslunde, Executive Director of Wirecard South Africa.
Online and mobile payments are taking off in Africa as a combination of improved internet access, advanced financial systems and widespread mobile penetration help spur demand for services.
However, the ability to pay and accept payments on the continent are not without their challenges, principally around risk and settlement.
“For the last decade, the ability to pay online, north of South Africa, has been difficult for a number of reasons – but it’s rapidly improving and that creates significant opportunities,” said Stenslunde.
He said e-commerce and online credit card payments are high-growth industries in Africa and mobile wallet technology and mobile money even more so.
Stenslunde said in Africa the travel and mobility sector in particular, as well as digital and consumer goods are all good candidates for new fintech solutions.
Mobile wallets are another huge growth opportunity. That technology developed in Africa far supersedes that in other parts of the world.
A recent World Economic Forum report on Global Trade says in sub-Saharan Africa, 12 percent of adults (64 million adults) have mobile money accounts (compared to just 2 percent worldwide), and 45 percent of them only have a mobile money account.
“As the newly-banked population becomes connected to mobile payments, it’ll be much easier for them to participate in global trade, either as consumers or businesses,” Stenslunde said.
– CAJ News