Africa Digital Banking Overview 2021
The pandemic has accelerated the importance of digital in all parts of our lives, and banking is no different.
African banks are largely playing catch-up, with many reliant on a large branch network for revenue; two-thirds of African banks are having to significantly increase their IT spend on digital banking. Those banks that embraced digital transformation at an early stage are now reaping the rewards and are often just as innovative as their fintech competitors in providing a seamless digital customer journey.
African banks and emerging technologies
However, the pace of change is relentless, and having the ability to incorporate and harness new technologies will be the key to success, meaning it is not too late for banks to start their digital transformation if they select a partner that can be trusted to meet these challenges.
Africa is still very much a cash-driven economy. However, there are signs that African consumers could skip the payment card generation and adopt digital payments through mobile money, with Africa having more mobile payment service providers than any other region globally. Regulators are recognizing the benefits of digital payments in terms of increasing financial inclusion, reducing fraud and corruption, as well as increasing the ease, speed, and flexibility of payments that will benefit economies as a whole.
The shift to digital payments and mobile money
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a shift to digital payments, predominantly linked to the rapid rise of online purchases and governments encouraging cashless payments as a way of curbing the spread of the disease.
Digital banking is shifting to a platform approach that incorporates the wider digital front office. Retail banks in Africa should no longer have siloed systems for online or mobile banking and other channel systems but a broader digital banking platform that supports customer-to-bank interactions for direct and, increasingly, emerging channels.
Artificial intelligence will enable banks to reduce staff costs and provide enhanced, automated interaction capabilities as consumers’ reliance on branch services reduce. Digital expectations change at a rapid rate that requires agility, flexibility, and forward-thinking.
Change will require a strong partner that can respond to these challenges and provide advice on how to launch new products and services quickly and effectively.