Big investment in Africa and mobile money – Top tech trends

Global publications have exploded with reports of the most exciting new developments that can be expected in the coming year.

From AI and machine learning to edge computing and blockchain, co-founder and director of Quicket, James Hedley, takes a look at the four most exciting tech trends to watch out for in Africa in 2020 – detailed below.

Exponential investment in Africa

Nigerian-based payment ventures have received millions of US dollars in investments, making it the “unofficial African capital for fintech investment and digital finance startups”, according to TechCrunch.

It was also reported that the continent’s fintech investment quadrupled to $357 million in 2018, with sub-Saharan Africa being the area with the most expected growth.

So, what does this mean for South Africa?

“We can expect even more investment after being listed as one of the top three African countries with the highest amount of investment next to Kenya and Nigeria.”

The Southern African Venture Capital Association also announced that venture capital funding grew 31% to over R1.5 billion in 2018, up from R1.1 billion in 2017.

Leading the charge with sizeable investments this year included on-demand cleaning service SweepSouth and business funding company Lulalend.

The continued rise of mobile money

Since 2011, the value of mobile transactions has grown over 890%, with sub-Saharan Africa the world’s largest region responsible for moving money on mobile phones – a total of 45.6% of the activity in the world.

The industry has grown exponentially and there are no signs of the market decreasing.

Mobile money has proven an effective tool for feature phone users who have not yet migrated to a smartphone, and USSD has become one of the technologies that have enhanced the transaction experience for millions.

Rise of the mobile money ecosystem

Hundred of millions of upwardly mobile consumers linked to a cost-effective mobile payment system will create vast opportunities for all sorts of business models.

One only has to look to China to get a feel for the vast range of possibilities this could enable, like the incredible success WeChat has seen with their payment options.

In a recent report, they stated that over 84% of adults using their payment options now felt comfortable not carrying cash.

Reducing data costs

Recently, Vodacom and MTN were ordered by the Competition Commission to slash their data prices, despite introducing price reductions.

The network providers had two months to significantly reduce their data prices, making space for a wider audience to have access to the Internet.

Although MTN has stated they will oppose the ruling, “what we can still look forward to is a more inclusive audience who engage with online content, shopping, etc”.

Corporates, small businesses and even retailers may look for more ways to engage with their audiences in order to reel in new consumers through online engagement.

Messaging 2.0

We have seen great strides in messaging apps over the last year, with many businesses using apps like Messenger and WhatsApp as forms of customer service channels.

“As a society, we have grown to demand immediacy from the brands that we choose to interact with, and we can expect much more from brands next year,” sais Hedley.

With updates in chatbots, interactions will be even more nuanced – with bots who are being programmed to deliver feedback more effectively.


Now read: How Huawei will adapt to survive trade onslaught in 2020

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Big investment in Africa and mobile money – Top tech trends