16 Feb eCommerce Payment in Africa: Africa is The Home of Mobile Alternative Payments

The rest of the world thinks it’s a leader in mobile payment and e-payments using a mobile phone.  Africa is a hotbed for mobile phones from feature phones to smartphones.  

As necessity is the mother of invention, in the absence of traditional banking and cards, Africans have found simple and effective ways of leapfrogging the rest of the world with mobile payments via USSD and web payments on the back of exponentially increasing smartphone penetration.

“Mobile wallets” like M-Pesa, Airtel Money, Orange Money and Paga are widely used across the African continent for instore and online payment.  Although MasterCard, Visa and China UnionPay are in an issuing race to penetrate the market, mobile payments, mobile wallets and alternative payments in general are streets ahead.

The difference between “rest of the world” mobile payments and African alternative payments is that they are simple and easy to use and meet African consumer needs.  Although many are asynchronous, online mobile alternative payments like M-Pesa work well and have 60% of the Kenyan population behind them.

These mobile payments have the advantages of taking cash out of the system, reducing risks normally associated with card.  Many of them are irrevocable, and a high percentage of the population are familiar with them as they use them every day to make purchases.

There are limited stats for the growth of mobile payments in Africa, the last of the emerging markets to appear on the radar of multinational eCommerce merchants.  The growth of mobile payments for eCommerce purchases must be similar to Asia-Pacific at around 33% per annum.  

Growth in mobile alternative payments in Africa is mainly driven by instore retail via mobile wallets and NFC, and more recently through providers like African Payment Solutions these mobile alternative payments are available to multinational eCommerce companies opening up their web stores to African consumers.


Our thanks for inspiration to:  http://www.researchandmarkets.com/publication/me577wo/mobile_wallet_global_strategic