Real-time retail payments that enable consumers to send and receive cross-border and domestic transactions digitally have been on the rise globally. The increasing proliferation of QR codes, apps, tap-and-go card technology, and small-value payments using proxy identifiers (aliases) such as phone numbers and email addresses have made payments one of the more innovative financial services in recent years. This is also evident in the number of deals that payments startups and established fintechs (paytechs) have been able to close.
In Africa, the progress and extent of reach in the market of digital payments is less documented than in other regions in the world, yet is unique in the scale of transactions that are routed via USSD channels. USSD technology enables the end-user to pay and receive money through mobile money wallets, even if only a basic feature phone is at hand. These nuances and the progress of digital payments on the continent, enabled by efficient and open underlying payments infrastructure, are analysed and captured in the second edition of the State of Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems (SIIPS) 2023 report produced by AfricaNenda in partnership with the World Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Apart from the analysis of the major trends and barriers in the instant payment systems on the continent, the report presents case studies on Zambia’s National Financial Switch (NFS), Malawi National Switch (NATSWITCH) and other SADC region countries, highlighting the design journey of an instant payment system. End-user research with individual users and small businesses in the focus countries further paints the adoption and usage journey in the different realities of these markets.
Download the report and case studies and other key takeaways here: State of Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems (SIIPS) 2023 or explore the AfricaNenda website here: AfricaNenda