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In the ever-evolving landscape of business technology, the importance of financial technology has surged dramatically. African companies, in particular, are witnessing a fintech revolution that demands attention and strategic implementation.
With over 20 years of experience in business development, marketing, and operations, Hayley Hopwood, the head of revenue at Paystack, sheds light on the key considerations that African businesses should keep in mind when embracing fintech solutions.
“Across the globe, companies are integrating fintech into their operations, and Africa is no exception. In fact, it’s an even more pronounced trend here due to the unique business challenges we face,” states Hopwood.
The fintech landscape in Africa is witnessing a remarkable boom, with the number of fintech startups on the continent tripling between 2020 and 2021. Projections also indicate that the sector could generate revenues exceeding US$30 billion by 2025 and an astonishing US$65 billion by 2030.
According to Hopwood, the application of fintech spans diverse sectors ranging from insurance to education, healthcare to retail. “Fintech is a versatile tool that holds the potential to address a wide array of business needs. From the smallest Instagram-based businesses to established corporations with cross-border payment requirements, fintech has a role to play,” she explains.
Africa’s business environment is notorious for its challenges, with only two African countries, Mauritius and Rwanda, making the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index’s top 50 list.
“Fintech might not be a panacea for all business challenges, but it can certainly contribute to overcoming hurdles. For instance, facilitating credit accessibility can greatly benefit businesses in such environments,” says Hopwood.
Additionally, fintech can empower the significant portion of Africa’s population that lacks access to formal financial services. Reports from 2021 indicated that up to 45% of individuals in sub-Saharan Africa were unbanked, highlighting the potential for fintech to enhance financial inclusivity.
When it comes to selecting the right fintech solution, Hopwood emphasises the importance of ease of implementation.
“At Paystack, we’ve developed no-code tools that cater to the needs of small businesses aiming to establish an online presence. Simultaneously, larger enterprises can benefit from bespoke solutions that seamlessly integrate a variety of payment channels,” she points out.
However, Hopwood also highlights that the technology is only as good as the team behind it.
“Businesses should ensure that the fintech provider’s team is not just knowledgeable but consultative, understanding the unique needs of the business and offering solutions tailored to fuel growth.”
Drawing from her extensive industry experience, Hopwood underscores the significance of a fintech provider’s track record in Africa. “A provider with a positive track record in the African context brings a wealth of insights and expertise to the table. They understand the intricacies of utilising fintech to address challenges specific to the continent,” she explains.
Furthermore, the solutions offered should transcend borders, enabling companies to operate seamlessly across different countries and regions.
In conclusion, Hopwood believes that the potential benefits of fintech for African businesses are undeniable.
“To fully harness these benefits, companies need to align with solutions that are easy to implement, back them up with consultative teams, and ensure that these solutions are finely tuned to meet the unique requirements of individual countries and sectors,” she affirms.
As the fintech landscape continues to evolve, African businesses are poised to seize the opportunities presented by these transformative solutions. Through strategic fintech integration and collaboration with experienced providers, businesses can navigate challenges and position themselves for success in both regional and global markets.