The Digital Road to Financial Inclusion in Africa

The widespread availability and use of smartphones has made it easier to deliver financial services to people who were previously considered “hard-to-reach.” In emerging economies where the use of formal financial services remains low, including in Africa, digital platforms offer an entry point to financial inclusion.

On a recent tour of China’s superplatforms, the Mastercard Foundation Partnership for Finance in a Digital Africa (FiDA) looked for case studies to better understand how digital platforms have led to large-scale use of financial services for both consumers and businesses. During the visit to Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen, we saw first-hand how digital financial services have enabled:

  • savings, both money and time;
  • investments in income-generating activities;
  • opportunities to build assets; and
  • the availability of transaction data to increase access to credit and loans.

What was our takeaway? While there is a lot to gain from digital platforms, there is an opportunity to learn more about if and how the development of similar models elsewhere, including in Africa, will contribute to positive impacts on individuals, institutions, and markets.

A blog, co-authored by Lamia Naji, Associate Manager, Learning and Strategy at Mastercard Foundation and Xavier Faz, Lead, Digital Finance Frontiers at CGAP, explores the benefits of superplatforms for both consumers and institutions. Learn about the impact of digital payments, social networks, and e-commerce.