Cash is probably not going to disappear anytime soon in Africa, but a growing number of digital finance initiatives – including two recently announced in Kenya and Nigeria – may help to accelerate the process.
In East Africa Telkom Kenya has announced plans to develop a youth-focused digital wallet to combat the financial exclusion that it says has been an effect of the ongoing pandemic.
The operator has signed an agreement with the Ministry of ICT’s National Youth Council of Kenya (NYCK) to co-create Fursa (Swahili for opportunity), a platform that allows the council to disburse funds to young people conveniently, quickly and in a secure and timely manner.
Independent trust The Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Kenya estimates that 23 percent of the country’s 18-25-year-olds are excluded from financial services and products – and that financial services providers have no solutions targeted at the young.
Fursa will be customised to contain other capabilities including a membership management system, financial reconciliation, savings and investments, and an experience board for job matching and e-learning as well as experiential skill development.
Telkom will install the Fursa wallet and offer support with operationalisation, maintenance and updates. It will also provide professional and product support services, including infrastructure, care services, monitoring, performance and availability.
In Nigeria meanwhile, a digital payment solution provider, PurplePay, has launched a mobile pay solution application that it hopes eventually to extend to other countries.
It is described as a pocket-friendly, convenient and safe way to send and receive money, pay bills and top up airtime with ease anytime and from anywhere.
PurplePay, which is available in Android and iOS app stores, has a QR code scanner that allows merchants to receive payments as well as a bulk payment feature that allows users to make huge payments at once.
The peer-to-peer transfer feature allows users to send and receive money from other PurplePay users with their usernames or phone numbers. PurplePay also offers a cross-border payments and multicurrency wallet in local currency and US dollars.
In addition the platform provides virtual accounts for Nigerian users to send and receive money from any bank in Nigeria with their PurplePay account number.