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Disruptive Innovations or Enhancing Financial Inclusion: What Does Fintech Mean for Africa?

By: Isa Alade & Zehra G. Kavame Eroglu

Despite the rise of investments in fintech, financial services in Africa remain inaccessible to a large segment of the population, particularly to vulnerable groups including women. However, with uniquely designed fintech products and suitable regulations, there is now a chance to provide financial services to hundreds of millions of unserved and underserved residing in the continent.

With this Article, we provide an up-to-date, bottom-up assessment of the development of fintech products and current regulatory approaches in various African countries. We examine the rise in the adoption of fintech products in Africa within the context of financial inclusion. Upon reviewing the emerging approaches to the regulation of fintech on the continent as well as the prevailing constraints in this regard, we argue that the development of appropriate laws and regulations for fintech in Africa should be guided primarily by financial-inclusion considerations. After all, fintech occupies a unique position in Africa as its growth in the continent is driven significantly by an unmet demand for financial services, rather than an intent to disrupt.


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