Digital mobility trends in Africa

Posted on December 18, 2017 12:13 am

The entire mobility ecosystem in Africa, along with expectations, is changing how Africans pay for their services and products, the technology that supports it, how their products are transported. Currently, African businesses are challenged by engaging three different generations but going forward they will need to respond to the rise of digital natives.All industries and sectors are being affected.There’s plenty of evidence that technological advancements in smartphones have ushered in a new era Africa in communications, shopping, entertainment, news reporting, finance and investment to mention but a few.Known as Digital Mobility, the trend offers a less strenuous lifestyle, because smartphone users can manage a variety of matters through their phones with greater ease and convenience.Disruptive events affecting African industries are coming faster and becoming less predictable than ever before, especially for industries where the pace of technological evolution is confronting traditional business models head on.Both businesses and government need to embrace these trends and the innovation opportunities they provide.One of the major drivers of this lifestyle trend in Africa is private sector led campaigns to promote e-payment services that cut cash management costs.That initiative has led to progress among many services. Examples include expanded use of mobile money payments in East African countries of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya as well as the introduction of QR code payments services in selected outlets in South Africa and Nigeria, which have certainly changed customer behavior. Concurrently, more online services have been devised that allow users to make financial transactions via online platforms. According to the data available, the number of mobile banking accounts had reached 70 million by the first half of 2017 in East Africa. As well, monetary transfers and payment transactions through mobile banking services had surged 80 per cent year on year. Notably, preliminary data for first half of 2017 show inter-bank transfer transactions in East Africa had increased nearly 90 per cent, due in large part to the launch of mobile based core banking services in 2016, wherein over 47 per cent of mobile money transfers were conducted on smartphones.

Same bank transfers and payments via mobile banking services had risen 43 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively.The volume of mobile banking transactions accounts for 57 per cent of all banking transactions, becoming larger than the combined volume of transactions via Internet banking and ATMs.Amid leapfrogging growth in mobile banking services, banks in the region have embarked upon strategies to meet this challenge. Among the include Commercial Bank of Africa, the leading digital banking provider that operates in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, has enhanced their mobile banking capacity for broader service coverage to serve retail and SME customers, as well as e-commerce merchants, seeking fast and convenient trade transactions via various banking applications.Most recently, a South African bank has been promoting QR code payments, an integral of their app feature, and expect it to serve customers across the country by making it easier for merchants to agree to QR code payment acceptance. Marketing campaigns have encouraged customers to use the QR code payment system. This is another real challenge of leveraging technology to drive change in consumer behavior. The goal of Johannesburg based bank is to transform mobile banking into a lifestyle platform that could better meet all customer needs. In so doing, the lifestyle banking platform employs machine learning technology to analyze and develop guidelines in offering new services in line with customer behavior. A person familiar with the project told your blogger that, the Johannesburg Securities Exchange listed bank, expects to roll out the same in other African countries where it operates if the local implementation proves successful.Clearly, commercial banks are facing increasing competition from business rivals. Financial institutions, fin-tech start-ups and other businesses are eyeing to expand into financial services across Africa. Banks have to elevate their service capabilities to meet that challenge and facilitate changing customer behavior. Your blogger believes the transformation of mobile banking into a lifestyle platform will be the key answer, responding to the digital mobility trend and new lifestyles around Africa now and in the future because African customers are meshing together the next wave of digital innovation to suit their everyday lives.

Contador Harrison