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EBANX’s Beyond Borders study finds Africa's SaaS/cloud sector is growing the fastest and alternative payments are driving the digital economy’s rise

December 8, 2022

CURITIBA, BRAZIL, December 8, 2022 – EBANX, a fintech company that specializes in international payments in rising markets, released its annual Beyond Borders 2022/2023 report. For the first time, the bellwether research study on the latest megatrends and consumer behaviors tied to e-commerce, payments, and emerging global business opportunities includes a detailed analysis of African countries, in addition to Latin America. 

Africa is the next digital frontier,” said Paula Bellizia, President of Global Payments at EBANX. “While it’s still in its infancy compared to more mature markets, it has immense potential. There are similarities with Latin America – including a fragmented payments landscape, a reliance on alternative payment methods like mobile money and digital wallets, and increasing levels of financial inclusion. The payments landscape there is pulling the market up. Digital payments made primarily through mobile phones are one of the main reasons digital commerce is rising across Africa.” 

In September, the Latin American payments giant announced the expansion of its operations and payments’ innovations outside of LatAm for the first time in its history - to Africa. After growing its footprint to 15 Latin American countries for more than a decade, EBANX has prioritized its global expansion on the African continent, which it believes is the next biggest growth frontier for digital payments and the online market during the 2020s. 

Africa is a hypergrowth, mobile-driven digital market 

According to EBANX’s Beyond Borders 2022/2023 report, Africa's digital market is geared up to grow. With double-digit growth across all verticals, the continent of 1.3 billion people is just as mobile-driven as Latin America, with an 83 percent penetration of mobile subscribers, per the ITU. But while smartphone penetration helped boost online shopping and later, digital payments in Latin America – in Africa, the high degree of mobile usage has been the foundation for payments and financial access itself. In other words, while e-commerce drove digital payments adoption in Latin America, in Africa digital payments should drive e-commerce.

Over the next few years, digital business verticals like gaming, streaming, delivery apps, and online retail in Africa are forecast to expand at double-digit rates, between 11 percent and 25 percent – which is up to 5x the global average. A coming wave of 5G technology is expected to have a transformative effect by adding more avenues to consume media and entertainment content, especially via high-speed connectivity for streaming, according to an IFC/Google report.

The fastest-growing digital sector in Africa today is online purchases of cloud-based software as a service, which has also been skyrocketing across Latin America,” said Bellizia. It’s expected to grow at about 25 percent CAGR through 2026. The next two fastest-growing verticals are food-delivery apps and online retail marketplaces

During its annual Latin America Summit in September, EBANX launched a new automated payments solution to ease and speed high-value transactions for the SaaS/Cloud vertical. 

Mobile money in Africa drives strong preference for APMs 

Africa has the world’s largest share of mobile internet traffic. About 75 percent of online traffic in Africa is done using mobile phones, per Statista. Similarly, the most mobile-money transactions volume (70%) processed worldwide originate from Africa. The population’s strong preference for alternative payment methods (APMs) correlates with a digital market that is dominated by m-commerce, according to GSMA’s latest global report on mobile money. 

Among the most intriguing fintech use cases in the region is Paga, a Nigerian mobile payments company founded in 2009 with the goal of reducing the use of cash. To drive adoption to its mobile-money solution, Paga needed people to trust the company with their money, and it relied on local advocates who earned a commission on each transaction. Paga now has over 20 million users and more than 120,000 agents across Nigeria. Another popular APM is Kenya’s M-PESA, a Vodafone mobile-money offering that now has more than 51 million users across Africa, and handles more than USD 300 billion in transactions per year.

One economic study published in Science magazine estimated that access to M-PESA increased per capita consumption and lifted nearly 200,000 Kenyan households – about  two percent of the country’s population – out of poverty as of 2016.

"Africa has a very diverse, fragmented payments landscape, just like in Latin America," said Juliana Etcheverry, Director of Strategic Payments Partnerships at EBANX. “More than driving innovation in payments, mobile money has increased the financial inclusion and domestic consumption across the continent,”

Download the complete Beyond Borders 2022/2023 study here


EBANX is the leading international payments platform connecting global companies with customers from the fastest-growing digital markets in the world. The company was founded in 2012 in Brazil with the mission of giving people access to buy in international digital commerce. With powerful proprietary technology and infrastructure, combined with in-depth knowledge of the markets where it operates, EBANX enables global businesses to connect with hundreds of payment methods in different countries in Africa and Latin America. EBANX goes beyond payments, increasing sales and fostering seamless purchase experiences. For more information:
Website: https://business.ebanx.com/en/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ebanx 

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