“In the next three to five years the vast majority of our transactions will be performed on smart-mobile devices.” Retail banking is experiencing a seismic shift in customer behaviour thanks to the digital revolution that continues to effect fundamental changes in the way businesses and individuals transact. Nowhere is this metamorphosis in customer behaviour more profound than in Africa.
While much has been written about the rise of Africa’s middle class, which is expected to reach half a billion people by 2030, less is known about the extraordinary growth in mobile and broadband penetration on the continent.
An Ericsson Mobility report shows that mobile subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa will rise to 930 million by the end of 2019, from 635 million at the end of 2014. To put that growth in perspective, there were less than 2 million mobile phone users in Africa in 1998.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile penetration rate of 70 percent is also rapidly closing in on the global average which stood at 92 percent in 2013. According to the Mobile Africa 2015 study by GeoPoll and World Wide Worx, internet browsing via mobile smart devices now stands at 40 percent across the core sub-Saharan Africa markets of South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Uganda. We expect internet browsing via smart mobile devices to grow exponentially as data costs in Africa decline.
Already we are seeing huge investment in data by mobile operators, municipalities, malls, retailers, banks and private companies across the continent. Standard Bank has installed free Wi-Fi in many branches across South Africa and plans to expand that to the rest of the continent in the near future. Municipalities such as Stellenbosch are already providing free Wi-Fi to their citizens while a cursory glance at the financials of any mobile operator in Africa shows that the bulk of their revenue growth is coming from data rather than voice services. Read more