African Fintech entrepreneurs and banks, the heat is coming: Alibaba’s Ant Financial is in partnerships with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the International Financial Corporation (IFC) as it enters Africa. ECA expects Ant Financial to power the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the largest free-trade agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organization. This is the real China-storm with WeChat already home.
Ant Financial, the payments and financial services arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is expanding to Africa.
In a partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) along with the International Financial Corporation, the firm says it will promote digital financial inclusion in the continent through investments and technical assistance. The offering will target smaller businesses and would look to cater to largely unserved consumers, including displaced people and refugees with no official documents or identity papers.
The deal, announced in Addis Ababa last week, is pegged to both the 2030 global sustainable development goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2060, which seeks to end poverty and improve lives through economic, social, and technological progress. The ECA said the agreement will help more people benefit from the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the largest free-trade agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organization.
Get it from me: by 2022, payment friction in Africa will be massively fixed. I can hear the sound in the horizon. If Ant can replicate its feats in India and China, consumers will win. Ant Financial, spurn from Alibaba Group, controls Alipay, a leading online payment platform. Its arrival in Africa will redesign payment competition, reduce friction and challenge local fintech companies and banking institutions.
Call this a battle of fintech!