Africa Will Leapfrog Economic Development Steps Using FinTech Advancements

We had the honor of being cited as an example of useful technological innovation in a recent article on The Next Web by John Stevens. You can find us directly by scrolling down about ¾ of the way through the story, but we recommend you read the whole article. He has a compelling thesis about how Africa’s financial services industry could rapidly develop with the help of FinTech advancements like blockchain, tokenization systems and crypto-currencies. BitMinutes and its technological mission provide an exemplary support point to the broader proposition.

I wrote about this myself recently, but Stevens expands on how the digital marketplace in Africa may be more fertile ground for substantive advances in FinTech than other more established regions of the world. People in many national African markets are leapfrogging entire phases in communication/network system development. Millions of Africans have adopted mobile phone devices without ever having had a land line reach their village, much less their home, for instance.

“The region is expected to have 500 million cell phone subscribers by 2020,” Stevens writes. “And many cell phone owners take advantage of mobile money features. In fact, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe now have more than 40 percent of adults as active mobile money users, according to the GSM Association.”

Just as smartphones in developed countries have taken over for watches, PDAs, rolodexes and a hundred other functions, so simpler phones in less developed countries have brought in simple, low cost services like basic bill-paying and other basic financial transactions. In fact, the prepaid airtime minute has begun to function like a proto-currency within each mobile operator’s network. Advances in blockchain and crypto-currency innovations accelerate the leapfrogging of financial services over brick and mortar retail networks.

“There is a genuine need for a secure way to make digital payments and loans for small transactions,” adds Stevens. “The technology is greatly needed in regions where most people are poor (by developed country standards), and the majority do not have bank accounts or credit cards. A sizeable percentage of the world’s population fits into these categories and could use the help.”

That is our mission in a nutshell.

You can find us, and a description of our mission, at www.bitminutes.com.

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