Restrictions on movement and reduction in the handling of physical cash because of the COVID-19 pandemic caused mobile money transaction volumes in sub-Saharan to reach $490bn in 2020, Visa has said.
This was a 23 per cent increase from 2019, according to a report titled ‘Innovation, partnership, and co-creation key to driving digital payment growth in sub-Saharan Africa’ by Senior Vice President and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa, Aida Diarra.
The company said in the last decade, digital technology, including payments, had witnessed tremendous growth.
The report said, “Innovation and technological advances are bringing exciting opportunities for financial inclusion to the fore. Technology is now a tool to leapfrog over old processes, systems, and protocols for the benefit of everyday consumers.
“This leap forward has been accelerated by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced us to shift our behaviours and adopt more technology to assist with our day-to-day lives in all aspects, including our finances.”
According to the report, the payments in sub-Saharan Africa are growing rapidly as a result of the high demand for financial inclusion.
Visa said it had become the connective tissue to enable new payment and commerce experiences by co-creating with all players in the payments sector to enable new payment experiences across the region.
The company, however, added that an estimated $17tn of cash and checks were still in use globally, and nearly two billion adults lacked access to formal financial services.
It said with commerce becoming increasingly digital, digital payments options would only increase, which could also lead to a spike in fraud cases.
According to the report, every payment on Visa’s platform is secured by its anti-fraud detection systems that apply the latest in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Visa added that its latest partnerships were targeted at leveraging the power of mobile as an access point to financial inclusion.
It said this included a partnership to develop products that would expand access to digital payments for over 30 million mobile money customers.