A leading independent pan-African banking group has predicted that African fintech will become a US$3 billion market by 2020.

Thanks to the rise of cashless systems in Africa, millions of Africans are seeing the advantages of mobile banking, according to Ecobank. According to a report by Crowdfund Insider, the banking group has led the movement for developing cashless payment systems in Africa through its mobile app.

Nshuti Lucy Mbabazi, Ecobank Push Payments for the Ecobank Group vice president, explained:

Digital technology is central to what we do at Ecobank. Technology offers us great opportunities to open up new markets, increase choice and speed delivery of services.

Citing Rwanda as an example, which is also hosting the Africa Tech summit, Mbabazi added that Rwanda is aiming to move from a cash-based economy to a digital one, adding:

The number of digital transactions in Rwanda increased by 11 percent in the first half of 2017 from 1.37 million the previous year to 1.53 million in the same period, and more and more merchants and dealers are becoming access points.

Africa can now be seen as a nation at the forefront of fintech. This is notable by the fact that 57.6 percent of the globe’s 174 million active registered mobile money accounts are in sub-Saharan Africa, the report writes. It adds that African fintech is expected to grow from a paltry US$200 million to a healthy US$3 billion by 2020.

The blockchain is also playing a vital role in Africa’s future.

So much so, that South Africa’s central bank has launched a program that will trial JPMorgan’s Quorum blockchain.

In a statement from Tuesday, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), said that it has established a fintech program, which will, among other things, launch Project Khokha that will experiment with the blockchain technology.

SARB said:

The aim of this project is to gain a practical understanding of DLTs through the development of a proof of concept (PoC) in collaboration with the banking industry. The objective of the PoC is to replicate interbank clearing and settlement on a DLT which will allow the SARB and industry to jointly assess the potential benefits and risks of DLTs. The PoC involves the processing of wholesale payments using Quorum, an Ethereum enterprise DLT.

The reserve bank will be working with ConsenSys in the design, infrastructure, and running of the PoC.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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