African fintech companies raised a record $1.44bln since Jan 2021

Sep 14, 2021 | Ecofin Agency

Fintech is increasingly gaining ground in the private equity sector. Over the first nine months of 2021, African fintech companies raised $1.44 billion; an amount higher than the overall amount raised over the past 10 years. From 2011 to 2020, the companies mobilized $1.06 billion.

The $1.44 billion does not even include the 23 undisclosed transactions made over the period. In total, at least 196 investors have backed the operation, in 71 deals registered through September 9, 2021. Investment firm Leapfrog alone received $500 million from Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek for fintech investments in Africa. Wave, a mobile money provider active in Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire, raised $200 million and Nigerian OPay attracted $400 million.

In Africa where traditional financial services (banking and microfinance) have not been able to dominate the market through a physical presence, fintechs are changing the trend, either through partnerships or more autonomous solutions. The coronavirus pandemic has also highlighted the need for e-payment solutions on the continent, especially in large economies such as Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, and Côte d'Ivoire.

However, the fintech sector, especially companies offering payment solutions, is being challenged by the mobile money service, supported by existing regulation and strong capital from mobile operators such as MTN, Orange, Safaricom (Kenya), Airtel Africa, and banks that have launched their own mobile financial transaction solutions.

The digital payments market in Africa remains large and is growing strongly. In the WAEMU, the value of transactions via mobile increased from CFA7,415 billion in 2019, to CFA28,738 billion at the end of 2019, according to official data.

Source: Ecofin Agency