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Facebook Starts Exploring Africa Mobile Payment Market

2019-03-21 11:19 Thursday

Facebook is talking with financial institutions in Africa of possible mobile payment collaboration. Says Carolyn Everson, a vice-president at the social networking group.


In 2018, Facebook launched the world's first chat-banking service in its messaging platform WhatsApp. The service lets customers make peer-to-peer payments or pay utility bills.

"It's gone really well with customers," Jason Quinn, Absa's group financial director said. Facebook also claimed that it would consider other similar products following this break-through service:"we're definitely interested in helping facilitate payments,and we're having those initial conversations with some of the larger financial services companies."

Facebook estimated that venture-capital funding in Africa is currently worth about $1bn a year, with 40% of that going into fintech.

"Mobile money is arguably one of the most exciting opportunities, given the number of unbanked citizens on the continent. We're also seeing that the telco and fintech industries are starting to blend – more here in Africa than anywhere else in the world," said a spokesman in Facebook.

By the end of 2019, MTN plans to have mobile money services in 18 of its 21 markets, including in SA and Nigeria. In Nigeria alone, the "addressable unbanked adult population" is between 40-million and 60-million people, MTN CEO Rob Shuter said.

Facebook saw "tremendous potential" in Africa, partly thanks to the continent's youthful population and its growing start-up segment. "We're very optimistic and excited about what we see here. It will take many years, but we're committed and we're continuing to invest." Facebook claimed.

In Kenya, Facebook is building a content-review centre in partnership with San Francisco-based Samasource, to help it stamp out offensive content. Spokesman in Facebook said: "we will have about 100 content reviewers in Kenya to start us off, but I fully expect that to grow over time. This is the start of our local investment here on the continent."

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