Peer to peer lending in Africa. South Africa and Kenya are the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world. As per 2015 research statistics, 88% of Africans didn’t have a bank account, but they did have smartphones. In 2015, 183 million people in Africa had a mobile wallet. That was 3 times the number of digital wallet users in the U.S. and expanding at 3 times the annual growth rate. If this trajectory continues, every African will have a mobile wallet by 2020. Numbers here clearly suggest that fintech startups have a huge opportunity staring at them.

Growth of P2P lending in Africa

As per the Africa and Middle East Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report, Kenya and South Africa are leading the P2P business lending market in Africa. But a noteworthy point here is that 90% of online alternative lending originated from platforms headquartered outside of Africa.

The third largest alt-lending model in Africa was P2P business lending, which experienced astronomical growth from a modest $2 million in 2014 to $14 million in 2015. In 2018, Kenya and South Africa were the market leaders, garnering $86.7 million and 715 million, respectively.

The East Africa region has the largest market share of the African alternative finance market. In 2015, East Africa accounted for 41% of total African market share, while West Africa accounted for 24% and Southern Africa accounted for 19%.

Since the market is still in a nascent stage, there has been no regulatory policy for the alternative finance industry. But positive efforts have been made in recent times to develop a regulatory ecosystem that will help in developing this budding industry in the region.

Africa is not a homogeneous market. It is imperative for alternative lending startups to understand the different cultural nuances so they can develop products that have utility. As the region continues its socioeconomic upliftment, more people will need access to financial services. This makes Africa an exciting market for alternative lending in years to come. The majority of the African population is underserved and unserved when it comes to banking services. Therefore, a new crop of fintech startups are thriving in Africa by developing innovative products to accommodate the needs of the community.

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