Why aren’t Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook adopting Mobile Payments in Sub-Sahara Africa?


Why aren’t Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook adopting Mobile Payments in Sub-Sahara Africa?

The Sub-Saharan mobile payment ecosystem is booming, with over 64 million mobile wallets (World Bank report). Majority of mobile payments are micro, used for payment of local services, however, a revolution is occurring on the international scene.

Mobile payments for services such as digital content are now being adopted on some international sites as a payment option geared towards Sub-Sahara consumers, who now use mobile wallets in place of card payments. Thanks to innovative and collaborative work of a few forward thinking companies, such as BBM, SmartVOD, Talk360, WhoTrades and others coming on board.

More international players like Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, need to adopt the mobile wallet payment option in Sub-Sahara Africa in order to tap into the huge 1 billion plus consumer base. A typical day in the African mobile wallet payment space; location: Nigeria; bought airtime, bought bandwidth, paid bills, bought VOIP for long distant calls, bought stickers on an app store, subscribed to international Video on Demand content;  I am an average African consumer, within the highest demographic, now that’s amazing, and this is not fiction!  Bring me more content, a typical cry of millions of young savvy African content hungry consumers across the continent.

In contrast, tried to buy an APP with a card, DENIED! Tried to buy an educational e-book, DENIED! Tried to buy an e-Gift card, DENIED! Tried to buy gaming tokens DENIED!  “This service is not available in your region” (Miserable day). This is a very typical experience across Sub-Sahara Africa. This however, begs the question, why are Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google not playing in this space? These brands have huge followings in the Sub-Sahara region, however, consumers are let down by the lack of enablement on the m-commerce front and payment option capabilities. This very surprising when Sub-Sahara Africa still accounts for the majority of live mobile payment services globally, estimated at (53%) according to a GMSA report.

Sub-Sahara Africa mobile payments is no longer just a payment option for unbanked, but is emerging to a de-facto payment option for goods and services across borders. Most developed parts of the world use mobile wallet payments for convenience, Africa being a “mobile first” region uses it as a standard tool of choice. Therefore, rapid adoption of Mobile payments in Sub-Sahara markets will be the main driving force of m-commerce growth.

Mobile payments will be a strategic business enabler for international brands wanting to expand into the Sub-Saharan markets.

This article is from Vol.1 - Issue 6 of the Payments & Cards eMagazine (PCM), you can view the full issue here.

About MMIT

MMIT, Mobile Media Info Tech, is a mobile payment processor with a mission to revolutionize the mobile payment process.

MMIT focuses on the Sub-Sahara Africa market and partners with financial institutions and international merchants to provide value added services to mobile wallet providers and users. Please visit MMIT at www.mmitonline.com

Meet Jide Akindele 

Jide Akindele, Founder, MMIT (Mobile Media Info Tech)

Jide is a visionary entrepreneur with a deep and wide knowledge of technologies based in the mobile money and payment transaction space.   Mr. Akindele has held various directorship positions for companies in West Africa and has worked in USA, Nigeria and the UK since 2007.