Bluecode Africa shows the way to financial inclusion

By Winstone Antonio

FINANCIAL technologies (fintech) firm Bluecode Africa is planning on making waves at the world’s premier financial services event, dubbed Sibos 2019, set to take place in London, the United Kingdom, from September 23 to 26.

A Bluecode payment is made by mobile handset-to-handset, handset-to-point-of-sale or any other standard mobile static or dynamic medium, push or pull, including e-commerce and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data — all with no plastic or card scheme.

Over 9 000 business leaders, decision-makers and topic experts, 600 speakers and more than 100 fintechs will focus on shaping the future of the financial world.

Bluecode Africa director Murray Gardiner said the company would be exhibiting at the Africa Pavilion together with Bankserv and other leading financial players, where they will be educating delegates on how the world will make payments in a way that is secure, practical and does not need expensive technology and infrastructure to work.

Gardiner said in sub-Saharan Africa, mobile money accounts now surpass traditional bank accounts, as African countries leapfrog legacy systems established in Western markets.

‘It’s a good news story, but there’s a catch. African financial institutions, which have nurtured clients and developed products suited to local conditions over decades, now face the prospect of disintermediation by fintech and bigtech whose interests are aligned with foreign shareholders, not local financial markets and financial institutions,” he said in a statement.

Gardiner said hundreds of fintech start-ups have launched in Africa, most on the theme of financial inclusion and were targeting consumer transactional banking, consumer micro-credit and ultimately data harvesting.

“Many are leveraging off foreign card schemes. The endgame is harvesting and mining transactional data and disintermediation of the customer from the bank.
African nations have invested 60+ years developing local financial markets to support local economic development. Banks need to get ahead of this trend,” he said.

“The disruption could undermine the delivery of more diverse financial services to MSMEs [micro-, small and medium enterprises] for artisans, farmers and traders that are the engine for wealth creation and jobs.”

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