The Need For Mobile Money Spawns A Startup Ecosystem Across Africa

While the developed world is scratching its head, working out how to break the middle-class’s credit card habit in an attempt to introduce contactless payments, there is no doubt that serving the emerging middle class in Africa is a mobile money play.


Editor’s Note: Vanessa Clark is the co-founder of Mobiflock, a mobile safety and security company offering parental control services for smartphones and tablets. She is involved in the mobile industry in Africa. Follow her on Twitter.

Zimbabwean Tawanda Kembo, 25, has been employed for more than two years but still doesn’t qualify for a credit card. This is the result of banking restrictions on issuing credit cards, he says, and around 70 percent of his fellow Zimbabweans are in the same boat. This is not unusual across the entire African continent, which has a similar unbanked or underbanked rate, according to the World Bank.

Kembo’s issue with not having a credit card is not about having access to credit or the convenience of having more than one way to pay for something. Nor is it about the increased security of being cash-free: mobile money has…

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