How mobile money is supporting merchants in emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa – IT news Africa

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As the world continues to face the challenges of the pandemic, it is emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa that have faced the greatest challenges.

According to the World Bank, sub-Saharan Africa has been hit hardest by the economic impact of COVID-19, with an estimated 23 million people in the region expected to fall into poverty as a result of the pandemic.

SMEs need support in the face of challenges caused by COVID-19

Although some sectors in the region have accelerated their adoption of digital technology throughout the pandemic, such as the financial and retail sectors in South Africa, many other sectors of the economy, especially the micro and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), have struggled to meet the challenges of COVID-19.

With SMEs accounting for around 90% of all businesses in sub-Saharan Africa, it is vitally important that SMEs are supported not only to cope with the difficult economic conditions of the pandemic, but that they are also supported to transform business. digital and digital payments to their advantage, so that they are better prepared to grow in the future.

Although it is primarily seen as a challenge, accelerating digital commerce and payments also represents a great opportunity.

Digital payments on the rise

Consumers in the region have shown a strong preference for digital payments, for convenience, to avoid the physical contact of paying cash, or to avoid physical visits to crowded stores, due to the pandemic. This digital trend is set to continue, but for small businesses in the region, adapting to this new digital world is not always easy.

Small businesses in South Africa do not necessarily have access to the IT expertise to implement digital solutions, training staff in the use of the systems can be difficult and cost can be a barrier to success. Entrance.

Despite these obstacles, giving SMEs access to digital solutions is vital for economic recovery and growth in emerging markets.

Ensuring that local businesses, which create local jobs and opportunities, are able to compete and participate in this digital transformation is a major concern for governments and businesses, including Visa.

The potential of technology to reach communities in emerging markets, create economic inclusion and improve livelihoods has already been well demonstrated in areas such as mobile money. Mobile banking and payment solutions have brought financial services to millions of underserved consumers in emerging markets, and their potential for positive change continues to grow.

Visa partners with the Paga mobile payment platform

Visa understands the importance of helping small businesses join the digital economy and the potential of mobile phones to achieve this ambition.

That’s why she has partnered with the mobile payment platform Paga, to pilot an app that will serve as a solution to help small business owners digitize their business, including payments, point of sale and access. on credit, via a mobile device.

To have maximum adoption and impact, Visa and Paga knew the product had to be merchant-centric and match the needs of the intended users.

For this reason, it has been developed with input and consultation from emerging market traders and focuses on an affordable, fast and intuitive setup, and based on devices and applications that will be reliable and without latency or downtime. .

As part of the offer, merchants will be able to purchase a smartphone in installments, making it affordable to purchase a device configured with secure acceptance of Visa payments and Paga’s merchant tools.

Through the app, traders will be able to develop their credit history and receive microloans and ultimately work on their capital to grow their businesses.

The application will provide a range of services and products. For merchants looking to streamline their internal processes and operations, it will provide the ability to track their sales and transaction history, receive and make payments, download digital receipts as well as card control and cash tracking.

Employees can be set up with their own accounts and permissions so that the owner and their staff can all use the tools for their roles. To meet consumer preferences, payments can be accepted through several means, including card payment, NFC tap, QR codes, and payment links.

The product has been designed to grow with the business, with a modular design that will allow new functionality to be added in the future.

Mobile payments here to stay

Business owners and consumers alike know mobile payments are here to stay, and Visa and Paga are empowering merchants to deliver the services their customers want and helping them take their first steps on their business journey. digital for future growth. and prosperity.

Over the next several years, Visa says it should see even faster changes in the payments landscape, and its emerging markets should be at the forefront of transforming that payment.

By Tad Tilahun, Senior Vice President, Head of Products and Solutions for Central Europe, Middle East and Africa at Visa.

Edited by Luis Monzon
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