Banking : digitalization, an essential lever for financial inclusion

The "African Banking Digital Transformation" report, a collaboration between African Banker and Backbase, reveals the profound digital changes in the African banking sector. With a growing population and massive smartphone usage, digitalization appears as a crucial lever for financial inclusion.

By the editorial staff

The « African Banking Digital Transformation » report, produced by the pan-African publication African Banker and Backbase, creators of the Engagement Banking platform, has become an essential reference for understanding the digital revolution sweeping through the African banking sector. This report provides an in-depth analysis of ongoing digital transformation, highlighting key trends and innovations redefining the financial landscape across the continent.

Africa, with a growing population estimated at 2.49 billion by 2050 and a spectacular increase in digital devices such as smartphones and tablets (mobile phones now account for 75% of web traffic in Africa), stands on the brink of a digital banking explosion. The benefits of this transition include speed, convenience, and better use of user data, allowing banks to offer more personalized solutions to their clients. In 2021, 55.07% of the African population owned a bank or mobile money account, compared to 23.33% in 2011.

A strategic priority for banks

The 2024 edition of the report reveals that 76% of banks consider digital transformation as their top priority or among their top three priorities, while the remaining 24% also view it as important. With almost half of the continent’s population lacking access to a bank account, including approximately 60% of women, this strategic focus reflects a significant opportunity for banks to expand their customer base through an inclusive digital offering.

I really see AI as a game-changer, both internally and externally


Nvalaye Kourouma, Chief Digital Officer of the Ecobank Group, interviewed for the report, states: “I really see AI as a game-changer, both internally and externally” because AI-powered tools help overcome language barriers for engaging customers in different countries. “We now have the capability to build local natural languages into our AI interactions so that language and writing are no longer barriers. Speech and image can be used to communicate more effectively. AI opens the door for a different level of engagement with our customers, so it’s encouraging,” he added.

Promoting technological advances and financial inclusion in Africa

The 2024 edition of the report is based on comprehensive survey data from more than 150 banks across 35 countries, providing a detailed analysis of current digital banking trends, key innovations, and progress in digital transformation. This publication underscores Backbase’s commitment, as a leader in providing digital banking solutions, to helping financial institutions offer exceptional customer experiences through their Engagement Banking platform, to fostering technological advancements, and promoting financial inclusion in Africa.

The African Banking Digital Transformation Report was launched at GITEX Africa 2024, which took place from May 29 to 31 in Marrakech, Morocco.

To consult the report

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