Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

Financial Service Providers (FSPs) in Africa continue to operate in dynamic and changing environments. They are partnering and competing with newtechnology disruptors, seeking new segments and developing new products in uncertain regulatory environments.

FSPs in Africa need to overhaul their business models and adapt their operations better to an increasingly cost-competitive environment. Our 2019 report reveals that they have identified the low-income market as increasingly viable, responding with new accounts, products and fee structures. But their efforts to win new customers too often fail to appeal, or accounts lapse into dormancy. Mobile is now the channel of choice for reaching the unbanked, and their cost-conscious customers shun fees.

FSPs seem to struggle with taking a customer centric approach, as we concluded in the firstedition of this Scale2Save report on savings and retail banking in Africa released in early 2019. Second, business models may be out of synch with the wave of digitisation sweeping over banking both in Africa and around the globe. They may lack in-house know-how, which may require them to build partnerships with other banks, FinTechs or even BigTechs.

If FSPs in Africa are to serve 21st century, institutions can frame their role and product offer through four main lenses: Usability, Affordability, Accessibility, and
Sustainability. Balancing all four will help FSPs address the need for services that people want that keeps in mind demographic factors, educational levels, geographic situation and data-driven technology. Costs and long-term outlook matter too. Service design, piloting and ramp-up phases in Africa, like anywhere, require strong in-house management. In this report, we expand the scope of financial institutions surveyed, going beyond the WSBI membership footprint. This approach better reflects the landscape of African banking, which serves a vast and swelling African population set to reach 4 billion by century’s end. The 2019 report draws from richer data, folds in case studies that highlight innovation, partnerships and listening to people’s needs on the ground, thinking differently about how to serve customers all while keeping costs in check and return on effort reasonable.

Savings and Retail Banking in Africa Results from 2019 WSBI survey