Financial inclusion is one of the most important topics of the era. Providing unbanked individuals access to basic financial services, such as savings and loans, materially helps their lives and enables growth opportunities for businesses and the economy. To that end, Trulioo is excited to extend its identity verification capabilities in Africa with the addition of Nigeria and Ghana.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with over 190 million people, and is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy. Ghana is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, with a 2018 growth rate projected between 8.3 and 8.9 percent. Trulioo COO Zac Cohen stated, “Extending our verification capabilities to two highly populated African countries will help bring many underbanked residents into the digital economy and enable financial institutions to safely and accurately know who they’re doing business with.”
Fintech is developing quickly in Africa and has astounding opportunities to leapfrog ponderous traditional systems and drive growth. November saw $360 million invested into the Nigerian payments industry. Jack Dorsey, Twitter and Square CEO, recently tweeted that “Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!).” With access to internet ever-increasing and an estimate of over 525 million smart phones in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020, “the unbanked in Africa could be one of the biggest opportunities in fintech history,” as one writer for Plug and Play puts it.
A lack of ID documentation was the primary barrier to access of financial services, cited by 26 percent of unbanked individuals in low-income countries. According to Cohen, “financial institutions are reluctant to do business with citizens who lack a verified digital identity, as it can put them at risk of compliance violations, which in turn constricts citizens’ connection to the global economy.” Improving identity verification helps individuals get into the structural financial system, helping them save money safely, start building credit and even out cash flow to better handle emergencies.
Enabling new markets
For organizations looking to scale their global operations, seamless identity verification helps remove barriers to expanding into these markets. Payment channels become more trustworthy and risk-mitigation measures are improved. With better access to credit, consumers and businesses in those countries are able to purchase the goods and services to improve their livelihood. With additional wealth creation opportunities, the local economy benefits by helping others climb the financial ladder, fueling even more opportunities. For those companies that come alongside to support those opportunities, the whole African continent becomes a path to wealth creation.
As Cohen pointed out, “while many African countries have made great strides in their national digital identity programs, far too many of the continent’s residents face barriers when attempting to access financial services.” Helping removing these barriers is a core tenet for Trulioo, and we look forward to continuing to expand in Africa, improving financial inclusion and helping grow the massive opportunities the continent offers.