87% Financial Inclusion in the Country Has Been the Result of Mobile Money Services

By Ntokozo Nkambule

There is a major opportunity for Fintech players in the country, particularly in coming up with use cases of digital financial services.

The ‘Eswatini Fintech Landscape Report 2023’ compiled by the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) has revealed that the country’s 87% financial inclusion has been largely driven by mobile money market services.

The Eswatini FinTech landscape is the result of a collaborative effort between the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE), the Eswatini FinTech Working Group (EFWG), the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), and Olayinka David-West Consulting.

The landscape report provides a comprehensive overview of the current state and future potential of FinTech in Eswatini. It covers key aspects such as market demand, supply-side dynamics, the regulatory framework, infrastructure readiness, and ecosystem enablers.

The report has unearthed that the ecosystem lacks product diversity across the FinTech verticals and market enablers.

It states that the advancement of products requires FinTech innovations across other verticals like e-commerce, transportation, and agriculture.

“Cross-border person-to-person (P2P) payments are an additional opportunity to leverage the EmaSwati population repatriating funds. Developing such use cases will provide more desirable network effects.”

The report notes that one of the challenges is that the competition in the space is quite limited.

“The competitive forces are limited. The sparseness of ecosystem actors limits competition which is more prevalent in the digital payments sub-sector, where new entrants struggle with limited partnership opportunities with legacy players, limiting market entry.”

The report notes that as much as the rate of financial inclusion must be applauded there is still much to be done, as this has not yet translated to uses of digital services.

“Financial inclusion is high, yet the use of digital financial services is low. Developing innovation capacity should be exploited. Amidst high unemployment numbers, Eswatini has a large youth population and needs to convert these resources into productive capacity through interventions like accelerators and hubs.”

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