Blueprint for e-payments in Africa

The Project at A Glance

Intra-African trade in general and e-commerce specifically is on the rise and is expected to deliver immense benefits to African livelihoods and the overall economy.
Under the project “Pan-African e-Commerce Initiative – Boosting African Digital Trade in Africa N.A.” (PeCI), International Economics produced a Blueprint for e-payments for the facilitation of digital trade across Africa, that will serve as a guiding document to promote the sustainable development and use of e-payments in Africa based on an extensive multi-stakeholder consultation process.

What We Found

The Blueprint for e-payments is an initiative of the Smart Africa Alliance which brings together key public and private stakeholders from across the continent and within the digital trade and finance landscape.
The Blueprint aims to:

  • Outline the most relevant opportunities and challenges of the development and use of e-payments for the facilitation of digital trade across Africa and how to address them; and
  • Make concrete policy recommendations to harness the potential and mitigate potential risks associated with the adoption of e-payments in African countries.

The Blueprint has been crafted on the basis of the pre-developed concept note “e-Payments for the facilitation of digital trade across Africa” by the SAA. It is further guided by other strategic documents, among others, the Agenda 2063, the Agenda 2030, the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (2020-2030). Throughout the development phase of the Blueprint, a collaborative approach with Smart Africa Secretariat and the Working Group members was adopted.

Our Strategy and Impact

Africa’s digital payments landscape is rapidly evolving but are hampered by inefficiencies arising from the inherent complexity and inflexibility of the sector. Cross-border payments to and within Africa have been noted to cost more than to any other region in the world. In the context of improving financial inclusion, recommendations in the Blueprint include:

  1. Providing incentives for Payment Service Providers to offer unique advantages to compete with informal remittance channels and addressing gaps in access and usage;
  2. Empowering women, youth and SME’s by smoothening their entry and operational barriers;
  3. Tailoring platforms and products/services for usage in rural and underdeveloped settings to bridge the geographical exclusion;
  4. Deploying easily accessible innovative payment options; and
  5. Promoting the adoption of a good practices
    framework, for consideration in the policy-making and service design in the move from cash to digital payments.

On the basis of the challenges and recommendations, a roadmap has been formulated that lays out the out the recommended prioritised strategic interventions for an institutional framework to ensure regional cooperation and an M&E plan to monitor the Blueprint implementation and expected outcomes.

Our Core Solutions

E-payments are fundamental to the full-fledged digitalised development of e-commerce. To drive forward continental trade and digital commerce, it is important for countries to address the major challenges faced in making intracontinental cross-border e-payments. At International Economics, we can help governments and businesses worldwide to map out market access opportunities, assess e-payment solutions, and formulate/implement applicable strategy.

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