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News From Africa

New Trends in Payments – Interview with Michael Avery

102.7 FM Hot Business host Michael Avery will be interviewing EFSA Chair, Karen Nadasen, Board member Andrew Ma, BankServ Africa expert Ruhling Herbst, and myself on Tuesday 7 June at 13.30 – 14.00 on new payment solutions. Do join us!

As an example of the issues surrounding cross-border payments in Africa, we thought this was a good case study: – since Airbnb launched in 2008, it has taken the travel industry by storm. More than a decade later, the company has 6 million active listings worldwide in more than 200 countries. But one region it has yet to crack is Africa. This is not due to a lack of demand or supply, but because guests and hosts on Airbnb are unable to use mobile money. They need a Visa or Master Card or bank EFT to pay. If the guest is a foreign tourist or businessperson banking EFTs are costly and, in some cases, require approval for cross-border payment.

Africa moves steadily closer to mobile money solutions for everyone (and this Newsletter has reported many times on the rapid growth of mobile money throughout the continent – see below), but Airbnb is losing customers because it has not negotiated mobile money payments in most countries for several different reasons.


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