The Alliance of Digital Finance Associations were delighted to host AfricaNenda, the Association of Digital Finance Practitioners of Zambia, Association of Digital Finance Practitioners Nigeria, and Digital Financial Practitioners Association of Kenya, to discuss the acceptance, use and challenges with digital payments.

We used research conducted by AfricaNenda as a basis for our conversation. The research involved extensive in-country qualitative and quantitative research covering low-income adult individuals and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) across seven countries: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zambia.

We looked at the key consumer behaviour trends, users of digital payments, and the payment methods are used, and for which purposes, as well as the barriers to the usage of digital payments across these countries. Findings unveiled that, in one instance, drivers of the user journey experience were convenience, mobility, less risk, and relative affordability compared to cash alternatives while barriers were that cross-provider payments do not confirm beneficiary details and there are often network connectivity issues, which can interrupt a transaction and affect consumer trust.

Challenges for driving instant payments include infrastructure, the role of regulators and the risk of fraud. Finding ways to make digital payments part of daily life is key for driving adoption, and transport payments could be a potential method to achieving this. Other considerations are the technology and product design, many still do not have smartphones and have lower digital literacy. Adoption of USSD has been found to be relatively successful in Nigeria and we should not overlook its value.

These findings revealed new possibilities to catalyse access and use of digital payments across these African markets, and that a variety of actors and interventions are needed. We were also reminded of the similarities between the countries and the need to learn and collaborate.

Thanks to our panelists Jacqueline Jumah, Director, Advocacy and Capacity Development at AfricaNenda; Rhys Sengani Phiri, Innovation and Technology Lead at Association of Digital Finance Practitioners of Zambia; Abubakar Shehu, President of the Lagos Chapter of the Association of Digital Finance Practitioners Nigeria; and Abigail Komu, Vice Chair of Digital Financial Practitioners Association of Kenya; and to our moderator, Sarah Corley, CEO of Alliance DFA.