Updated: Feb 17
According to the Global Findex report, there at least 737 million unbanked persons living in sub-Saharan Africa, majority of whom live in remote areas. It's easy to understand why this phenomenon exists.
An average commercial bank needs electrical power, internet and telecommunication services, and other infrastructure to carry out daily financial operations. However, access to these infrastructure remain a big issue in many African cities, talk less of rural areas. Therefore, it would create a much higher cost (with little or no profit due to the customer base) for banks to set up operations in many remote areas.
Nonetheless, mobile phones are helping to bridge the financial access gap. A GSMA report confirms that there are at least 250 million mobile phone users in Africa, allowing banks to take advantage of the mobile banking using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD). Thanks to USSD [any of the many codes you dial on your cell phone that begins with a * and ends with an #], access to banking and other financial services in Africa is rapidly changing and reaching more unbanked persons.
The remarkable thing about the USSD technology is that it neither requires data nor sophisticated smartphones. Any phone will do. Plus, USSD banking has availed such an opportunity for banking across shores.
Article Credit: Michael Adesanya