The initiative will target small businesses and will also serve most unserviced consumers, including displaced persons and refugees without official documents or identity documents.
The agreement, announced last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is in line with the 2030 Global Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union's Agenda 2063 (Agenda 2063). ECA stated that this agreement will help more people benefit from the recently signed Free Trade Area of the African continent (AfCFTA). AfCFTA is the largest free trade agreement signed since the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
"We are considering which platforms to integrate to ensure that not only large companies can take advantage of AfCFTAs, but also small and medium-sized enterprises," (Vera Songwe), ECA's executive secretary, said in a statement announcing the ant agreement.
Ant Financial looks at the African continent and hopes to replicate its great success in countries such as China, India and the Philippines. The company, which was spun off from Alibaba, operates Alipay, one of the world's largest online payment platforms. Ant Financial is now valued at $150 billion, exceeding the market value of Goldman Sachs' $88 billion. In an era of increasing cashlessness, the company plays an important role in changing the financial technology industry. In June of this year, it launched a cross-border remittance service driven by blockchain technology, thereby expanding its business to the global remittance market.
With 1.2 billion people in Africa and a total GDP of more than 2 trillion US dollars, Ant Financial can be said to have access to a new market that is often ignored. Although Asian fintech start-ups are becoming more attractive to investors, in the formal financial services sector, a large number of low- and middle-income groups still do not have access to services. Traditional banking institutions face many challenges in this regard, including high-cost models, unaffordable expenses for low-income groups, high preference for cash transactions in digital transactions, and a tendency to implement cooperative models.
However, the popularity of mobile wallet services has alleviated this problem to some extent. Telecom operators embrace innovative practices that allow customers to pay for not only the daily expenses of utilities, but also loans, insurance and deposits.
The move of ants into Africa also echoed Ma’s vision. Ma Yun visited Africa for the first time last year and traveled to Kenya and Rwanda to find investment opportunities and partners to support local entrepreneurs. Last week, he visited the African continent again, this time he launched a $10 million African innovation fund in South Africa.
Before Ant Financial entered Africa, a large number of Chinese companies were operating locally to find business opportunities. Last year, Alipay announced that it will be online in South Africa to serve Chinese tourists visiting South Africa.
Behind these business developments, the political and economic relationship between China and Africa has been strengthened. In addition to technical assistance, military cooperation, and training for the next generation of African elites, the diplomatic relations between the two sides have become increasingly close, and investments in much-needed infrastructure and trade zones have increased. (Lebang)access: