Over the years, the financial sector has evolved and introduced what we now know as fintech – which is simply the application of digital technology to financial services and products. The evolution has been vast, ranging from mobile banking to payment processors, online investment and savings platform, loans and many more. The technologies are endless and it is believed that this is only the beginning.
According to Goldman Sachs, fintech is set to disrupt over 4.7 billion dollars in global financial sector revenue. Fintech is the change that the financial sector has been waiting for but more innovations are set to disrupt already existing companies and the only way to stand out is to keep track of the incoming trends.
We have already seen the start of this with the likes of Prospa, a startup that is changing the way businesses bank by eliminating the need to visit brick and mortar banks, providing free transaction, free delivery of ATM cards, convenient invoice management, quick balance review features, and real-time analytics, all in all, providing better customer experience virtually. Thanks to digital banks, visits to brick and mortar banks are set to drop by almost 40% in 2022.
The financial sector is poised to depend more on AI to process and handle large transactions. Take the banking industry, for example, AI is projected to reduce its operating costs by 22%, this means saving almost a trillion dollars. AI is already being used by several institutions to enhance customer service e.g Leo by UBA. Its ability to work with unstructured data will make for easy dealing of cyber crimes and financial frauds.
Digital wallets, mobile and cashless payments will drive the financial sector in terms of payments. In 2019, there were about 2.1 billion mobile wallet users. Add the use of blockchain to the mix and there is no telling how widely disrupted the sector will be. The main drivers of the disruption will be Generation X.
China takes the lead
China is an overwhelming leader in almost all fintech categories; from payment to lending to wealth management. With over 800 million internet users, 98% of whom are using mobile, it is no surprise that this is the prime area for fintech to thrive. China also has a high rate of investment than the rest of the world, this is equally an added factor. At this point, China is an exemplary leader and the best case study for how the fintech revolution is growing and evolving.
Thanks to blockchain technology, we have what is called smart contracts. Basically smart contracts are a way to digitize contracts that would normally require the services of lawyers and tedious processes. In smart contracts, parties sign a smart contact using cryptographic keys as a digital signature. Instead of paper, the contracts are encoded in computer language. Thanks to blockchain the codes cannot be tampered or altered. All devices that get the first digital copy of the contract will serve as witnesses and these devices would all see to the execution of the contract and fulfilment of all terms.
South Africa Unions Reject Government Plan to Review Pay
The South African labour unions have rejected a government proposal to review planned increases for civil servants days before they were due to be implemented.
The Public Servants Association, which represents 230,000 government workers, says the state has asked to review the last leg of a three-year pay agreement because it couldn’t afford it.
The Public Servants Association says the timing of the proposal, a few days before the adjustments were due to be implemented, speaks of a government that regards public servants as an easy target to resolve its financial woes.
The Central Executive Committee of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the country’s biggest labor federation, says if the proposal made its way into the budget speech it will be seen as a declaration of war.
South Africa Raises $1.1 Billion Bailout for Ailing Airways
South Africa has almost doubled its funding for the national airline to 16.4 billion rand ($1.1 billion), cash which will go towards supporting a restructuring plan for the almost insolvent carrier.
The bailout will be used to service and pay debt previously guaranteed by the state over the “medium term,” according to the country’s Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni.
This amount compares with 9.2 billion rand earmarked for South African Airways in October.
SAA has been a drain on the National Treasury for several years racking up losses of more than R32 billion over the past decade.
Late last year, the government placed the airline on a local form of bankruptcy protection, and administrators have set about reducing costs by closing routes and considering asset sale.
However, the Finance Minister has often stated his reluctance to support SAA while faced with bigger problems such as the $30 billion of debt owed by state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings.
In addition to Treasury funds, SAA was last month, given access to R3.5 billion from the state-owned Development Bank of Southern Africa.
South Africa to Establish $2 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund
South Africa has announced that it will use money from the sale of broadband spectrum and mining royalties to establish a 30 billion-rand ($2 billion) sovereign wealth fund, according to the country’s Finance Minister,Tito Mboweni.
Its establishment was first mooted at least 10 years ago.
The proposed fund comes at a time when Africa’s most industrialised economy is struggling to contain rising debt amid sluggish economic growth and a budget deficit projected to widen to a near three-decade high of 6.8% in the coming fiscal year.
Mboweni says the legislative framework for the fund will be submitted to the parliament.
Funding will come from the government’s plans to sell broadband spectrum this year, along with royalties from petroleum, gas and mineral rights, as well as the sale of non-core assets, future surpluses and savings.
The government is also pressing ahead with plans to form a state bank that will operate as a retail financial institution premised on commercial principles, he said.
However, the Reserve Bank is yet to grant the proposed lender an operating license.