Is the market big enough for African fintechs?
Innovation diffusion curve, Stears

Last week, I went through the onboarding process for six African fintech apps.

Why? I needed to send money from Nigeria to Uganda, and I learned a thing or two. 

First, I'm not an early adopter. Try as I might, the uncertainty surrounding whether a new application or software will meet a job to be done is nerve-racking and simply uncomfortable. Second, sending money to Uganda is not as easy as I expected. With a growing number of applications offering cross-border transfers in Africa, I expected something as easy as a 1, 2 step. 

Key takeaways: 

  • The whole market does not adopt innovations at the same time. Instead, we embrace them over a period, and different adopter categories do so at varying times, based on their willingness and ability to try new ideas.

  • Nigeria is still in the early adoption phase for digital payments, with 22% of respondents surveyed by the Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) programme reporting they were aware of mobile money and 4% stating they had used it.

  • It is possible that there aren't enough users for fintech products because of the market size. So, it might be more realistic to anticipate longer payback periods in African markets. The current market size, uncertainty operators are frequently challenged with, should provide reservations to entrepreneurs and investors alike on time required to secure their investment returns.


Admittedly, I may have complicated the process by conducting my due diligence on each application. For this, I needed at least one recommendation from my network and the ability to directly contact an employee at the company to help resolve any issues that came up—and no, the regular customer success email or number did not suffice. 

Finally, if you want to send money to Uganda, Eversend is not a bad option. You might

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Abdul Abdulrahim

Abdul Abdulrahim

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