With consumer spending expected to reach $2.1 trillion and the urban population expected to swell by 190 million people by 2025, Africa's retail sector is poised for explosive growth.
But, says Mark Schech, Executive for Africa at Innervation PAN African Payment Solutions, a combination of strong local partnerships and effective use of technology will be key to the sector unlocking its latent potential. "Formal retail is expected to grow by 5% per annum over the next few years, partly supported by a swelling African middle class and the expansion of strong global retail brands across the continent. Retailers' ability to leverage more sophisticated analytics and payments technology will be crucial in supporting the growth of a vibrant consumer market."
Innervation PAN African Payment Solutions forms part of Crossfin Apis Transactions Solutions (Cats), a new operating company recently established by African fintech holding company Crossfin and global private equity firm Apis Partners. The company strives to deliver relevant, innovative payment solutions across Africa by leveraging its extensive product offering and decades-long experience.
"The electronification of the African payments ecosystem enables Innervation to provide retailers with opportunities to employ advanced technologies to improve their pricing strategies, build stronger customer relationships, develop more accurate and individualised rewards and incentives, and ultimately become more profitable," says Schech. "Consumers benefit through greater convenience, expanded opportunities for cost-savings or individualised rewards, and exposure to a greater ecosystem of value-adding partners."
He adds that Innervation has just concluded an agreement with Namibia's largest retailer. "While there is a tendency for global companies to try to disrupt local payment and retail ecosystems in underdeveloped consumer markets such as is prevalent across much of Africa, we believe it’s far more effective to leverage the capabilities of established local banks, retailers, and point-of-sale vendors for seamless and rapid market entry," says Schech. “Innervation is currently the only payments business in Namibia with the ability to provide value-added services via all of the country’s major acquiring banks.”
In Namibia, Innervation partnered with Baobab Capital, a private equity firm that will enable the company to execute its strategy locally and pursue other growth opportunities across Southern Africa. "Our approach of setting up fully-localised in-country businesses, sourcing local support and investment partners, employing and training local staff and equipping them to run the local business has enabled us to rapidly expand our payments acceptance footprint across Africa and become the preferred and dominant payments provider across the continent. This further lays a strong foundation for associated companies to deliver additional value-add services to retailers and consumers across the continent."
ABOUT INNERVATION PAN AFRICAN PAYMENT SOLUTIONS
Innervation supports retailers in Africa with integrated EFT payments, reconciliation, mobile push and pull payments, commodity value-added services, loyalty, gift cards, corporate rewards and incentive programs, terminal rental, account management, customer insights, and the issuing of open and closed-loop card programs. The company is fully operational in Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa, while its current banking and channel relationships provide access to 17 countries. For more information, please visit www.innervation.co.za