AFRICA- The African Fintech sector has been rapidly expanding over the last two years as investors seek to have a share of the thriving digital revolution.
According to a Forbes report on Africa’s Fintech ecosystem, the continent’s Fintech firms have over the last two years grown from 301 to 491.
This represents a 60 percent growth in the number of fintech firms operating in the continent during the period under review.
The report also revealed that the sector was able to raise US$132.8 million in capital funds, further demonstrating the attractiveness of the venture to investors
Analysts at Forbes argue that the fintech revolution being experienced in Africa is buoyed by the high mobile phone penetration levels and the boom in mobile financial services and payment technologies.
Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa are the countries with the highest mobile penetration levels, it is therefore not surprising to find out that these three countries account for about 65.2% of all the fintech investments in the continent.
The fintech revolution has completely revolutionized the economic landscape of the continent and has made financial services easily accessible to people who would have otherwise been left out.
The emerging fintech space has however exposed Africa to an increased threat of cyberattacks.
According to Bethwel Opil, Enterprise Sales Manager at Kaspersky in Africa, most Fintech especially at their startup stage companies did not have proper defences in place to protect their services and their users against a data breach.
Lack of proper defence made these firms them more vulnerable to cyberattacks as compared to larger and more established financial institutions.
According to Kenya – based IT and business advisory firm Serianu, cybercrimes cost African economies $3.5 billion in 2017.
In that year, Nigeria is estimated to have incurred US$649 million in annual losses while Kenya is estimated to have incurred about US$210 million in losses to the same crime.
Likewise, according to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), South Africa loses US$157 million annually to cyberattacks.
The head Enterprise Sales at Kaspersky in Africa says that despite the huge losses associated with cyberattacks, the fintech sector is still expected to continue growing due to the immense benefits it offers to both investors and customers.
According to Opil, security education, awareness and ensuring that cyber security is seen as a priority is critical shield the sector from attacks even as it continues to grow.