The Adaptation of Smartphones in Africa Improves Digitalization

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· Smartphones marketing sales has increased during the lockdown,

· The use of smartphones will improve the standards of digitalization in African countries

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· Financial institutions adapt digitalisation to be the normal way of operating with customers.

The adaptation of smartphones in Africa is improving digitalization, financial institutions in Zimbabwe have noticed a big change in terms of digitalization through the use of mobile phones especially smartphones which gives users the access to the internet when data is available.

During the lockdown period, the use of technology in financial institutions has proven the potential of Africa being part of the digitalised continents like other continents in the world. Zimbabwean banks, Stanbic Bank and Standard Bank Group noticed that the increase in smartphones, leads to the higher standard of digitalisation, this came after the lockdown where all industries have to find ways of sustaining their business through online.

Companies were forced to operate remotely while people were observing the restriction of the lockdown and trying to avoid the spread of COVID-19, in the maintenance of social distance people stays at home while accessing the banking service at home, using their phones to do transactions and to seek for assistance virtually via the developed websites and social media platforms, which offers effective customer care. People who do not have smartphones were forced by the situation to buy smartphones, while some were upgrading to the latest versions of smartphones.

By the increased number of people buying smartphones for different purposes, the market analyst International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphone sales in Africa made up 6.6% of the global smartphone market in 2019, compared with 6.3% in 2018 and 5.9% in 2017. The continent is expected to make up 7.1% of the worldwide market by 2023. South Africa made up 15.4% of the total of the African smartphone market during 2019, followed by Egypt at 11.6% and Nigeria at 11.1%. there is no doubt that the percentage of smartphones sales will increase since a large number of people who do not have smartphones like school pupils are now engaged in eLearning were smartphones are useful for them to conduct online sessions with their increase of smartphones.

The use of mobile phones has already paved a way in running financial services in Africa and beyond, promoting digital financial services to the customers, many mobile operators are developing their systems in a way the users can easily transact on a mobile phone, that is when they linked their mobile number with the bank.

By so doing customers will be able to do transactions to and from the bank as well as paying the bills and other financial services at the comfort of their homes. For instance, in Zimbabwe, Econet, the biggest telecom company has linked with almost every bank in Zimbabwe, for the convenience of customers to transact to and from the bank using Ecocash. While in Kenya M-Pesa’s mobile has evolved into financial services offering to allow for mobile payments, savings products, and lending.

The use of smartphones in Africa has promoted digitalization in different sectors including the financial sector where everyone with a bank account is linking his/her mobile number with the bank so as to get access to the banking services through the internet. E-Banking is the easiest way of operating with the bank without stepping to the physical bank, therefore people are buying smartphones to get access to the services hence promoting the financial digitalisation in Africa.

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