Mobile payments are changing the financial shape of Côte d’Ivoire

Mobile payments - Man paying by mobile phone

Digital options are helping the African country to make important steps forward domestically and internationally.

Côte d’Ivoire has been making massive strives in its region of Africa in both its growth and investment inflows, and mobile payments options are now becoming central to its efforts to become a digital financial inclusion pioneer.

Following the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s key indices were quick to recover.

The West African nation’s GDP growth had already reached 7 percent in 2021 and had fully returned to pre-pandemic levels despite its plummet to 1.7 percent in 2020. Growth remained steady through 2022 at 6.7 percent and projections for this year are that it will stay at around 6.2 percent, according to the IMF.

Mobile Payments - Côte d'Ivoire Map and flag

Paired with solid investment inflows throughout the last ten years, Côte d’Ivoire is established as the strongest ECOWAS economy according to a Lloyds Bank report last year.

The country is working to ensure that digital and mobile payments options are readily available in order to help ensure that this growth and stability extend into the wider population. The government has been working with the agricultural sector to build value-added opportunities and for the expansion of digital financial inclusion.

Mobile payments options have helped to generate tremendous growth in banking access to the population.

The percentage of the Côte d’Ivoire’s population with access to either a traditional bank or digital financial alternatives has risen from 41 percent in 2017 to 51 percent in 2021, according to the 2021 Global Findex database issued by the World Bank. This growth is credited not only to traditional financial institutions but also greatly to mobile payments.

Between international initiatives and the Côte d’Ivoire’s own government strategies, innovation in financial technology is helping to propel the country forward in growing its banked population, improving the economy from the population upward.

The country launched a new Agency for the Promotion of Financial Inclusion (Agence de Promotion de l’Inclusion Financière, APIF) in 2018 to oversee financial inclusion public policy. In 2019, the government adopted a new National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2019-2024, then the National Development Plan 2021-2025 identifying five pillars for the expansion of financial inclusion. Those pillars are access to excluded and vulnerable populations, promoting digital finance and mobile payments, client education and protection, enhanced sector supervision and regulation, and favorable tax and policy framework.

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