Morocco Lags Behind in African FinTech Startups

While Africa’s FinTech startup industry is booming, one country — Morocco — seems to be lagging behind, according to a report Monday (Dec. 27) by Morocco World News.

The past few years have seen a number of FinTech startups in Africa grossing annual revenues of more than $100 million, such as the Kenyan mobile money service Wave, Nigerian payments giant OPay and Flutterwave, another Nigerian firm that provides cross-border payment services.

Read more: Nigerian Payments Giant OPay In Talks To Raise $400 Million At $1.5 Billion Valuation

Earlier this year, PYMNTS reported that OPay set out to raise $400 million this year after expanding into Egypt.

The company processed $2 billion in payments in the first 11 months of 2020 and seemed to setting itself up as a “super app,” a move that began with the launch of its ORide bike rental service.

Meanwhile, Flutterwave achieved unicorn status this year. In October, it was also seeking investors for a new funding round that would bring the firm to a minimum valuation of $3 billion.

Read more: Nigerian Payments Startup Flutterwave Seeks New Funding at $3B Valuation

However, when the business media platform Afridigest put out its list of promising African startups that made over $100 million in revenue, none of Morocco’s companies made the cut.

There are a few reasons for this, Morocco World News noted, citing comments from a recent webinar involving figures from the country’s finance industry.

One of the participants, Jean-Michel Huet of Bearing Point, said that Moroccans haven’t begun to fully trust online payments and services that require cards, often choosing to pay with cash from an ATM that use a credit card.

Read more: Lack of Trust, Gov’t Support Are Main Barriers to Digital Advancement in Developing Markets

They also tend to trust established institutions like banks, making it harder for FinTech startups to make inroads. Another obstacle, the report says, is “the poor relationship that Moroccan entrepreneurs have with the ‘culture of failure.’”

Abdeslam Alaoui Smaili, CEO of Hightech Payment Systems, said innovation isn’t just about uncovering an idea, but also bringing it to market. He and the other webinar speakers stressed the need for startups to connect with established firms and seek out guidance.



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