Mobile Networks Drive Financial Services Adoption, Says aYo


The continued expansion of Africa’s mobile networks and ecosystems is driving unprecedented levels of digital and financial inclusion across the continent, and is already helping to build more economically active populations and more equitable societies, said Lukas Barnard , Chief Technology and Information Officer (CTIO) of African Insurtech aYo Holdings.

The GSMA’s 2022 Mobile Economy Report shows a significant increase in mobile money activity and other financial services on the continent, highlighting that more Africans can access a range of services financial services from their cellphones, says Barnard. The GSMA expects mobile’s global economic contribution to grow by more than US$400 billion by 2025.

aYo Holdings, wholly owned by telecommunications giant MTN, has seen strong growth from 2021 to 2022, crossing the mark of 17 million registered customers in its fifth year of operation. This rapid expansion has enabled the company to become a major player in the African microinsurance market using a “pay as you go” insurance model, which gives policyholders the flexibility to have the coverage they need. need at any time.

aYo’s vision is to continue to become the largest financial services technology platform in Africa by enabling the distribution of a range of affordable and accessible microfinance services products.

“Our relationship with MTN is the key that unlocked the ability to deliver this product. As a result, millions of Africans are accessing and engaging in life and hospital insurance for the first time, driving greater financial inclusion – and the range of financial services will only expand,” said Barnard.

However, Barnard says any company looking to provide financial services on the continent will need to have a robust technology infrastructure and be able to scale quickly while cost-effectively handling large volumes of nano-transactions.

“We have a digital, cloud-only and mobile-first strategy across the business. All customer touchpoints are digital, which means we have a fully paperless customer process. Customers send us documents related to complaints via WhatsApp. This allows us to reach customers in remote locations and villages across the continent – which has always been the biggest barrier to entry for any Insurtech,” said Barnard.

Insurtechs must also be able to process massive volumes of data at incredible speeds. aYo’s transactions are real-time, which means the company processes around 200 policy adjustments per second, around the clock.

“Because African Insurtechs primarily serve the irregular income segment of the market, they need to align with the spending habits of their customers. Our customers buy coverage when they can afford it, which means there are often unexpected spikes in activity. Only by being in the cloud can we dynamically adjust our processing capacity to match customer spending patterns and volume fluctuations,” Barnard said.


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