The state of SME banking in Africa

New blog post in MFW4A on the state of SME banking in Africa with Jean-Philippe Stijns from the European Investment Bank.

“We are observing a rising level of competition which is pushing banks operating in SSA to step out of their comfort zone and to get more serious about lending to SMEs.”

The only thing we know about African economies is that we do not know much at all

“Mr Kale must be creative. When people are asked how much they earn, suspicion of authority makes them underestimate. Ask them how much they spend, however, and, chest puffed up, they will give a much higher number. In surveys, getting the question right matters.

Mr Kale cannot take much at face value. He even checks his own fieldworkers’ movements through GPS. Otherwise, staff may be tempted to sit at home and make up numbers rather than slogging around the country.

It was under Mr Kale that Nigerians woke up one day in 2014 to discover that their economy was 89 per cent bigger than previously imagined, making it Africa’s largest.”

Smart Africa: Smartphones pave way for huge opportunities

What the railway was to Victorian England, the mobile networks are to Africa…

“Already there is an African app out of the starting blocks for almost everything: herding cattle in Kenya (i-Cow), private security in Ghana (hei julor!), remotely monitoring patients in Zimbabwe (Econet) and in Uganda, an Uber-like service (Yoza) connecting dirty laundry to mobile washerwomen.”