Banking in Africa Ripe for Change: DHL

Banking in Africa Ripe for Change: DHLThe banking and financial services sector in Africa is ripe for banking alternatives and disruptive technologies, according to DHL Express. In a new statement, DHL is urging innovation in the sector, seeing room for expansion (which, in turn, could benefit DHL, the only logistics company servicing the entire continent).

Articulated by DHL executive Sumesh Rahavendra, the argument is essentially that because the financial services industry is less saturated and entrenched in the continent, it’s driven by small- and medium-sized firms that are open to alternative methods of banking, including technological innovations that are only starting to win a foothold elsewhere in the world. For example, some African countries have seen a striking rise in mobile banking platforms, with individuals using mobile phones to send money to each other for everyday transactions; a South African company even wired money to random customers as part of a promotional campaign last Christmas, for example.

Rahavendra also asserts that “most African countries have made a concerted effort to improve their transactional security by moving from the traditional ‘swipe card’ form of retail banking to chip and pin.” That, of course, could bode well for the many mPayment platforms popping up this year that use smartphones’ NFC technology to make payments at merchants POS terminals.

Explaining DHL’s interest in the area, Rahavendra explains, “As technology and requirements change, so do our supply chains, and we work very closely with our customers to ensure that we offer them the best possible solutions.” That’s certainly true, but it’s not clear exactly how the logistics company will fit into a financial ecosystem that is increasingly mobile and digital. As companies like PayPal seek to expand economic participation through online and mobile technologies, traditional systems could be significantly disrupted. This must be clear to the executives at DHL, and regardless of how the company fares in this new landscape, the company’s forward-thinking approach to the situation is commendable.