Voice of the Industry

Africa's ecommerce boom: growing desire for digital goods and services

Tuesday 18 June 2024 11:23 CET | Editor: Vlad Macovei | Voice of the industry

Frank Breuss, Co-Founder and CEO of Local Payment Methods expert Nikulipe, shares insights of a recent report on ‘Payments and Ecommerce in Africa’ and discusses the opportunities for European PSPs and merchants to tap into a billion Euro market potential in Africa.


Africa: the sleeping giant has awakened

Africa today is experiencing rapid growth in online shopping for goods and services. By the end of 2025, nearly half the population of Africa will have engaged in buying goods and services online, compared to just 13% in 2017. The continent's young and growing population – 70% of Sub-Saharans are younger than 30 years old –, combined with rapid digital infrastructure growth such as wide internet, smartphone adoption awakened a transformative period for Africa in payments and ecommerce.

The number of African Internet users is expected to grow from 570 million at the end of 2022 to almost 900 million in 2028. This growth is largely driven by increased mobile phone penetration. The World Bank and African Development Bank report there are 650 million mobile users in Africa today, surpassing the number in the United States or Europe. This creates a perfect opportunity for Payment Service Providers and Global Merchants to expand beyond saturated Western markets and scale their businesses in these rising economies.

Window of opportunity for international merchants

Africa offers global PSPs and merchants unprecedented opportunity to grow their business. 

  • While online retail in Africa so far was primarily dominated by local African marketplaces like Jumia – with over 20 million monthly visitors across Africa –, international merchants like AliExpress, Shein, and Temu have also entered the African market and they gain traction quickly. In the fairway of these large and primarily Asia-based players entering Africa successfully, now also smaller, European- and US-based online retailers are following to benefit from the booming African online retail markets. 

  • For the Mobile and Video Gaming Industry, with global revenues reaching nearly 350 billion USD in 2023, Africa (8.2% YoY) is driving much of the global growth, whereas mature regions such as Europe (3.4% YoY) and North America (2.6% YoY) are beginning to stagnate. A report published by the World Economic Forum suggests that the African gaming industry will exceed 1 billion USD in 2024, and the actual demand will likely be much more.

  • Africa’s online travel industry today accounts for a 24 billion USD market, with high growth rates for online airline and hotel bookings. In 2028 75% of all travel revenue is expected to come from online channels, compared to 46% in 2017.

  • With its tech-savvy and world’s youngest and fastest-growing population, with a median age of 19.7 years, Africa became one of the fastest-growing regions for many other digital goods and service industries such as video- and music streaming, E-Books, Software, VPN, etc.

Understanding and meeting local payment preferences

Understanding the local payment preferences and the mobile-centric habits of African consumers will be key to successfully entering this growing market. Mobile money is a key driver for financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region where less than 10% of the population has access to credit cards and only 33% have bank accounts. Today more than 560 million people in Africa pay via their phone and the number is predicted to reach 850 million by 2028. This is a huge and mostly untapped opportunity for global merchants.

Offering the right mix of payment options available to the local customers is vital for success, as payment methods differ from region to region and country to country. In Uganda, for example, MTN Mobile Money and Airtel Money are the dominant LPMs, while in neighbouring Kenya, M-Pesa is the market leader. In many French-speaking Western African countries Orange Money is the preferred payment option, while Nigeria is a market where bank payment and wallets are predominant.

To help you navigate and better understand these booming markets, Nikulipe has created an in-depth report that covers:

  • State of ecommerce in Africa;

  • Regional comparisons of the different African regions;

  • Spotlight on selected ecommerce industries showing the opportunities for online merchants;

  • Country Fact Sheets with comprehensive profiles of some key African markets.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be part of Africa's ecommerce boom. Download the ‘2024 Report: Payments and E-Commerce in Africa’ now to learn more about the exciting opportunities waiting for you in Africa's ecommerce and mobile payments markets.


Download here


About Frank Breuss

Frank Breuss, CEO and Co-founder of Nikulipe, is an entrepreneur and business leader with 20+ years of solid experience in the global payments industry. His expertise Local Payment Methods for fast-growing and Emerging markets drives him to innovate existing business solutions and setting new benchmarks towards fast, secure, and transparent cross-border payments. Frank has contributed to the growth of several successful teams and businesses, including PPRO, Banking Circle, and Amazon.

About Nikulipe

Nikulipe (Swahili for ‘I pay you’) is a Fintech company that helps Payment Service Providers and global merchants to access fast-growing and Emerging markets via Local Payment Methods. Established in 2019, Nikulipe was founded by serial entrepreneurs and Unicorn Founders, who have vast experience in the Fintech-industry, with direct expertise in payment industry technology and business development. Learn more about Nikulipe by visiting nikulipe.com.

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Keywords: merchants, PSP, online payments, cross-border payments
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: Nikulipe
Countries: Africa
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


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