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Findex: COVID-19 Has Accelerated Digitization of Financial Services

Rabat - The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on in-person dealings have boosted the adoption of mobile and digital financial services in the world, particularly in Africa, according to the World Bank’s latest Findex report.

More than 80 million adults in India, as well as 100 million in China, made their first digitalpayments over the course of the pandemic, with 20% of adults in developing countries, or 720 million people, having made a digital payment in 2021.

An increase was noted in sub-Saharan Africa in the adoption rates for banking institutions, with more people opening accounts.

Additionally, the use of mobile money accounts, whether exclusively or in addition to regular bank accounts, saw a sharp increase as the percentage of adults using mobile accounts to save money surpassed that of regular accounts in 2021.

The increase is attributed to social distancing and quarantine policies adopted during COVID-19, which have made accessing physical institutions less convenient, and accelerated the development of mobile banking services.

Additionally, the increasing rates at which Africa is becoming connected to the internet, and the rise of a younger generation that is more technologically literate and more interested in using mobile banking helped the process along.

Despite the good signs, however, various reports point that the digital transition throughout the continent is still lagging behind.

A 2022 World Bank report pointed out that despite more than 60% of Morocco’s population using the internet, only 17% aged more than 15 use digital payment, with a mere 1.6% buying products and services online.

The phenomenon extends to the rest of the region, with the lack of digital payments mostly attributed to a distrust that most of the population continues to have towards the technologies.

Meanwhile, possibly counting on a higher rate of adoption of digital services in the future as younger generations become a bigger purchasing demographic, Morocco’s government and businesses continue working on digitizing their services.

Source: Morocco World News

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