Mobilisation des recettes fiscales dans l’UEMOA : L’obstacle de l’informel, le levier du mobile-money

La mobilisation des recettes fiscales est, pour les pays africains, une urgence face aux besoins en financement nécessaires pour l’exécution des programmes de développement. Dans un contexte marqué par la raréfaction de l’aide publique au développement et le renchérissement de la dette, elle est encore plus pressante pour les Etats de l’UEMOA dont les rentrées fiscales représentent à peine 15% de leur produit intérieur brut (PIB), soit un niveau deux fois inférieur à celui constaté dans les pays de l’OCDE.

Ce rapport revisite l’ampleur du manque à gagner fiscal au sein des pays de l’UEMOA et analyse le rôle qu’y jouent le secteur informel et la fraude fiscale. Retrouvez ici l’intégralité de l’étude.

FinTechs in Africa: Multifaceted Tools to Promote Financial Inclusion

Mina lives in Sahuyé, 70 km away from Abidjan. Since 2008, she has used a mobile money account which she uses to send money to her aunt in Ouagadougou and to save a few bucks each month. Along with 100 million other people, Mina is now able to have access to basic financial services, which she did not have before. To what extent do FinTechs allow financial inclusion on the continent? Do they indeed offer financial services to all, from the Cape to Algier, from Dinga in Central African Republic and to Gondere in Ethiopia?. FinTechs are not a unique and global solution for Africa – it would be reductive to say that they are. They nevertheless offer a relevant response to daily challenges, as well as innovations that change profoundly the global financial ecosystem.

The singular breakthrough of FinTechs in Africa

Africa positions itself as new territory for financial services. Africa is one of, if not the only continent to have leaped directly to dematerialized financial services, without having to go neither through permanent agencies nor through large-scale landlines. This particularity can be explained through unpropitious access to the classic financial offer. Formal services are provided by agencies concentrated in urban areas, while the rural areas represent 2/3 of the African population and with high interest rates and commissions (around 10.07% in the ECOWAS region for example), one can then easily explain why people resort to inexpensive financial technologies.

This has then promoted a wider financial inclusion by granting access to basic financial services to a larger number of people and to marginalized communities. While the percentage of unbanked populations is 66% in Africa, with noticeable differences between countries, A resort to FinTechs is bringing about major change with 12% of Africans being able to access to financial services via FinTechs.However, it is clear that mobile money is only a solution among many others that are available to solve the problem. There are also money transfers, banking services, investment and wealth management operations, etc. This diversity is reflected in the diversity of African markets themselves, of their maturity and their needs. If some options, especially mobile money, are indeed fruitful in one country they may not make sense in another where a more or less sophisticated option would be more useful. Furthermore, some countries' profiles facilitate the deployment of one solution, where elsewhere the same solution would only respond partially or even not at all to increasing access to financial services. M'Pesa's success in Kenya, based on a demand-driven solution, has not been duplicated in Tanzania or Nigeria. These failures are linked to the diversity of ecosystems, highlighting the importance of adopting a plural approach to financial inclusion.


Challenges to FinTechs face and Solutions

Mobile Money today is the most developed and successful platform for financial inclusion in Africa. It positions itself as a gateway for a variety of services for its users. However, many issues must be solved to truly provide inclusive access, that is, financial service accessible to all, including those at the « bottom of the pyramid » Financial inclusion of people at the bottom of the pyramid remains indeed challenging, with or without FinTechs. This population, who live below the poverty line, carry out small operations, not above 2$ a day. Yet the agent-based model in the mobile banking system, whose revenue is 100% dependent on transactions, needs a certain total amount to become profitable. Considering 1$-operations conducted by an agent who spends monthly between 150 and 200$ and takes a percentage per transaction, the agent should register an amount of 20.000$ to get to the break-even point, which amounts to 2 transactions per minute, 8 hours a day, 7/7… Moreover, bragging about mobile penetration figures in Africa should not obliterate some realities. Mobile user rates in some African countries do not exceed 30% – on 100 people, only 30 in Burundi and 6 in Eritrea use a mobile phone. Digital data are also coming short. According to the telecoms company Tigo, only 20% of its clients / customers throughout the continent use data. Even if innovative financial services are multiplying, access to basic services is not yet guaranteed on the continent.

Other challenges remain to be overcome in order to  increase FinTechs ‘ coverage and ensure equal access to all, such as interoperability, which hinders domestic and international money transfers and efforts regarding financial education and awareness. While Rwanda can be cited as an example in terms of financial education, other countries like Nigeria do not promote FinTechs culture. For example, the Rwandan government has supported the implementation of digital platforms for basic services (Irembo) : payment for electricity bills, administrative procedures, etc. On the contrary, the economy in Nigeria is mostly based on liquidity with street agents, called Esusu or Ajo, operating day-to-day informally.


FinTechs potential provide a visionary ambition for Africa

If these limits / boundaries must be solved, the development of FinTechs paved the way for major progress towards financial inclusion. Financial inclusion is not limited to payments nonetheless. This « frugal innovation » deploys a wide range of financial services made accessible to most. Among the proposed services, there are of course the classic banking services, offering the possibility to those excluded from the banking system to take out a loan (as with Aire or Kreditech), insurance and micro insurance, investment, payment and online transfer services. Startups like Afrimarket, Azim or Mergims facilitate money or goods transfers safely at reduced rates. WeCashup and Dopay offer the possibility to pay online and/or get paid electronically, without any risk of corruption or security breach.

Moreover, these services not only increase financial inclusion, but also increase social inclusion with products facilitating access to basic services in health and education. For example, the Senegalese FinTech Bouquet Santé relies on the diaspora to solve some deficiencies in the national health system.These initiatives are supported by a range of elements facilitating the deployment  of digital solutions. First, the simplicity of the technology most frequently used, the USSD, as well as the dynamism of this sector which constantly offers innovations improving this technology and new applications. Second, the low cost of mobile phones, which promotes an easy and increasing penetration. Third, the ability to set up an extended distribution network, even in rural areas, throughout an agent-based system for mobile money. Finally, the increasing trend for players to seize this opportunity and to develop partnerships (between operators, banks, cooperatives, microfinance institutions) and facilitate the growth of their services with an effort in training and raising awareness.

So far, FinTechs have achieved a lot in increasing access to financial services. Today, the coverage of mobile money services in Africa exceeds 80%. In Kenya, access to banking services has increased by 58% since 2007, the year when the national unicorn M'Pesa was launched. It is undeniable that access to basic services has been reinforced on the continent with 15.4% of the total value of transactions in 2014 regarding bill payments and trade transactions.The growing access and participation in the financial system is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. They offer major direct and indirect advantages. At the heart of the system, they allow to reduce costs for trans-border funds transfers and for financial services by 80-90%, allowing companies to offer their services to low-income customers while securing their profitability. For users, they decrease the insecurity that goes with cash and provide the possibility to smooth their consumption, to manage risks linked to financial shocks by saving money, and step by step / little by little, to invest in education and health. For companies, facilitating access to credit by creating credit history allows them to grow and create jobs.

Last but not least, the growing interoperability and openness promoted by African regional integration offer exciting perspectives. Beyond mobile money, the bitcoin and block chains are a work in progress in Africa; some dare say that they could bear a revolution, the Impala Revolution. The block chain, which allows for the establishment of credit history, to check and/or create a basic financial identity may even be the next innovative leverage for financial inclusion and a tool for Africa to pioneer FinTechs at global level. To conclude, the possibility of providing larger access to financial services implies proposing tailored solutions covering the full range of needs on the continent, even adopting a local perspective because what is true in the capital city is not true anymore in a village. As a result, it is key not to believe in a single model capable of solving Africa's challenges as a single and homogenous entity. Finally, the key issue is to maintain the entrepreneurial vitality that can be observed for now in the FinTech sector.

Translated by:

Manon Richert

Interview with Tidjane Deme, Office Leader for Google Africa

ADI: How does Google aid the development of the Digital ecosystem in Africa? And why does Google do it?

We do so because we are convinced that the region needs an internet ecosystem that is dynamic and as well open. That is to say, an internet system, where each person has free access to information that he needs without any hindrance.  Despite the developments that we see in mobile internet, it is still insufficient.  We have not yet reached the cut-off mark. The speed and penetration rate are still low. For example, one cannot play a high definition video without the question of data coming up or the short waits to allow the videos to buffer. We can’t still do a lot on the internet and it is quite expensive. Even those who go on the internet still do not have access to high-speed internet (broadband).

picture 1

However, there is a new trend of providing limited internet access to well-known sites. In fact some Internet service providers (ISP)  offer packages that only give access to these selected sites. However, if an entrepreneur starts to provide a new service, his service is not included in this package and is therefore not accessible to all. This forms the base for our need to have an internet platform that is open to all. We are presently trying to tackle three aspects:  

We are working on problems of access to internet. That is the infrastructure that limits access; price and regulatory problems that limit the development of an open internet platform. To us, high speed internet allows for quick access to all types of content.

The second aspect is on content. Today, there is so much content on normal media platforms but these are not available on the internet.

The third aspect is focused on encouraging entrepreneurs t o develop a high-growth industry.

Internet in French-Speaking Africa: What are the differences that exist among the regions in French-speaking Africa?

There are many differences that exist among the countries. I will look beyond the Francophone region and talk about it in a global manner. It is difficult to draw conclusions because there are about 50 countries in Africa with different characteristics and contexts.  We group and analyze these countries based on certain aspects.

One criterion that affects the access to internet is the policies and regulation of telecom operators in each country. This environment often determines the state of the market. It is in this case that we see enormous differences in the English-speaking countries in East Africa and those of West Africa especially the Francophone countries. In general, there is a difference between French-speaking and English-speaking countries. We have some policies that I will say are very modern. As the sector evolves though, the policies have to adapt to an environment that changes very fast. This is often not the case in many countries. For example, Senegal changes it’s polices every ten years. There is a telecoms code that came into effect in 2001 and another new code which has not been implemented. So, this market which has changed drastically over the years is governed by a regulatory policy which has been in effect since 2001. The capacity of the regulatory system to adapt to the market is a modernizing factor.


picture 2A second important regulatory aspect is the segmentation of licenses. The old polices (of 20 years ago) are based on monolithic licenses. One license was enough to become a mobile Operator.Today, when we look at the telecoms market, there are many operators that carry out different functions. For example, there are those who provide data (ISP), those who develop mobile towers and antennas which are then shared by different operators. Also, there are those who provide infrastructure and those who provide Voice over IP   (VoIP) on mobile phones and fixed lines.


The last criterion of modernity in licenses is linked to the fact that the telecoms sector was created on the basis of concessions run by a third-party so that the latter could bring revenue for the government. This political approach for a long time focused on revenue-making than on the impact the telecoms sector made on the economy. Modern policies will therefore have to measure the impact that each policy will have on the sector and the economy in general. When we look at these three criteria, French-speaking African countries still rely on archaic methods, which do not allow for  the existence of a large number of actors and  they target a  small number of actors that are taxed heavily (Benin, Mali, Senegal, Cameroun, etc). However, we have the total opposite (with an eye on long term benefits) in English-speaking African countries and in Mozambique (in view).These points create two criteria that distinguish the countries.

Following this, we arrive at a certain market structure. In certain countries, you have a market with a small number of actors who are vertically integrated and who do everything. Take for example, Senegal. There are three mobile operators and one internet provider.  In Benin, there are 5 operators. Now take Ghana as another example, there are 5-6 operators and about 20 internet providers and numerous actors who deal with content. In Kenya, there are 13 providers of international capacity and 5 infrastructure providers. Here, the mobile sector is not as competitive, as Safaricom dominates the market (85%) but at least there are many actors who intervene enormously. So, we categorize the countries according to these 3 criteria: 1. Type of controls 2. Market dynamics; and 3. The state of infrastructure

The 4th criterion of the ecosystem is the amount of investors that are present on the market, who create employment and value and those which the African governments have not grasped or encouraged.


On the Francophone Marketplaces, what are the methods of payment? What do you think of these new actors?

For a long time, it was said that the classic e-business solutions could not work in Africa because we were lacking some key elements in the African digital ecosystem like payment portals. Now, when we look at the new actors on the market like Rocket International, Jumia, Kaymu, and Kangoo in Nigeria, there are two phenomena that have aided their growth:

First of all, there is the emergence of the growing middle-class in African mega-cities. These people have a standard of living that is quite similar to what you see in Europe or in the United States. They possess credit cards and buy online due to their style of living. Once, this middle class increased; a market was created, in order to duplicate the same style seen in Europe.

That is one of the reasons Jumia, Kaymu, Jovago, etc arrived on the market. They were even innovative enough to cater for the rest of the online population by providing new payment solutions. In fact, we always thought that mobile phones would constitute a useful tool for payment. But today, when we look at these actors, they have bypassed the mobile and are offering the method of payment on delivery. They do not make use of mobile phones as a method of payment.  

This means that the operators have missed a great opportunity. They have all dragged their feet in the provision of an Application Provider Interface (API) to developers. This only has to do with Francophone Africa. Safaricom with its famous tool M-PESA will soon provide an online payment solution. On the other hand, Orange has just announced that it will start testing its Orange Money* API with developers. The same goes for MTN Money. So, I think that the operators have yet to explore this potential growth area of Mobile Money which is a method of online payment. Nevertheless, there are a good amount of users who make use of mobile payments for money transfers and bill payments. It is therefore not surprising that these solutions have arrived with the growing middle-class.

Translated by Onyinyechi Ananaba

Copyright  Google Photos – Will Marlow The real internet – Charles Roffey –The context of the digital society. Interview of Tidjane Deme  on Google’s strategy for  francophone Africa . Interview in September 2015

Key words: Google / Telecoms regulation /digital ecosystem / Marketplaces / Mobile Money

(*)  Interview carried out in September 2015 for a professional thesis on the levers in digital marketing for the promotion of African cultural products– ILV Paris – MBAMCI


Entretien avec Tidjane Deme, Office lead pour Google Afrique francophone – Volet I

ADI : Comment Google accompagne le développement de l’écosystème digital en Afrique? Et surtout pourquoi le fait-il? 

Nous le faisons parce que nous sommes convaincus qu’il faut que se développe dans la région un écosystème internet qui soit à la fois dynamique et très ouvert. C’est-à-dire un internet où chacun est libre de consulter le contenu qu’il veut et de le consommer comme il souhaite sans entrave.  Malgré le développement que l’on observe actuellement avec l’internet mobile, cela reste insuffisant, nous ne remplissons pas tous les critères. Le débit est faible, le taux de pénétration est très faible. Je prends toujours l’exemple de la lecture d'une vidéo haute définition sans se poser de question de quotas ou de faire des pauses pour attendre que ça charge. On ne peut pas tout faire sur internet et cela coûte relativement cher.

Même ceux qui sont sur Internet n’ont pas encore un accès internet haut débit (broadband). Il y a des tendances à faire de l’internet limité qui favorise les sites web les plus populaires. Real Internet Certains fournisseurs d'accès à l'internet (FAI) proposent des packages qui ne donnent accès qu’à certains sites populaires. Par exemple si un entrepreneur quelconque lance un nouveau service, il n’est pas inclus dans le package et il n’est donc pas accessible à tout le monde. D’où notre volonté d’avoir un internet ouvert. Nous essayons donc de faire face à trois aspects :

  • Nous travaillons sur les problématiques d’accès à Internet, c’est-à-dire les problèmes d’infrastructures qui limitent l’accès, les problèmes de coût et les problèmes de politique publique (régulation) qui limitent le développement d’internet ouvert. Le haut débit à notre entendement permet un accès rapide et à tout contenu.
  • Notre deuxième aspect est le contenu. Aujourd’hui, il y a du contenu dans les médias. Mais ce contenu est sous-représenté sur internet.
  • Notre troisième aspect consiste à encourager les entrepreneurs à développer un secteur en croissance

Développement de l'internet en Afrique francophone / Quelle nuance entre les régions dans l’espace francophone ?

Il y a de nombreuses différences constatées en fonction des pays. Je dépasserai le cadre francophone pour aborder la situation de manière plus globale. Il est difficile de faire des généralités car il y a une cinquantaine de pays avec des spécificités et des contextes différents. Nous faisons des regroupements selon des caractéristiques précises. Et nous analysons des critères précis.

Un des premiers critères qui définit l’accès sur internet est l’état de la régulation et de la règlementation des opérateurs de télécommunications dans chaque pays. C’est cet environnement qui détermine souvent l’état du marché. Et sur cela, nous voyons énormément de différences entre l’Afrique de l’Est anglophone et l’Afrique de l’Ouest essentiellement francophone. De manière générale entre les pays francophones et anglophones, l’état de la régulation est très différent. Nous avons des régulations que je dirais très modernes. En effet, comme le secteur évolue très vite, la régulation doit avoir des mécanismes qui s’adaptent à un environnement qui change très vite, mais ce n'est pas encore le cas dans beaucoup de pays. En guise d'exemple, le Sénégal change sa régulation tous les dix ans. Il y a eu un code des télécoms mis en place en 2001 et un nouveau code des télécoms qui à ce jour n’a pas fait l’objet d’un décret d’application. Donc on évolue avec une loi de régulation qui date de 2001 sur un marché qui a beaucoup évolué depuis. La capacité du système de régulation de s’adapter au marché est un facteur de modernité

Un deuxième aspect sur la régulation qui est très important c’est la segmentation des licences. Les régulations très anciennes (il y a 20 ans) étaient basées sur des licences monolithiques. Une seule licence valait Contentpour être opérateur mobile. Aujourd’hui quand on regarde les marchés des télécoms, il y a beaucoup d’opérateurs qui font des choses très différentes. Par exemple il y a des opérateurs qui font de la data (ISP), les acteurs qui développent les tours mobiles, des antennes qui les partagent ensuite aux différents opérateurs. Vous trouverez également des opérateurs qui font les infrastructures, d’autres qui font de la voix sur IP (VoIP) sur le mobile, d’autres sur le fixe.

Un dernier critère de modernité dans les licences est lié au fait que les télécoms ont longtemps été conçus comme des concessions données à un tiers en vue que celui-ci donne des recettes à l’état. L’approche politique s'est longtemps focalisée sur les recettes et non pas sur l’impact du secteur des télécoms sur l’ensemble de l’économie en générale. Une régulation moderne va mesurer l’impact de chacun des actes de régulation sur le secteur des télécoms et sur l’ensemble de l’économie. Quand on regarde ces trois critères, les pays francophones restent sur des approches encore archaïques, pas très flexibles et qui ne permettent pas l’existence d’un grand nombre d’acteurs et ciblent un nombre restreint d’acteurs que l’on taxe très lourdement (Bénin, Mali, Sénégal, Cameroun, etc). Nous avons totalement l’inverse, avec un souci de bénéfices à long terme, en Afrique anglophone ou au Mozambique (en cours de procédure).

Le résultat de tous ces points crée deux critères qui distinguent les pays. Ensuite, c’est la structure du marché qui en résulte. Dans certains pays vous aurez un marché avec très peu d’acteurs qui gèrent, qui sont très intégrés verticalement et qui font tout. Prenons l’exemple du Sénégal, vous avez trois opérateurs mobiles et un FAI. Au Bénin vous avez cinq opérateurs. Prenons maintenant le Ghana : 5-6 opérateurs, une vingtaine de FAI, plusieurs acteurs qui font du contenu. Pour le Kenya, 13 fournisseurs de capacité internationale, 5 fournisseurs d’infrastructures, le secteur du mobile est peu compétitif avec Safaricom qui domine le marché (85%) mais en amont il y a plusieurs acteurs qui agissent énormément. On classe les pays selon ces trois critères : 1. l’état de la régulation, 2. la dynamique du marché et 3. L’état des infrastructures.

Le 4è critère sur l’état de l’écosystème est celui de l’ensemble des investisseurs qui occupent le marché, créent de l’emploi, de la valeur et que les gouvernements des pays Africains n’ont pas appris à appréhender et à encourager.

Sur les Marketplaces en Afrique francophone. Quels sont les moyens de paiement? Comment observez-vous l’arrivée de ces nouveaux acteurs?

On a longtemps dit que les solutions classiques du e-business ne pouvaient pas marcher en Afrique car il y avait des composants manquants dans l’écosystème digital africain comme le paiement. Quand on regarde l’arrivée de nouveaux acteurs comme Rocket International, Jumia, Kaymu, et Kangoo au Nigeria, il y a deux phénomènes qui expliquent leur développement. Tout d’abord, l’émergence d’une classe moyenne qui grandit dans les mégapoles africaines et qui vit de manière très proche de n’importe quelle classe moyenne en Europe ou aux Etats-Unis. Donc des populations qui possèdent des cartes de crédit, qui consomment en ligne par besoin en raison de leur modèle de vie. Quand cette classe moyenne s’épaissit suffisamment, un marché s’est créé pour dupliquer ce qui se passe en Europe. C’est une de ces raisons qui explique l’arrivée de Jumia, Kaymu, Jovago, etc. Ils ont aussi innové pour atteindre le reste de la population internaute par de nouvelles solutions de paiement. On a toujours pensé que le mobile allait être un relais intéressant pour le paiement. Mais aujourd’hui, quand on regarde ces acteurs, ils contournent le mobile en proposant un paiement à la livraison. Ils n’utilisent pas le mobile comme moyen de paiement. Cela veut dire que les opérateurs sont surement entrain loupé un coche.  Ils ont tous tardé à ouvrir leur interface de programmation (API) aux développeurs. Et cela ne concerne pas que l’Afrique francophone. Safaricom avec son outil populaire M-PESA peine à proposer une solution de paiement en ligne. Orange vient seulement d’annoncer qu’ils vont commencer à tester leur API avec des développeurs pour Orange Money*. Idem pour MTN Money. Donc je pense que les opérateurs n’ont pas encore exploré ce réservoir de développement du Mobile Money qu’est le paiement en ligne. Néanmoins, il y a une bonne base d’utilisateurs qui usent du paiement mobile pour les transferts d’argent et le règlement de facture. Ce n’est donc pas surprenant que ces solutions arrivent avec une classe moyenne qui se développe.

Copyright Photos Google – Will Marlow The real internet – Charles Roffey –

Le contexte de la société numérique Africaine. Interview de Tidjane Deme sur la stratégie générale de Google pour l’Afrique francophone. Propos recueillis en septembre 2015

Mots Clés : Google / Régulation des Télécoms / écosystème digital / Marketplaces / Mobile Money

(*) Propos recueillis en septembre 2015 dans le cadre d'une thése professionnelle sur les leviers du marketing digital pour la promotion des produits culturels africains – ILV Paris – MBAMCI