There is a disconnect between businesses in the west and businesses in the rest of the world. What works in the West in most cases doesn’t work in other parts of the world. The issue that prohibits most global businesses from thriving in other parts of the world is the disconnect in culture. What works in one part of the world doesn’t necessarily work in another.

For this article let me use the payments culture to drive the point forward. The west predominantly uses visa and MasterCard as the main modes of payment. The fact that those are the main modes of payment in the west doesn’t mean that its what the rest of the world uses. The East (China) uses China union pay as the main mode of payment.

The mistake most global businesses Make when expanding to Africa

The west came to terms with China union pay in the east. When it comes to Africa however the same logic wasn’t applied. This is the main reason many of the US and UK based global businesses are not thriving in Africa. Africa chose a different payment path. The bulk of people on the continent do not pay with credit/debit cards. Usage of credit/debit cards (Visa and MasterCard) accounts for less than 5% of all payments on the continent which makes it a minor mode of payment on the continent. Mobile money is the preferred mode of payment in many parts of Africa. In Kenya for example MPESA (Mobile money) is the most used mode of payment accounting for over 90% of how adults in Kenya pay, in Uganda, Cameroon, Ghana, Rwanda and Tanzania mobile money is the dominant mode of payment.

The solution

The fact that Africa has different modes of payment doesn’t in any way mean that the people on the continent do not have money or aren’t willing to pay for the services of global businesses. Africa loves the same exact services people in the west and the east love. The continent pays for servers, adverts online, financial services, hails cabs online and uses other internet services just like the rest of the world does. Why not tap into the way Africa pays online just the same way global businesses adopted the Chinese modes of payment. Capitalize on the way Africa pays through payment platforms built to address how global businesses accept and make payments online like

I believe the time for Africa is now. The African economy is set to power over $1 trillion worth of ecommerce. It is no longer a question of if Africa is worth venturing into. The Question every business should be asking is asking is how do We tap into the African economy.