Crypto may complement mobile money in Africa, says Kenyan banker

Cryptocurrency could complement mobile money in Africa if regulators can be sure of its benefits, according to the chief executive of Kenya’s largest lender by market value.

Many central banks on the continent have warned against cryptocurrency transactions, while others have made it completely illegal. The Central African Republic is the only African country to have adopted digital assets, and the South African Reserve Bank is enacting rules to protect investors.

“Africa will benefit greatly from the fourth industrial leap, and cryptocurrency is one of them,” James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Group Holdings PLC, told Bloomberg Invest: Focus on Africa conference on Tuesday. “Cryptocurrency may be a complement to the mobile money wallet, but basically, we need to talk to regulators.”

In Kenya, mobile money transactions – which were only made possible by the regulator’s desire to use new technology – have surpassed the use of hard currency, Mwangi said. Similarly, the use of new technologies could help increase competition in Africa because the continent lacks inheritance systems, he said.

“We hope that the use of technology, especially data and artificial intelligence, will be a major factor in the leap because we are not talking about existing production capacity, we are starting anew,” he said.

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