Ray Youssef, CEO and Co-Founder of Paxful, a Peer-to-Peer Bitcoin market place, stated that despite the negative media attention Africa gets, it has a massive, budding, educated, and entrepreneurial population amid a continental economic boom.
Speaking at a media briefing at the ongoing Campus Tour Initiative for Africa in Melrose, Johannesburg, he stated that the McKinsey & Company 2018 Global Banking Report revealed that global media stories are more likely to highlight Africa’s social and political problems than its rise as a business market. “The reality is that the continent is amid a historical acceleration that is lifting millions out of poverty, creating an emerging consumer class, and propelling rapid economic growth in many economies,” he stated.
Financial Exclusion in Africa
According to the African Development Bank (AfDB) in a report, 1.2 billion people live in Africa, 77% of them do not have a bank account, and that the large segment of this number is young people. Many people cannot meet the required procedures or provide documentation to open an account since most Africans don’t have identification documents and titles to their properties.
Youssef cited financial inclusion, or rather a lack of it, as a huge problem, adding that it is Paxful’s continual mission during this Campus Tour Initiative to facilitate financial inclusion to the unbanked across Africa through Bitcoin economy. The major hindrance to such inclusion has been the lack of funds needed to cover the costs associated with banking.
The Paxful CEO explained that this is where the low costs of using Bitcoin can bring financial inclusion. He stated:
“Bitcoin can solve a lot of problems in Africa. Although bitcoin is used as an investment mainly in the west, Africa is truly using it for what it was made for. Their financial passport. Anyone who has an internet connection has access. No need to travel far and pay high fees to set up a basic bank account. As 85% of the African population owns a mobile phone, they can easily and quickly conduct their business with the digital currency.”
Campus Tour Initiative
Youssef further noted that, as a value-driven company, they want to make the bitcoin economy accessible for everyone, especially the underbanked. To this end, Paxful would like to reach as many young people as possible to help them understand the digital currency market and transact safely and with confidence.
Paxful aims to continue to partner with customers and other key stakeholders to ensure they are well informed about the opportunities presented by peer-to-peer finance. To increase access to the bitcoin economy for many more youths on the African continent, Paxful has launched a series of educational workshops across Africa for 2019, similar to the one in Melrose.
The series began in South Africa on 13 May at the University of Witwatersrand, with events taking place at University of Cape Town, and Stellenbosch University in the past few days. On 23 May, there is going to be a meeting at Nairobi Cinema for several universities in Kenya. Nigeria and Ghana are on the cards for later in the year.
The workshops will cover the very basics about bitcoin for novices. The will also explore innovative use cases and business applications being implemented around the world for more experienced attendees.