In 2016, we expanded our scope and began building Wave, a mobile money product for domestic markets in Africa.
The problem: In 2017, nearly 60% of adults in sub-Saharan Africa had no bank account. That's for good reason — the fees are too high, the closest branch can be miles away, and most merchants only accept cash. Without access to financial institutions, people are forced to keep their savings under the mattress. Small business owners rely on lenders who charge extortionate rates. Parents spend hours waiting in line to pay school fees in cash.
How we're solving it: We're building financial services to work as they should: no account fees, instantly available and accepted everywhere. In places where electricity, water and roads don't always function, we're creating financial infrastructure that "just works." In fall 2017, we launched a mobile app in Senegal for cash deposit, withdrawal, and peer-to-peer and business payments and in July 2019, we launched in Cote d'Ivoire. Our goal is to make Africa the first cashless continent.
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