The future of fintech in Africa

The rise of digitalization on the African continent is one of the main factors behind the increase in financial inclusion.

Long perceived as the bank of the underprivileged, microfinance has historically targeted a large clientele excluded from traditional financing channels. Today, the reality of microfinance is that it is a mature market, conducive to the emergence of credible financial institutions alongside traditional players, particularly in Africa.

A sector in full transformation

The microfinance ecosystem today is very different from what it was in its early days and holds significant potential for growth and innovation. Indeed, the total outstanding amount of African Microfinance Institutes (MFIs) has grown by 56% since 2012 and a 46% increase in the number of borrowers over the same period in 2018 (Microfinance Barometer 2019, Convergences). In this context, MFIs are now at a key stage of their development, and find themselves facing the same issues as banking institutions: the need to optimize their business processes, find commercial differentiation strategies, meet the challenges of digitization of work methods… Like traditional banks, they are looking for continuous improvement of their productivity and face technological challenges. However, some of these challenges are unique to them. Indeed, the specific characteristics of microfinance, such as its alternative distribution networks, its clientele, etc. require technological solutions adapted to the reality of the field. The future of microfinance is based on a strategy of refocusing on the client and can only be built on the basis of innovative technological partnerships that enable a greater diversity of services to be offered while limiting risks and reinforcing the security of operations. For technology players, this is an area that promises to develop rapidly and promisingly.

Fintechs: opportunities to seize

The rise of digitalization on the African continent is one of the main factors behind the increase in financial inclusion. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 42.6% of the adult population had an account in 2017 compared to only 23.2% in 2011 (Source: Global Findex 2017). A trend observed over the past 10 years that continues and represents a unique opportunity. Yet, the microfinance sector is a fertile ground for experimentation. More flexible, pragmatic and often subject to lighter regulatory constraints, MFIs are generally more agile than the traditional banking sector. Their appetite for digital is a great opportunity for experimentation that will allow new solutions to emerge.

In fact, it is likely that the process of technological diffusion will be reversed in the future: MFIs will no longer be content to follow in the wake of banks, but will be the laboratories for technological advances and the creation of innovative solutions that will then benefit traditional banks. These are all issues that fintechs would benefit from taking on, especially since the technological maturity of microfinance is still in the “completion” phase, which has yet to develop. However, due to their history and implementation, fintechs have a place to take as true strategic partners to support the development of these institutions.

In Africa, microfinance has a strong potential for growth and development in terms of diversified digital solutions. Relying on MFIs would allow fintechs to consolidate their achievements in countries where they are already active, while reaching out to new customers. As microfinance is in essence a vector of positive values (social promotion, solidarity, economic development, etc.), it represents a differentiating factor for fintechs compared to the competition, while also providing a motivating environment for their employees.

Source : https://www.journaldunet.com/economie/finance/1502531-microfinance-et-l-avenir-des-fintechs-en-afrique/


How to make up for a mistake at work?

No matter how qualified you are, it is not impossible for you to make a mistake at work. This could turn into a nightmare if not handled properly. You can for example mix up the address of an order, or the recipient of a confidential mail, in brief,  you just didn’t do what you were asked to… When everybody makes mistakes at work, the ways however to handle them or to make up for them can be different. Here are some tips to save faces.

Keep your cool…

When you happen to make a mistake at your workplace, there is no need for you to panic because no matter what the consequences of that mistake could be, going into panic mode will not solve the issue. Tell yourself that everybody makes mistakes and panicking would only make things worse. It is obviously naural to feel embarrassed and stressed out about admitting that you made a mistake. But the faster you act on it, the better it will go. It is useless to just bury your head in the sand. If  you manager was informed about the situation quickly enough, there would be more time for him to get involved and minimize the damages. If your mistake can have repercussions then confess immediately. It will stop it from getting any bigger and leading to serious consequences. However if it’s a little mistake you can handle it yourself, no need to bring it up.

Don’t point fingers at anyone…

There is nothing that upsets a boss more than an employee who doesn’t own up to his responsibility. That is the reason why, the moment you realize you have made a mistake, take full responsibility and confess your wrongs. Show your manager that you are aware of your mistake and that you have learned from your lesson. Do not point fingers at anyone by any means. If, for example, you didn’t quite understand the instructions, admit it. Owning to your mistakes is proof of maturity.

Present solutions to correct your errors 

It is not just about admitting your wrongs. You must also commit to finding solutions to the problems that you have created. Presenting solutions to correct the errors will show your manager that you are really genuinely sorry. Do not hesitate to ask your colleagues for some help. It will prove that you really want to fix the problem. You must then learn from your mistakes. Take the time to explain what have happened, what you have learned from it and how you will use it to do better in the future. In short, communicate. That could work on your favor.

Don’t beat yourself over it 

If you continue feeling guilty about it, it could hurt your self-esteem and make you question yourself. Know that most of the time, talented workers make mistakes and that doesn’t take away their skills. Moreover, you must know that in many situations, you are a link in a series of events. “A mistake is never solely the fault of the person who did it, the organization and the procedure that had been put in place are also to blame. Reason why it is important for managers to get with the person who made the mistake and go through the series of events that led to the error” argues specialist Jean-François Thiriet. So basically, stop beating yourself over it and move on peacefully.


How to become a successful negociater as a salesman ?

Having salesmen with great negociation skills is a recipe for success for a company. The art of negociaion is not limited to the world of sales only actually. It touches all parts of life, from the life of a couple, a life of politics, to a life in business or even a family life. Nowadays, the fact that they are plenty of training courses aiming at maximizing the chances of being a good negotiator in terms of business, is proof of how important it is especially for a salesman for who it represents a good deal. For salesmen in deed, having a successful negociation means managing to establish a long lasting relationship with the clients and the partners. It is therefore crucial for the salesman to be on top of the game when it comes to negociation so he can fully understand it and find ways to improve the skills in that department.


Good negociation comes with good preparation

The first thing you need to know is that as a salesman, it is essential to be rightfully prepared before you start a process of negociation. To do so you will need specific coaching and management from salesmen managers. This would mean for a salesman who cares about being the best at négociations, to be fully prepared and know the product perfectly, the market and the needs of potential clients. The preparation requires a certain analytical mind, an intellectual curiosity, reasoning skills especially when the negotiations are about a specific subject.

Knowing how to improve and develop your emotional intelligence

As a part of the soft skills intelligence, emotional intelligence is something very important especially in  negotiation. Emotional intelligence comes with control of yourself and your emotions in order to handle negotiations in the best conditions. This quality comes handy in situations where you find it hard to close a deal with a client. Self-confidence and empathy are more than needed in that type of situation. The best negotiators are the ones with the best emotional intelligence. It can be improved by getting coaches that will give you training and specific advices. Also, determination and a strong will to persuade are very important qualities that facilitators look for.It does not mean that salesman who don’t have those qualities are not good negociators. It is never too late to overcome our own weakness by planing specific tactics to do so.

You can also read Ways to successfully and truthfully explain gaps in your CV during an interview ?


Ways to successfully and truthfully explain gaps in your CV during an interview ?

It is common for a professional to notice in the CV of the candidate, what we usually call a « gap » in the career path of the latter,  during the process of a job interview. Beyond a pure conjecture this embarrassing situation that appear as inconsistency in the career, whether it is true or not, is actually quite common. It does ring a bell especially knowing that majority of people have had that happened at least once in their lives. A gap in employment can be due to many factors. It could be due to a maternity leave. Or again to a personal project like trying to start a business for example. Finally, it could be the result of a contract breach that both parties agreed on and that led to a year leave. Either way, whatever the nature is, a gap in employment is always something that requires some logical explanation unless you want to fail the interview. But how exactly do you go around it without making a mistake? We will try to give an answer to that question in the following paragraphs.

Justifying a gap in your CV by making a coherent plan ?

First thing first, one of the smartest techniques used to explain a gap in your CV is by setting up a coherent plan that would fit with you career path or working experiences. It is crucial because you can be sure that the recruiter will not take lightly the words you choose to justify the gap in your CV. It is obviously a determining factor in the profile of the future employee.

Avoid lying to explain a gap in your CV by all means.

Because they want their interview to be successful some people are tempted to systematically lie to justify an existing gap in their CV. That type of behavior that consists of lying to justify in bad faith those times of inactivities or to change the dates of employments can end up having the opposite effect because if they find out about it, the candidate will lose any chance of having a successful interview. This is why it is very important to be honest when you are trying to explain a gap in the CV. Also, whatever the reason why your career was interrupted at some point of your life, be brief about your personal life. It really is the number one rule.

Use your cover letter to be ahead on the justifications

Contrary to popular misconceptions, a gap in the CV does not mean that you will not have a successful interview. Your cover letter can come handy when trying to anticipate on the questions you will probably get at the interview. It can help overcoming any concern the employer might have. Be honest no matter what and have a persuasive presentation. Make the person you’re speaking to know that what you were doing during your time of inactivity is not the proof of an incoherent behavior but rather the proof of an existing sense of initiative and determination. Taking this type of approach will help you gain some points and convince the employer that you are the best candidate for that position…Making an obstacle turn into an advantage will therefore show how good of a master mind you are.

You can also read Occupational burnout, an unknown disorder in Africa


Professional retraining in Africa

A good amount of the workers who are not really open to venture to unknown lands,  feel a certain way about contemplating the idea of doing a professional retraining. Whether it is about being afraid to explore the unknown, to step out of their comfort zone or an instinctive search for professional security, professional retraining is not something very popular among workers in Africa and anywhere else in the world.

Change your career to take control of your life

A professional retraining consists of a change of career or work status but more than anything it is about taking your life under control which requires obviously to be someone rather audacious and able to go to the unknown. However, the number of people who are making radical changes in their career, not to mention those who are only talking about it, has risen up this last decade and it keeps growing. According to a study published by Opinion Way in 2016, on “professional retraining” 68% of active workers have considered seriously changing their life and 31% said that they did it at least one time already. Such a decision that is solely based on the desire to take one’s life in controle can’t happen without a change of environment or occupation.


Agriculture: the most popular field in Africa for workers undergoing a professional retraining

In Africa, the issue of migration in addition to a job market getting more and more overloaded make many workers turn to professional retraining. When it comes to investment, Africa still is the continent that offers the most possibilities for investors unlike Europe or the United States where almost all sectors have had some. That is the reason why people who are considering undergoing a professional retraining have plenty of areas to choose from to change their career. Agriculture happen to be a very profitable sector that offers many investment opportunities and job creations. Many professionals who are tired of their jobs or looking to have more independence in their professional lives are going into the agriculture business in Africa. That happen to be the case for the ex professional football player Ferdinand Coly who traded his football boots for a career in agriculture in his home country.

The obstacles that come with undergoing a professional retraining

Just like any adventure in life, a professional retraining is an exciting experience but yet stressful. In Africa, many workers that have the objective of going into a professional retraining sometimes have issues finding the appropriate training that meet with the criterion they have set. Another thing that make a professional retraining difficult in Africa is the funding of a professional activity. In many African countries, the Government have put in place many structures to fund those who want to engage in something or undergo a professional retraining. However they are yet to be efficient. Because of the sense of uncertainty that come with taking this type of decision and the issues mentioned earlier, many people would rather stay in the comfort of what they have instead of going to the unknown. Still, African professionals are being more and more aware of the fact that a change of career is an opportunity rather than an issue related to unemployment.


You can also read Team spirit development in a company: What solutions do the managers have?


What do the young executives want?

It would seem absurd for the recruiter to pay attention to the demands of young executives knowing that we are in a job market where the demand widely exceeds the supply. However, this approach is necessary for employers that want to hire the best profiles in order to have high quality human resources. For that, it is crucial to put your co-workers in the best working condition where their career aspirations are taken into consideration. Between developing a good network to having top notch missions, a personal life preserved, young executives have a wide range of demands. 

A rather rich professional network…

It is not a secret anymore. A good professional network is something that is very important for a young executive. A recent survey has actually proven that to be true by saying that 94% of young executives rely on their professional network.It is the reason why they never stop from growing their network. Whether it is internships in companies, traineeship, or vocational training, young executives never get enough of developing a good professional network that would help get their career to the next level. Basically, it is all about getting on field experience and skills that would make their profiles more appealing.

Getting interesting missions…

Beyond the financial consideration, young executives do need to feel empowered in the company unlike popular belief that the salary is the only thing that matter to them. According to the result of a recent survey from Ifop for Cadremploi, 79% of young executives under 35 feel that way and are opened about it with their elders. Managing to get an interesting mission is proof of a certain commitment to the functioning of the company. The young executives put a particular value to that decision that shows that the company have faith in them.

A rather flexible career plan…

You can also read How to exploit the new skills brought by the talents of the diaspora?


Unlike older executives, the younger ones are more opened to the idea of a professional retraining and show more flexibility to the possibility of bringing a change to their professional career. According to a BVA study, 81% of executives under 35 think that they could be led to switch professions (against 66% of executives altogether).  To a lesser extent, 58% of them are opened to do temporary work. 44% of the under 35 think that they could be led to change their status at one point of their career (against 33% of the 35-49 years old and 19% of the over 50). Finally, more than the other young people in general (70%), young executives say being ready to start a business of their own (81%). Also, a recent study solely focused on the aspirations of executives under 35 in general. It showed that 8 out of 10 executives worry about their career success on a daily basis, 70% of them have a optimistic view of their professional future despite plenty of bottlenecks here and there that have been noticed in the job market.


Africa- Talents Repats Vs Local Talents

The term repats refers to the continent’s youngster who left their home country to continue their studies in Western Universities and wish to find good opportunities that would allow them to come back to Africa after the years of experience they have gained back in those places. This new wave of mostly trained professionals represent a pot of gold for local companies that are struggling to find loads of ready to work professionals in the continent.

Like majority of Sub-saharan countries, the job market in Senegal is increasingly looking for people with advanced skilled and advanced technicality which the young professionals from the continent are missing due to vocational trainings that are most of the time too theoretical or too academic and consequently unfit to the reality of the country. Those youngsters who stayed in the continent will have to compete with the repats that had the privilege of developing their skills in multinationals and having a taste of a more competitive working environment. When the repats on one side are very much aware of what it would mean to sell their international experiences to the continent based companies, the locals on the other side can barely realise that in the end, they will be reduced to doing staff support or administration positions if they don’t do an assessment to identify their strengths and develop their expertise.

We have noticed 4 essential habits to adopt in order to keep one’s employment value as we grow a career in a competitive and demanding environment.

Get training

Needless to say that vocational training is the foundation of a successful professional career. Presently thanks to the internet you can find several specialization under the acronym MOOC. Those vocational training are made by professors from prestigious universities and sometimes necessite a few dollars in exchange for a full access to knowledge. Platforms like Coursera Udemy or edX allow you to have unlimited access to high quality ressources and certifications at the end of each course.

Be informed

Information is power! For a full understanding of the issues that the companies based in the Continent are facing, you need to listen and therefore participate in fairs, conventions, open houses or just do some chatting with friends and acquaintances that happen to work in those places so you can know the skills they are looking for and how you could anticipate their needs and consequently make a good impression at the job interview. 

Have a good understanding of the environment

If there is something that the repats do not really have is a good knowledge of the environment. After spending years away from the Continent and its issues, they are not aware of the environment in which the companies are evolving. It would be wise for the locally based professional to sell his knowledge of the environment and its challenges on the results of the company. It would be a major advantage because it will show that you have skills in understanding and analyzing your environment.

Work on your branding-

If you have all the necessary skills, you will then need to be able to sell yourself. You will need to know the product (yourself) and always display it at its best. Not being able to sell our best product just because we don’t know it well enough would be sad.

Basically, the repats that are entering the job market on the Continent, represent a wake up call for the young local professionals who will need to develop their skills up to an international standing, just like professionals from the rest of the world, so they can be up to competition and remain relevant in a globalized environment.


How to write a Personal Development Plan for your career

A Personal Development Plan (PDP) is for most of organizations, like a map that would lead to the development of a career and stimulate the employees. PDP is a tool that helps professionals to set  career goals and develop the skills to do so. Currently, Managers use it to help their teams grow by connecting the opportunities within the organization with the skills acquired by the associates throughout the years. Clearly PDP is not about correcting performances because it has to be focused on the qualities of the employee so it can develop his potential, allowing him to grow in the organization.

A personal development plan primarily focused on two approaches: the first one is about all the  new skills and expertise that are necessary to guarantee the performance of an employee beyond his current position, the second one is about using the actual qualities and dispositions of that specific employee to not only identify his specific abilities but also use them to seize an opportunity for career development within the organization.

the PDP structure is different from one organization to the other, but most of the time, it is elaborated around 5 steps.

Setting goals for the 3 next years to come.

This step is about giving an opportunity for the associate to think about his own goals and identify the real prospects within the organization. It is also an incentive because the associate will project himself in the future.

Identifying the qualities that are specific and exploitable

It is about spotting 2 or 3 of the biggest qualities of a co-worker and look for ways to use them for his own development. For example, an associate who is an accountant with good abilities in project management could be involved in the implementation of some specific projects that are not really part of his job description but will help him show his skills.

Identifying growth opportunities in relation to the needs of the organization

This step will require to identify all the opportunities that will allow the employee to use all his specific abilities and skills not only for his own benefit but also for the benefit of the organisation. All the opportunities will have to be relevant to allow an increase of the performance of the organization.


It is not all about developing the PDP, but mostly about using it wisely and putting all the efforts that are necessary to its achievement. The commitment of the Manager and the associate are essential to the process. Both parties will need to put their signatures to show their agreement and commitment. 

PDP Assessment and Correction

The final step of the PDP development is about regularly assessing its relevancy value and adjusting its content in compliance with the different developments that happened during the year. The assessment also helps to measure the progress of the associates in terms of reaching their goals.

PDP is not a legal document used as a way to compel the Manager and his associate. However it is an important tool to use in career management which requires for the Manager and his associate to have a lot of time in their hands to take all the necessary actions to establish it. The lack of commitment will undermine the relevance of such a tool and create frustrations. The PDP is an excellent asset to use in the stimulation, the development and the planning of the organization. 

Luc Herve ZOK


The keys to becoming an excellent Manager in Africa

Manager in Africa – Management theories have changed since Frederick Winslow Taylor’s work on « The Principles of Scientific Management ». He based his work on the fact that having people work hard was not as useful as maximizing the way the work is done.


Green jobs in Africa

With an ever growing population, Green jobs in Africa will most likely be the alternative to turn down the unemployment rate in the upcoming years. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), this ecological transition will