Fintech and Service provision for African ‘Relocat-ists’: Design considerations

An animation download by Jill Franklin for ‘Team catch Flights not Feelings’

User experience(UX) and design are a fundamental component of a product’s success.

Making a lasting impression once in the consumer’s hands and then capitalising on the consumer’s experience is an essential part of customer retention for any service provider.

With that said, could the same principles be used to make feasible consideration points for a move to a new location.

Human movement around the world during the better part of the year 2020 was disrupted in ways that were unpredictable risk factors for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa and around the world. Change can leave you facing great opportunity or staring down a barrel of poor past decisions.

An emerging user group with purchasing power and influence in Africa are Millennials and early Gen-Z demographics. Understanding their use cases and then finding a way to effectively communicate information in a manner that users can easily interact is essential.

This demographic has had influence and soon the consumer power to impact change in ways that initially took longer to achieve. This has been evident in African political reform outliers that captivated an international audience such as the Arab Spring, Sudanese Civil War, and most recently, the disbanding of Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Nigeria which capitalised on the traction from #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. The utilisation of social media to encourage participation globally and in turn drive change is a phenomenal occurrence throughout the continent.

Financial services are heavily information based and data management drives product design for different financial needs. Acquiring and utilising the continuous balance of customer’s demand and quality deliverance is a business strategy that service providers accross different sectors have had to adapt and design for in order to survive.

Design also requires consideration of human psychology for the feature design to translate into user utilisation.

Understanding the needs for the age group born from 1981–1996 is hard enough and then intertwining the African culture norms that influence this demographics decisions around personal finance milestones and social expectations is the problem that Financial service providers face in Africa. Tackling these design constraints for a service based business with creativity is a difficult problem to scope. If one adds the interesting fact that this demographic has made global trotting and travelling a lifestyle choice in some cases and a necessity in other life milestones it gives the problem a new layer of complexity.

Some of the considerations from my short term experience with data management, business intelligence and working for a start-up solving SMEs financial service problems for African Market businesses; definitely brings reflection on the challenges I have faced in that market myself. Having been part of the census of this demographic’s age group I drilled down to the following points:

  • With the rise of previously disadvantaged groups being included in economic activities through intentional initiatives; African policy makers have seen a rise of outlier cases in the financial sector. They have had to rethink their means of engagement to include a more technically savvy community.
  • This greatly impacts the turn of product specifications, features and adaption requirements from companies who thought their consumer fits into one box.
  • Recognising the friction and pain points that efficient innovation experiences in growing market could lead to positive or negative returns.
  • Market share in companies that maximise on the provision for African millennials taking on expatriate lifestyle choices in their personal finance journeys earlier rather than later requires consideration of features for international travel, easier foreign transactions with low cost and traceable money flow products.
  • Lastly, if lessons from the pandemic are to be learned, adequate information to customers in a timely manner is an essential requirement for customers, now more than ever.

Adding these 5 points into consideration for service and product design could be the extra niche that enables survival in these economic slump days to come.

Taking time to recognise the intersections of socio-economic changes that have impacted the world and affected people is important as well.

A product or service without empathy, is a heartless space on any shelf for any consumer.

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Fintech || Immigration || Relocation

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