Why B2B SaaS in Africa Depends on Local Payments to Sell

While entering the African market presents significant opportunities, B2B SaaS companies must understand the power of local payment methods to sell properly.

João Paulo Notini
June 07, 2023
6 min read
africa saas companies

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies has experienced tremendous growth, revolutionizing how businesses operate and manage their processes. This industry has become an integral part of various industries worldwide with its scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

Africa is a continent on the rise, with a rapidly expanding economy and a burgeoning tech scene. SaaS in Africa is poised for remarkable growth in the coming years, driven by increased internet penetration, rising mobile device usage, and the growing demand for digital transformation.

Yet, one of the most significant challenges for global B2B SaaS brands selling in Africa is called “payments.” In order to succeed, these companies must localize their checkout experience and accept local payments. Why? In this article, we’ll present the potential of Africa’s SaaS market and highlight the crucial role of alternative payment methods. 

Exploring Africa’s SaaS Market Potential

Africa’s SaaS market, similar to Latin America, presents vast untapped potential for B2B companies. The continent’s large and diverse population and increasing internet access provide a fertile ground for SaaS companies. Moreover, the rise of entrepreneurial ventures and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa fuels the demand for software solutions that streamline operations, boost productivity, and drive growth.

According to EBANX Beyond Borders 2022-2023 study, Africa’s SaaS & cloud markets are the second-fastest growing globally (CAGR 2021-2026 of 25%). Besides being the fastest-growing digital industry in the continent, they are above the global average growth and represent an important channel for business and innovation in the region.

Several global SaaS brands have already recognized the potential of the African market. They have gained a competitive edge by tailoring their solutions to meet the specific needs of African businesses. Some notable companies operating in Africa’s B2B SaaS market include:

  • Microsoft Azure: Microsoft Azure is a leading cloud computing platform offering a wide range of global SaaS solutions to businesses. With a strong African presence, Microsoft Azure provides scalable and secure cloud services to help regional companies drive their digital transformation.
  • Salesforce: Salesforce is a renowned customer relationship management (CRM) platform that enables businesses to manage their sales, marketing, and customer service operations. Salesforce has expanded its presence in Africa, offering its CRM solutions to companies looking to enhance customer engagement and improve operational efficiency.
  • SAP: SAP is a global leader in enterprise software solutions, offering a comprehensive suite of business applications. With a focus on Africa’s digital transformation, SAP provides scalable ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM, and analytics solutions to help businesses streamline their operations and drive growth.

Opportunities for Global B2B SaaS Companies

Africa’s local SaaS market offers significant opportunities for both local and international players. The continent’s unique characteristics and evolving business landscape present several areas of growth and potential:

  • Digital Transformation: Africa is undergoing rapid digital transformation, with businesses across various sectors seeking to digitize their processes and improve their competitiveness. SaaS providers can seize the opportunity by offering digital transformation solutions that help companies to automate workflows, enhance customer experiences, and drive growth.
  • Infrastructure Development: As Africa’s digital infrastructure continues to improve, there is a growing need for SaaS solutions. Providers can explore partnerships with local telecommunications companies and internet service providers to enhance connectivity and deliver seamless SaaS experiences.
  • Cross-Border Collaboration: African businesses increasingly collaborate and trade across borders. SaaS providers can facilitate this cross-border collaboration by offering solutions that support multi-country operations, local languages, and compliance with different regulatory frameworks.
  • SMEs and Startups: Africa has a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, with a surge in SMEs and startups. These businesses often need more resources and cost-effective SaaS solutions to streamline operations. Providers can tap into this growing market segment by offering affordable and scalable SaaS options.

The Importance of Local Payments in Africa

While entering the African market presents significant opportunities, B2B SaaS companies must understand and address the unique challenges associated with cross-border transactions in Africa. 

First, it is crucial to consider that 97% of the African population doesn’t have a credit card, as reported by the World Bank. Unstable currencies, complex regulations, and diverse payment preferences are other challenges. Therefore, offering local payment methods is crucial to B2C and B2B sales in the African market. 

Regarding local payment methods in Africa, the most popular category is mobile money transfers. Africa accounts for nearly 70% of the volume and more than half of mobile money users worldwide. 

internet mobile traffic growth in Africa
Source: Beyond Borders 2022-2023 study

With one of the highest smartphone penetration rates worldwide, successful mobile money and real-time payment method examples in Africa include OZOW and RTC in South Africa, NIBSS in Nigeria, Pesalink in Kenya, and GHIPSS in Ghana. 

So, how to offer these payment methods and enhance your SaaS sales experience?

Payment Solutions for SaaS in Africa and other emerging markets

By integrating local payment solutions within an all-in-one payments platform, EBANX supports B2B SaaS companies in improving customer satisfaction and conversion rates in emerging markets, including the most prominent African countries. We help you overcome regulatory and operational barriers ensuring compliance and a smooth payment experience. 

Our cross-border payment platform supports multiple African currencies and reduces transaction costs, benefiting businesses and customers. So, here’s a glimpse of what we offer:

  • High Tickets solution: EBANX has an exclusive and the only B2B payment solution for high-ticket SaaS sales (above USD 10,000) available in the market.
  • +100 payment methods: available across 18 countries in Latin America and Africa, including alternative payment methods such as mobile money, instant payments, and digital wallets.
  • Recurring payments: recurring payments tailored for multiple subscription models and the ability to receive in multiple currencies and payment methods.
  • Local support: first-class support to your business 24/7 and in different time zones, and an end-user payment support
  • Payouts: single and mass payouts to any stakeholder, including suppliers, partners, sellers, etc

And much more!

Are you ready to embrace the Africa SaaS market opportunity and gain the competitive advantage you need?

Learn more about EBANX solutions for SaaS

Discover EBANX payment solutions in Africa

Learn more about our solution and get ready to build a long-term digital payment

João Paulo Notini
João Paulo Notini
Senior Content Marketing | Cross-Border operations at EBANX

Learn more about our solution and get ready to build a long-term digital payment

Learn more about our solution and get ready to build a long-term digital payment

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