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FinTech in Sub-Saharan Africa: What Has Worked Well, and What Hasn't

David Yermack

NBER Working Paper No. 25007
Issued in September 2018
NBER Program(s):Development Economics, Law and Economics, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

The FinTech sector has begun to grow rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa. I document far greater adoption of social media, digital currency, ride sharing, and other FinTech applications in countries with a common law legal heritage compared to those with a civil law system, suggesting that legal origin plays a critical role in setting the stage for growth through entrepreneurship in the developing world. The electrical, telecom, and Internet infrastructure required for FinTech has been built out more extensively in common law countries. Financial inclusion outcomes are also better in emerging markets that have a common law heritage.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25007

 
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