Africa seeks to unlock huge untapped real-time payments potential – ACI Worldwide Report

Cape Town, South Africa–(BUSINESS WIRE)–African countries are turning to real-time payments to drive economic growth and financial inclusion, according to the 3rd edition of Prime Time for real time 2022, published by ACI Worldwide, (NASDAQ: ACIW), in partnership with GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, and the Center for Economics and Business Research. The report, which tracks real-time payments volumes and growth in 53 countries, includes an economic impact study for the first time, providing a comprehensive view of the economic benefits of real-time payments for consumers, businesses and economy in general in 30 countries. The report covers all G20 countries except Russia. *

Research shows that governments that advance the real-time modernization of their national payments infrastructure create a win-win situation for all stakeholders in the payments ecosystem: consumers and businesses benefit from fast payment services, frictionless and hyper-connected, financial institutions prove their business in a highly competitive environment by accelerating cloud and data-centric modernization, and national governments drive economic growth, shrink the size of their underground economy, and create a system fairer financial situation for all.

Africa Regional Highlights

South Africa

  • Real-time payments have failed to gain traction despite having been available for over 15 years. And accounted for just 0.8% of the country’s total payments in 2021.

  • Transaction volumes in 2021 were 123 million, and are expected to reach 499 million by 2026, representing a CAGR of 32.4%.

  • Real-time payments accounted for $15 million in economic output, or 0.003% of formal GDP in 2021, rising to $183 million and 0.03% of projected GDP in 2026, respectively.


  • Unlike South Africa, Nigeria’s decade-long relationship with real-time payments has evolved into Africa’s most developed and successful real-time payments system.

  • In 2021, the country recorded 3.7 billion real-time transactions in 2021, resulting in estimated cost savings of $296 million for businesses and consumers – unlocking $3.2 billion dollars of additional economic output, which represents 0.67% of the country’s GDP.

  • With real-time transactions expected to reach 8.8 billion in 2026, net savings for consumers and businesses are expected to climb to $2.3 billion, helping to generate an additional $6 billion in economic output, or 1. 01% of the country’s economic output. Forecast GDP.

  • According to Cebr, the theoretical impact of all payments in Nigeria in real time could add 4.4% to formal GDP by 2026. This does not mean that there is no more room for non-electronic payments. instant or paper payments.

Despite the mixed success of the few existing real-time payment systems, Africa remains a continent of untapped potential, with 20 states lacking any real-time payment system in 2021.

“Africa is in an ideal position to capitalize on lessons learned from other countries and continents and maximize the impact and benefits of real-time payments,” said Santhosh Rao, Head of Middle East, Africa and South Asia, ACI Worldlarge. “There is a renewed appetite and enthusiasm across the continent to increase financial inclusion and use real-time payments to build the continent’s future digital economies.”

“Real-time transactions and growth forecasts continue to increase globally, with emerging countries like India leading the way and overtaking developed countries. As governments around the world particularly step up their interventions in Real-time payments are seen as the primary enabler of economic growth and prosperity, providing consumers and businesses with cheaper, faster and more efficient payment methods.” Jeremy Wilmot, Product Manager, ACI Worldwide. “In India, payments are increasingly integrated with non-financial digital apps and services as customers seek a hyper-connected and frictionless user experience,” continued Jeremy Wilmot.

“By enabling the transfer of money between parties in seconds rather than days, real-time payments improve overall market efficiency in the economy,” commented Owen Good, Head of Consulting, Center for Economics and Business Research. “Real-time payments improve the liquidity of the financial system and therefore work as a catalyst for economic growth. This is particularly important for our fast-moving, digital-driven gig economies. enables better financial planning. Businesses have more flexibility and reduce the need for cumbersome cash management.”

“Developing countries continue to drive the majority of real-time volume gains, confirming the industry trend of strongest growth coming from economies with minimal existing electronic payments infrastructure, and therefore greater reliance on cash,” said Sam Murrant, Principal Analyst, GlobalData. “Amidst all this activity, mobile in its many forms will shape the trajectory of real-time payments for developing markets. India provides the model for integrating mobile wallet with real-time payment systems under- Mobile will remain the primary form factor in developed countries. However, we may see the involvement of banks remaining more behind wallets.”

Prime Time Real Time Report 2022 – All World Figures at a Glance

GlobalData – Real-Time Payments Growth:



Real-time transactions made worldwide

118.3 billion

427.7 billion

Annual growth



Five countries with the highest volume of real-time payment transactions


48.6 billion


18.5 billion


9.7 billion


8.7 billion

South Korea

7.4 billion

CAGR 2021 – 2026

Top 5 fastest growing real-time markets (where the share of instant payments in all electronic payments was 10% in 2021)











Top fastest growing real-time transactions by regions

South and Central America


Middle East, Africa and South Asia


North America




Asia Pacific


Real-time economic impact of Cebr:



Aggregated net savings for consumers and businesses facilitated by real-time payments in the 30 countries observed

US$46.6 billion

US$184.0 billion

Formal GDP facilitated by real-time payments

US$78.4 billion

(equivalent to 0.10% of the combined GDP of the 30 countries)

US$173.0 billion

(equivalent to 0.19% of the projected combined GDP of the 30 countries)

Overall number of jobs needed to produce an equivalent level of output

4.9 million jobs

10.3 million jobs

India, Brazil, China, Thailand, South Korea – business and consumer benefits

US$37.0 billion combined

US$164.6 billion combined

India, Brazil, China, Thailand, South Korea – formal GDP supported by real-time:

US$54.6 billion

(Equivalent to 0.23% of the combined GDP of the five countries or the equivalent output of 4.2 million workers)

US$131.7 billion

(Eequivalent to 0.43% of the projected combined GDP of the five countries, or the equivalent output of 9.0 million workers)

US, Canada, UK, France, Germany – business and consumer benefits

US$2.1 billion combined

US$5.5 billion combined

US, Canada, UK, France, Germany – formal GDP supported by real-time:

7.3 billion

(Equivalent to 0.02% of the combined GDP of the five countries, or the equivalent output of 70.4 million workers)

13.9 billion

(Equivalent to 0.04% of the combined projected GDP of the five countries, or the equivalent output of 118.9 million workers)

GlobalData – Consumer Payments Modernization:


More than half of consumers worldwide now own and use a mobile wallet:

52.7 1%

up 12.1% over two years since 2019 (Covid-19 impact), and 33.8% since 2018

GlobalData – Fraud Trends



Online card detail theft cases decrease – 2021 saw a slight decrease in cases



Cases of card details stolen or skimmed in person are also down – 2021 saw a decrease in cases



Digital wallet account hacks, identity theft, and instances of social engineering are on the rise. Percentage of total number of fraud cases:



Digital wallet account hack



Identity theft



Social engineering



*Note to editors: in the absence of a solid data set, Russia was not included in Cebr’s economic impact study.

About ACI Worldwide

ACI Worldwide is a global leader in mission-critical real-time payment software. Our proven, secure and scalable software solutions enable large enterprises, fintechs, financial disruptors and merchants to process and manage digital payments, power omni-commerce payments, present and process bill payments and manage fraud and risk. We combine our global footprint with a local presence to drive the real-time digital transformation of payments and commerce.

© Copyright ACI Worldwide, Inc. 2022

ACI, ACI Worldwide, ACI Payments, Inc., ACI Pay, Speedpay and all ACI product/solution names are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACI Worldwide, Inc., or one of its affiliates, under the United States, other countries, or both. Trademarks of other referenced parties are the property of their respective owners.

Back To Top