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Neo-colonial credit: FinTech platforms in Africa

Langley, P.; Leyshon, A.

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Authors

A. Leyshon



Abstract

This paper makes a three-fold contribution to social science research into FinTech in Africa. First, we build on existing research into mobile payments to show how FinTech providers offer unsecured short-term credit products via mobile wallets. Second, we stress how the expansion of Africa’s FinTech economy is constituted through the distinctive platformization processes of platform capitalism. Third, we develop current work that highlights how the growth of FinTech in Africa rests on historically specific and geographically uneven conditions of racialized marginalization rooted in colonial legacies, and argue that FinTech is renewing and recasting colonial relations in the present. We show how FinTech platforms are assembled through neo-colonial corporate telecommunication, digital and data infrastructures that enrol differentiated populations previously excluded from formal financial relations under colonial regimes. Platforms are also revealed to extol a version of the modernizing and civilizing mission of the enlightened empowerment of individuals whilst simultaneously extracting rents through racialized expropriations. Illustration is provided throughout by in-depth case analysis of JUMO, a Cape Town-based FinTech firm that currently operates across six African countries.

Citation

Langley, P., & Leyshon, A. (2022). Neo-colonial credit: FinTech platforms in Africa. Journal of Cultural Economy, 15(4), 401-415. https://doi.org/10.1080/17530350.2022.2028652

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Jan 17, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 17, 2023
Journal Journal of Cultural Economy
Print ISSN 1753-0350
Electronic ISSN 1753-0369
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 4
Pages 401-415
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/17530350.2022.2028652

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