Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

PayPal wants partnerships with mobile money operators to grow its exposure to Africa’s unbanked population, says Efi Dahan, the Nasdaq-listed group’s general manager for Russia, Middle East and Africa.

PayPal’s digital money transfer unit Xoom has partnered with African mobile money service providers in the past, as part of the group's efforts to target the remittances market.

"We want to expand our business across the unbanked population. It’s a success story in Africa and we want to do more collaborations with these kinds of players," Dahan said.

PayPal was also implementing initiatives to stimulate the growth of online shopping in Africa, he said. This included absorbing the cost of returning goods, an otherwise expensive process for consumers and retailers from the US. "Once we removed that barrier we saw incremental sales, because once I don’t have any issues with the return and I know that someone will pay, this is good for the merchant," said Dahan.

"The big fashion retailers globally offer this kind of service, so we want to do what the best players are doing… And more consumers are buying because we removed this pain point."

PayPal says it will cover a user’s return shipping costs up to 12 times a year.

Most people were unlikely to return goods that frequently, Dahan said.

According to a 2017 DHL report, global cross-border retail volumes are likely to grow at an annual average rate of 25% between 2015 and 2020.

PayPal expects online sales in SA to reach R53bn in 2018, from R37bn in 2016.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za