LONDON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Blossoming fintech growth in Brazil, Russia, across Africa and in Turkey looks so promising in the view of analysts at U.S. bank Citi that they have given them their very own acronym - the “BRATs”.
It is the latest twist on the BRICs label coined in the early 2000s, but with Brazilians and South Africans among the world’s most voracious internet users and smartphone sales booming across ‘BRAT’ countries, they may deserve their own tag.
BRATs also have lower-than-average dependence on cash, which helps the adoption of digital payment options, while there’s the simple fact that Brazil and Russia alone have populations of more than 200 million and 144 million respectively, making the potential growth huge.
Venture capital FinTech investments across Latin America rose more than 30 percent last year to around $200 million, with Brazil having the largest number of startups across payments, financial management, lending and investment.
Though smaller, Turkey’s young population and proximity to Europe and Asia give it an edge in terms of new tech adoption. Turkey’s total population is around 80 million.
South Africa’s speciality, Citi says, is micropayments - platforms for very small transactions.
Around 60 to 70 percent of the population in the BRATs already has some form of banking relationship, according to World Bank figures, in sharp contrast to other heavily populated emerging markets such as the Philippines and Indonesia, where the share remains tiny.
“This provides fintechs with a fertile ground as customers often just need to be converted to a more competitive product as opposed to being taught the broad array of financial products,” Citi analysts wrote.
These markets also have highly concentrated banking systems, making them ripe for disruption by newcomers such as Kenya’s mobile financial services firm M-Pesa, which has revolutionised payment systems in the country. (Reporting by Marc Jones and Helen Reid, Editing by Gareth Jones)