Case Report: Fintech and motorcycle platform services in Cape Town, South Africa: legacy capital, retail extension and growing experimentation

This case report by Alicia Fortuin, as part of the Platform Politics and Silicon Savannah project, explores fintech and motorcycle platform services in Cape Town, South Africa.

There is a strong sense of colonial and European influence in Cape Town, particularly in the city centre. The tall buildings accommodate legacy capital and it is here that financial services abound. Many of the digital startups in Cape Town are found in the 400-year-old central business district. One bank building opposite another, fintech startup offices overlooking each other, the city is considered one of the fintech capitals of the African continent.

Supported by digital strategy investment by the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government, there are booming partnerships, alliances, and interdependencies among legacy financial institutions and new, innovative fintech operations in sectors such as digital payments and cryptocurrency. In the shade of the city’s tall buildings, one can often see groups of motorcycle riders waiting for their next delivery to pop up on their smartphones. While motorcycles are not used for pillion commuting, as in other African cities, they are a common sight delivering packages across the city. This is a growing urban economy made possible by the alliances of fintech and legacy retailers.