FinTech associations and network providers from more than 20 countries, including several in Africa, join Innotribe and Innovate Finance to form the Global FinTech Hubs Federation
Innotribe, SWIFT’s innovation arm, and Innovate Finance, the independent membership organisation for global FinTech, have announced the launch of the Global FinTech Hubs Federation (GFHF) to help foster innovation across the world’s financial services industry. To date, more than 20 countries – including South Africa, Kenya, Germany and Mexico, to name a few – are participating in the GFHF.
As an independent and inclusive global network of FinTech hubs, GFHF aims to fulfil the need within the international FinTech community to create a truly cross border and open platform that brings together established and emerging FinTech hubs. South Africa-based AlphaCode and Nest, a FinTech hub based in Nairobi, are present from the African continent, with more countries expected to join in the coming months.
The GFHF will provide a global voice and global stage for FinTech hubs, with participants gaining an influential point of engagement with international stakeholders and like-minded organisations from across the world. It will also facilitate access to key international events including Sibos, SWIFT’s annual conference, and exhibition and networking event for the financial industry, the Innovate Finance Global Summit, as well as accessing events hosted by GFHF participants.
The idea behind the initiative emerged from Sibos 2015, where Innotribe dedicated a session of its four day programme to the rise of FinTech hubs globally. With the increasing number of FinTech hubs over the last few years, every city wants to become the FinTech capital of the world. There is a strong battle for talent, startups and investment by economic financial centres.
“The fact that the GFHF initiative includes two major African FinTech hubs illustrates the increasing significance of African startups on the global FinTech scene,” said Hugo Smit, Head of Sub Sahara Africa. “The initiative will encourage growth and development in the sector. It builds upon the Startup Challenge for Africa launched in 2014 at the SWIFT African Regional Conference which showcases FinTech startups from across the region.”
The next Startup Challenge for Africa will be held at the SWIFT African Regional Conference in May 2017. SWIFT will work closely with GFHF members to help extend the reach of the competition and highlight a broad range of African FinTech companies.
The FinTech community in Africa welcomed the initiative. Participating South Africa-based FinTech AlphaCode said its vision is to pioneer the next frontier of financial services by identifying, partnering and growing extraordinary entrepreneurs.
“While FinTech is still in its infancy in South Africa, we have witnessed incredible growth in the number of innovative businesses solving consumer pain points. This is an indication of the opportunity and potential that exists in the industry. AlphaCode aims to be the epicentre of the FinTech ecosystem in Africa and through this initiative our entrepreneurs will create global networks and partnerships that foster collaboration and innovation. We hope that through the collaborative network we can learn from the development taking place in emerging markets and bring that learning and talent back to South Africa to fast-track solutions,” said Dominique Collett, Head of AlphaCode.
Nairobi based FinTech hub, Nest, is also fast becoming a pivotal player in the development of FinTech in Kenya and demonstrated great interest in the initiative: “GFHF is key to placing emerging African FinTech hubs on the map alongside New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong. These bridges to best practices and global experts will make a world of difference to FinTech innovators in Africa and allow the world to learn more about the exciting leapfrog technologies being born in financial services in Africa”
“As the FinTech sector develops globally, it has never been as important to encourage discussion and collaboration within the financial industry,” said Fabian Vandenreydt, Global Head of Securities Markets, Innotribe and The SWIFT Institute at SWIFT. “Being one of the premier global innovation platforms, SWIFT Innotribe looks forward to foster a bigger and stronger FinTech ecosystems through this initiative, bringing its expertise and leveraging its network for the benefit of the banking and startup communities.”
GFHF is open to participants that nurture the development of FinTech ecosystem in their region and abroad. The federation aims to democratically support global engagement, best practices and standardise knowledge across the sector, as well as build bridges and support member FinTech hubs.
Following the launch of the GFHF, different FinTech hubs will be invited to Sibos again this year, as a follow-up to Innotribe’s FinTech benchmark session in Singapore in 2015. The event will be organised in Geneva, from 26-29 September 2016. FinTech hubs are essential to create the right dynamic, approach and support to FinTech within the financial industry, and Sibos is the perfect occasion to deepen collaboration and debate.
The federation will also publish its inaugural report in the coming days. This report will establish the 2016 baseline for over 20 emerging and established FinTech hubs and will be developed in collaboration with Deloitte.
For more information about the federation, visit the new website: thegfhf.org