FinTech is accelerating the digital transformation of banking in Africa

FinTech is accelerating the digital transformation of banking in Africa say more than 200 international experts gathered at the Finnovation Ethiopia event – but highlight that collaboration is the way forward

Due to their potent blend of trail‐blazing technology and disruptive innovation, FinTech players are positively impacting the digital transformation of financial services in Africa and, in turn, further spurring incumbent banks to rapidly ramp‐up their own innovation initiatives to meet the financial needs of under‐served markets across the continent.

Finnovation Africa: Ethiopia 2017 opened today at the Radisson Blu Addis Ababa, where more than 200 international FinTech experts together with African pioneers, investors, entrepreneurs and leading bankers, gathered to harness the FinTech revolution to boost strategic economic priorities such as financial inclusion and deepening – and how FinTech can make a positive and profitable difference in Africa. The event also explored how the major banks and financial institutions on the continent are addressing the digital transformation of financial services; and how their own digital innovations are being shaped and accelerated as a result of the gathering momentum of FinTech disruptors.

FinTech players are increasingly becoming an important part of the fabric of Africa’s financial services ecosystem and the leading banks on the continent are now more urgently seeking to harness technology innovations, collaborate with FinTech start‐ups, and create a platform to scale much faster – to make digital financial services pay. Across Africa huge game‐changing leaps are currently taking place which are transforming economies on the continent. The impact of Blockchain, Open Banking, Mobile Money and Payments innovation are radically transforming the financial services landscape as FinTech disruptors intensify the challenge to incumbent banks in Africa and kickstart new opportunities. The unique environment for financial services in Africa is fertile ground for innovative FinTech players who are capitalizing on the opportunities to disrupt or leapfrog established business models to make financial services more affordable, accessible and profitable across the continent.

Finnovation Africa: Ethiopia 2017 welcomed a stellar line-up of keynote speakers, including Chris Principe, CEO of Chain2Trade, Inc. and publisher of FinFuture & Financial IT; Mountaga Diop, Founder & CEO of BelCash; Chidi Okpala, Group Managing Director of FinTech at Atlas Mara; Ken Njoroge, CEO of Cellulant. This high-profile opening keynote session defined directions on Aligning the Role of Government Policymakers, Incumbent Banks, FinTech Innovators, Investors, Multilateral Agencies, MNOs and the Private Sector to Create a Dynamic Ecosystem for FinTech in Africa.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Mountaga Diop, Founder & CEO of Ethiopian FinTech trail-blazer, BelCash, said that: “Industry leaders from across the African and global FinTech industry gathered at Finnovation Africa: Ethiopia 2017 where they looked to harness the growing momentum around digital financial services into more inclusive and productive economies across Sub‐Saharan Africa. As the formal economy grows we see individuals, communities, and nations prosper and make progress on strategic growth and development priorities. When unbanked and underbanked communities have access to digital financial services, everyone benefits and FinTech can play a vital role in driving financial inclusion imperatives across the continent. There is an opportunity to change people’s lives while building scalable, profitable companies that consumers need and want.

Further emphasizing this exciting opportunity, Chris Principe, international FinTech thought leader, shared some persuasive insights while speaking on the sidelines of the Finnovation Africa event: “A very positive story, if one that is not yet well understood, is unfolding in Africa. New technology, new ideas and new business models are producing new opportunities. The distinctions between telecom services providers, payments services providers and financial institutions are breaking down. Innovative companies are using Blockchain technology and crypto‐currencies to resolve fundamental problems such as lack of access to electricity and lack of access to global financial markets. Finnovation Africa highlights how FinTech is transforming Africa for the better, facilitating payments, boosting financial inclusion and developing new enterprises. However, the conference does much more than that, as it engages key stakeholders to reveal how the entire world is changing. In many ways, Africa is a FinTech leader, rather than a follower.”

Another major highlight of Finnovation Africa: Ethiopia 2017 was the Leader’s Dialogue Live! session which presented a unique opportunity to gain a fresh perspective and first-hand insights in conversation with an African FinTech Pioneer. The live interview session featured renowned industry leader Munir Duri, Chief Executive Officer of Kifiya, who stressed the innovative potential of financial technology in Africa: “The FinTech sector is driving disruptive innovation and transforming the financial services landscape across the continent. We firmly believe that the rapid growth in the application of financial technology is providing a platform to enable payments and increase access, helping the drive to digital financial services.” This high-profile session was moderated by well-known media personality, Colin Don Schouw, Managing Director of the Fixer Group in South Africa.

In-depth sessions continued throughout the day featuring bankers and FinTech pioneers deliberating on key issues such as Blockchain – from Hype to Reality in Africa; innovations in the African payments landscape; and Finclusion & Islamic finance. High-profile speakers included Ameya Upadhyay, Principal, Investments of Omidyar Network; Salam Slim, Director, Global Solutions Lead – Islamic Banking at Oracle; Melaku Kebede, Vice President – Systems & E-Banking at United Bank of Ethiopia; and Jane Zhang, Founder & CEO of Shellpay.

The post-lunch sessions at Finnovation Africa: Ethiopia 2017 were focused on identifying and engaging exciting new African FinTech entrepreneurs. The Tale of FinTech Pioneers in Sheba Valley showcased the exciting innovations currently happening in Ethiopia, including trail-blazers such as Gebeya, YenePay, and Zayride, and featured insights from Zekarias Amsalu, the Founder & MD of IBEX Financial Consultancy Ltd.

The day concluded with the much-anticipated Wolves’ Den session, which again lived up to its billing as a powerful and ruthless session that enabled innovative FinTech start-ups and trail-blazers to real-time test the positive impact of their solutions with a panel representing savvy Investors/Venture Capitalists and seasoned African Fintech Pioneers. FinTech trail-blazers YenePay and ELEBAT Solutions both made their respective pitches while the “Wolves” asked the tough questions and provided the illuminating insights during a dynamic closing session to the event.

Finnovation Ethiopia 2017 is part of the FinTech Africa Series which regularly gathers leading stakeholders and influencers in the African FinTech ecosystem, from start-ups to banking powerhouses, from the key markets across Africa and internationally.

Ethico Live Limited is a UK registered company with its corporate headquarters at 110 Queen Street, Glasgow G1 3BX, UK. Focused on the digital transformation of financial services and the role that FinTech is playing in driving positive and profitable change in areas such as Finclusion, Islamic banking and smart cities, we serve our clients with high-profile international conferences in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia – with a special focus on the exciting high-growth markets of Africa.

For further details, please contact:

Sanay Lalwani, Media & Marketing Lead: Finnovation at Ethico Live:

sanaylalwani@ethicolive.com

www.finnovationlive.com

Contact No – +91 90245 26133, +91 124 418 2794/5

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