The Role of Fintechs in Africa Digital Economy - Aina

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Tuesday, November 05, 2019  /  12:07PM  /   By Olusegun Aina /   Header Image Credit: AFN  

 

Being the welcome remarks by Dr. Olusegun Aina (MFR), President, African Fintech Network (AFN) and Fintech Association of Nigeria (FTAN) at the opening session of the 2nd Africa Fintech Festival in Kampala, Uganda on Tuesday 05th November 2019.

 

Honourable Ministers,

Governor of the Central Bank of Uganda,

Permanent Secretaries,

President of FITSPA,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

On behalf of the Board and members of the Africa Fintech Network, I warmly welcome you to the 2nd Africa Fintech Festival.

 

It is very remarkable that less than one year after the historic inauguration of the Africa Fintech Network AFN in December 2018, we are all here in Kampala, Uganda to participate in the 2nd Africa Fintech Festival hosted by FITSPA (the Fintech Association of Uganda).

 

The  Africa Fintech Festival is the flagship event of the Africa Fintech Network aimed at serving as platform to bring together all fintech stakeholders in Africa as well as relevant partners and institutions from outside Africa. The maiden edition organized and hosted in Lagos, Nigeria from 3rd December to 6th December 2018 by the Fintech Association of Nigeria in partnership with Fintech Associates Ltd and others focused on the theme: "Fintech-Beyond the Hype" and was adjudged a huge success. It was at that event that the Africa Fintech Network was inaugurated by the President of Africa Development Bank and Office of the Vice President of Federal Republic of Nigeria; with Country Director of IMF and representatives of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa UNECA, Ecobank Group, Government of Ghana in attendance.

 

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The theme of this second Africa Fintech Festival "The Role of Fintechs in Africa Digital Economy" is very appropriate given the recent developments of the launch of Africa Continental Free Trade Area in July 2019, digital Africa initiative and the increasing interest in Africa fintech by investors from outside of Africa. A Forbes Africa report indicated that Africa Fintech ecosystem raised $320million by half year 2019, a growth of 60% in 2 years while Briter Bridge report released in October 2019 indicated the existence of 643 active fintech hubs in Africa, a significant increase compared to 442 reported by end of 2018.

 

Africa Fintech is rising, the youthful population of Africa are deploying their creativity to create massive employment and prosperity, developing home grown solutions to solve Africa unique challenges in various ways and indeed exporting and deploying some of the solutions beyond the shores of Africa.

 

It is my expectation that at the various events lined up, new ideas will be generated, new relationships and partnerships created with excellent opportunities for learning and networking. We need to debate the best way to resolve the often-mentioned need for regulatory clarity, attracting the right type of investment and funding for fintech initiatives as well as reduction in talent shortage and skill gaps that currently exists in Africa's digital space. 


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The Africa Fintech Network, currently made up of national fintech associations in 29 (twenty nine) African countries as members and leading regional and global institutions as strategic partners will in line with its mission continue to promote innovative technologies, support deployment across and beyond Africa and be the leading voice and advocate for fintech and related technologies in and for Africa. We appreciate the financial and other support from the Ecobank Group, our Founding Partner as well as the support of other partnering institutions such as Afreximbank, Africa Union, UNECA, Afdb, Brandcomms Group UK, BFA Global, CENFRI, FinMark and many others.

 

It may interest you to note that a nine-member substantive Board for Africa Fintech Network was elected during the general meeting held yesterday 4th November here in Kampala. With the caliber and track records of the nine members of the Board, I have no doubt that the future of the Africa Fintech Network and the Africa fintech ecosystem is indeed very bright. The Board in partnership with various partner organizations have lined up several projects to be executed in the short and long term. Please join me in congratulating the members of the newly constituted Executive Board.

 

As I conclude these remarks, I congratulate FITSPA/Fintech Association of Uganda and thank all the sponsors, partners and the organizing team of what promises to be a great and remarkable event over the next two days.

 

Enjoy the Festival and have great fun. 


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I will therefore proceed to perform two other functions before I leave the stage. First is the official unveiling of the new Africa Fintech Network brand and communication materials created and produced at no cost to Africa Fintech Network by Brandcomms Group, a UK based, African owned but globally recognised brand and communications organization. Brandcomms is indeed an independent, purposeful, progressive and brand led communications agency offering new perspectives and specialist expertise to build iconic brands for a changing world. We are truly grateful to Ms Terhas Asefaw Berhe, Founder, Brandcomms Group and other wonderful members of the Brandcomms Group team.

 

The other assignment is for me to announce the host of the 2020 Africa Fintech Festival. The hosting rights for the 3rd Africa Fintech Festival has been given to our member institution- the Mauritius Africa Fintech Hub who will organise and host the events in Mauritius in May 2020. May I request the President of FITSPA, Peter Kawumi and the Engagement Manager of FITSPA, Zianah Muddu to step forward to handover the Africa Fintech Festival flag to Michal Szymanski, the CEO of Mauritius Africa Fintech Hub. Michal will be unveiling their hosting plans and logistics during the cocktail reception that will be taking place at the end of tomorrow's session. We look forward to seeing you all in Mauritius next year.

 

Thank you very much for your attention.

 

Header Image Picture: It's official! The hosting flag of the Africa Fintech Festival in May 2020 has been handed over to the Mauritius African Fintech Hub (MAFH). 


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