Dr Ernest Addison (2nd from left), Governor of the Bank of Ghana, shaking hands with Ravi Menon (left), Singapore Ambassador for Climate Change Action and Senior Advisor, National Climate Change Secretariat, at the event. With them is Kwamina Duker (right), CEO, Development Bank, Ghana. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
Dr Ernest Addison (2nd from left), Governor of the Bank of Ghana, shaking hands with Ravi Menon (left), Singapore Ambassador for Climate Change Action and Senior Advisor, National Climate Change Secretariat, at the event. With them is Kwamina Duker (right), CEO, Development Bank, Ghana. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
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Fintech summit highlights investment opportunities in Africa

The maiden 3i Africa Summit to showcase and stimulate Africa’s Fintech and digital potential will go down as one of the most successful gatherings on the continent. 

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The discussions, exhibitions and networking organised around the theme: "Unleashing Africa's fintech and digital economic potential" focused on transforming Africa’s economic landscape through sustainable and long-term capital allocation.

The three-day summit was attended by 7,500 delegates, exceeding expectation by nearly 54 per cent. They included 4,786 representatives from the financial technology (Fintech) and telecommunication industry, 1,724 policymakers and 1,230 researchers from 95 countries.

The summit, organised jointly by the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Development Bank Ghana (DBG) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) through its subsidiary, Elevandi, saw 240 speakers across 58 sessions, nine stages (plenary sessions), 15 tracks events and 10 innovator pitches

With seven networking events and 2,896 app logins, news and activities at the summit dominated the traditional and new media, bringing global attention to the investment opportunities in Africa’s Fintech space.

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Ernest Addison, called for more investments for local Fintech companies in Africa. He said without sufficient capital, brilliant ideas and prototypes of Fintech startups solutions which had the potential to address diverse financial service needs would fail to progress to production.

Speaking at the opening of the summit, Dr Addison said the regulatory aspect was another major reason not to ignore the issue of deficient funding in the Fintech space. “Fintechs should have the ability to navigate regulatory requirements and meet compliance standards, which we all agree are non-negotiables, especially in Africa’s financial industry,” he stated.

The Governor said Africa had an advantage in the digitisation race based on the bulging and tech-savvy youthful population, the high mobile phone penetration, the consistent expansion of mobile network access, coupled with the rising homegrown Fintech solutions.

“While these are commendable, it is important to note that lack of requisite investment in African Fintechs could slow the pace of innovation and scalability of solutions in achieving the desired impact of a digitised Africa,” he added.

Access to financial services

Dr Addison said the high mobile phone penetration, coupled with a pool of local technology talents, had resulted in various Fintech solutions that had expanded access to financial service to the unbanked and the underserved.

The Governor added that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) now had online presence, enabling them to expand their market reach outside the localities of operations.

“With regard to intra-African trade, he said that the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) had been developed to support free trade across the continent in line with the objectives of the Africa Continental Free Trading Area (AfCFTA).

Dr Addison said this would enhance both domestic and cross-border payment systems and empower MSMEs by facilitating access to financing opportunities and broader domestic and global markets.

At the close of the summit yesterday, the Head of Fintech and Innovation Department at the Bank of Ghana, Kwame Oppong, said the youthful population of Africa, the high mobile penetration and the consistent expansion of mobile network assets had also provided a fertile ground to accelerate the digitisation agenda on the continent.

Laws, regulations

The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Ms L Dunn, said the three-day conference had not only provided her with deeper understanding of challenges in the financial technology sector on the continent, but had also brought to the fore the need for policymakers and regulators to create an enabling environment that encouraged innovation.

“So back home, I intend to work on the law and regulations that will help encourage innovation and drive investments that make impact,” she added.

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