Working in close collaboration with the Africa FinTech Network (AFN), the Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub (MAFH) brought the 3rd Africa Fintech Festival edition, a concept launched by the AFN in 2018.
Themed FinTech, Sustainability and Innovation – The power trio to fast-forward Africa’s growth, the Festival is to take place in a 2-part format, with the 1-day virtual event on June 16th to be followed by a 3-day hybrid conference in October. With this new format, AFN and MAFH aim to help stakeholders better dive into the Pan-African FinTech movement that is happening right now.
The 1-day virtual event opened with a Welcome Address, featuring Michal Szymanski, CEO of MAFH; Dr. Segun Aina, President of the Africa Fintech Network; Faraz Rojid, Head of Financial Services at EDB Mauritius, and a special pre-recorded message from Emma Wade-Smith OBE, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT).
Michal Szymanski kicked off the address by welcoming attendees and “setting the scene” of the journey that Mauritius has taken to not only build a local fintech ecosystem but also by integrating themselves into the continent, through open collaboration and working with various ecosystems, not only in Africa but all over the world.
“The idea is to showcase African innovations to the rest of the world, and how we can work together for the benefit of the people on the ground using technology in a financial services space,” he said.
Dr. Segun Aina continued to speak of the festival, here in its third iteration, describing it as “a platform to bring together thought leaders from Africa and beyond to provide solutions, suggestions and ideas on issues of innovation, technology and support mechanisms to advance the contributions of the African fintech ecosystem towards fast-tracking the development of African economies.”
Emma Smith joined the conference via a pre-recorded message, reiterating how fintech is a force for good and a massive driver of financial inclusion. “Fintech is increasingly all around us,” she said. “It is the future, and it is a particularly exciting future here in Africa.”
She continued; “60% of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa do not currently have access to traditional financial services, including banking and insurance, but over half of African adults now own a smartphone and have access to a 3G signal. These improved internet penetration rates and increased mobile connectivity are enabling and underpinning the expansion and adoption of fintech, providing a catalyst for more consumer access to better products and services.
“Today over 10% of Africans get their financial services from mobile banking. We see in Africa an unprecedented opportunity for technology to expand access to financial services, and this gives us the confidence that the fintech boom we have in Africa will continue, boosted and bolstered by Africa’s culture of innovation.
The day’s event was full of interesting and insightful discussions relevant to the pan-African fintech development scheme, with topics ranging from innovation and regulation to investment and deal flow.
The event will continue on 13th-15th of October at a hybrid conference in Mauritius itself. The event will cater for both audiences online and on-site with keynotes, workshops, activities, and panel discussions amongst others.