Africa Fintech Network joins forces to build the first real-time pan-African map of fintech innovation

Africa Fintech Network, in partnership with global data  analytics firm findexable and independent African think tank Cenfri, are launching the first  pan-African fintech census and digital map to track fintech activity across the whole of  Africa. The Africa Fintech Radar initiative will drive visibility and awareness of Africa’s  fintech innovation ecosystems before a global audience of potential partners, fintech buyers  and investors.

AFN President Dr Segun Aina believes that, while there are still many challenges to  overcome in a market comprising 54 countries, each with a different jurisdiction and unique  fintech environment, the opportunity is to create a unified, transparent African fintech  ecosystem for the benefit of society at large.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered deep digital change globally, not least in Africa which  represents nearly half (46%) of all global mobile money accounts,” explains Dr Segun Aina.  “With the ongoing crisis, we at the Africa Fintech Network have an important role to play in  helping accelerate digitisation which is critical for business continuity and driving post-Covid  economic growth. The Africa Fintech Radar will provide critical information to better  understand and address the pain points, remove the barriers and propel Africa into  becoming a truly inclusive and sustainable digital economy.”

The Africa Fintech Radar will result in a 360 degree report of the African fintech ecosystem  providing detailed insights into the development of individual sub-segments, the  geographical distribution of fintech activity across the continent, key ecosystem challenges  faced, amongst others. The findings will be supported by findexable’s real-time map of  Fintech activity across Africa building a dynamic bridge between local fintech talent,  innovation and opportunities, and potential investors, partners, customers and employers  across the globe.

“Despite having the highest level of mobile phone and internet penetration in the world,  only 10% of all payments and transactions in the continent are being made digitally,” says Mr Simon Hardie, CEO of findexable – the company building the platform. Hardie believes  that fintech is ideally placed to serve as a crucial steppingstone that will propel Africa into  becoming a truly digital economy.

“To realise the promise of fintech in improving the social and financial wellbeing of all  citizens, requires accurate, up-to-date and unbiased data. We believe much of this promise  is currently overlooked, and indeed lost, because of geographical barriers. With the Africa  Fintech Radar, we aim to change this by providing visibility for every fintech in every corner  of the continent. For investors and buyers of fintech this is a tool to identify innovation and  to expand their portfolios to new and exciting territories,” explains Hardie.

Cenfri, an independent not-for-profit think-tank based in South Africa, which has done  extensive research during the pandemic, found that rapid digitalisation has forced  providers, regulators and consumers to rethink how they interact. It is critical that  interventions and regulatory support considers the substantive impacts across the continent  in both the short and the long term,” says David Saunders, Partnerships and Impact Lead at  Cenfri. 

“More coordinated regulation can help create a more integrated African market. This is  important to address, as many financial services models, including fintechs, are dependent  on scale for feasibility. The Africa Fintech Radar initiative can help highlight which fintechs  have been able to find business models that are able to function within this and other local  context restrictions,” concludes Mr. Saunders.

Author: Lauren Towner

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