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Fintech is transforming the financial services landscape in Africa

26 Jun 2018, 03:37 pm
Financial Nigeria
Fintech is transforming the financial services landscape in Africa

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Finnovation South Africa 2018 is part of the Fintech Africa series organized by Ethico Live Limited.

The impact of blockchain, digital wallets, cryptocurrency, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), open banking, mobile money and payments innovation are radically transforming the financial services landscape as Fintech disruptors intensify their challenge to incumbent banks in Africa and kick-start new opportunities.

This was the summation of Finnovation South Africa 2018, which held on June 6, 2018. Over 200 international Fintech experts, African digital pioneers, investors, policymakers, entrepreneurs and leading bankers gathered to harness the Fintech revolution.

The high-profile event explored how the major banks and financial institutions in South Africa and across the continent are being shaped and accelerated as a result of the gathering momentum of Fintech disruptors.

Finnovation South Africa 2018 is part of the Fintech Africa series organized by Ethico Live Limited.

According to a release by the organizers, Ethico Live, 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.

Paul Mitchell, Fintech and Blockchain lead of PwC South Africa, during his keynote speech said, “South African financial services players, old and new, are uniquely positioned on a high growth continent to seize the opportunities to create innovative solutions and harness the impact of Fintech in Africa, which could well make a more significant contribution and impact than what we are currently seeing in the US and Europe.
Customers' behaviour, and their expectations around how financial services companies traditionally interact with them, is changing rapidly.”

Fintech is accelerating these changes and the established players who recognize this are having to learn fast, Mitchell added. This is leading to a reassessment of many elements of the customer experience and engagement process that will play out over the next few years.

Another major highlight of the event was the Leader’s Dialogue Live! An informal conversational session which was moderated by CEO of IT News Africa, Abe Wakama. He, also, interviewed Nick Ogden, Executive Chairman of ClearBank.

During his interview, Ogden stressed the innovative potential of Fintech in Africa. He said, “The financial technology market is accelerating groundbreaking innovation and transforming the financial solutions landscape across the continent. We firmly believe that the rapid growth in the sector of Fintech is providing a platform to enable payments, wallets and increase access, helping the drive to digital banking services.”

Other keynote speakers at the event are: Assel Zhanassova, Chief Digital Officer of Astana International Financial Center (AIFC); Nvalaye Kourouma, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, ROA of Barclays Africa Group Limited; David Gyori, CEO of Banking Reports and Founding Member of the World FinTech Association; and Chris Principe, CEO of Chain2Trade, Inc. and Publisher of FinFuture and Financial IT.

Juan Engelbrecht, CEO of MOBU, while addressing new innovations and opportunities in the ICO market, stated that, “as the cryptocurrency market evolves, the global adoption of ICO fundraising structures has led to an explosion of new capital formation that has outpaced both the seed and venture capital investment markets.”

“The 86 ICOs that were launched during the first term of 2018 were able to raise a mammoth $3.4 billion in total,” Engelbrecht said. “The total costs of launching successful ICOs are a lot more cost effective in raising funds than IPOs. However, approximately 98 percent of these ICOs launched utility tokens. The securities market is a multi-trillion-dollar arena which remains virtually untouched in the blockchain space.”

MOBU, according to the statement, is a decentralized organized all-in-one platform that facilitates the release of validated security tokens, offering a complete blockchain solution by bypassing barriers and introducing a simple marketplace for security issuances and secondary trading.

It stated that MOBU offers KYC, AML and SEC approval, escrow (safe-keeping proceeds of ICO funds), bank support to investors when fiat is converted to crypto and facilitates all other processes needed to raise funds.

Other high-profile speakers at the event are: Ned Philips, founder and CEO of Bambu; Jane Zhang, founder and CEO of Shell Pay; Camilo Ramada, Advisor at Business Finland Southern Africa; and Warren Hero, Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft.

Finnovation South Africa 2018 came to an end with the much-anticipated Wolves’ Den, a powerful and ruthless session for innovative Fintech start-ups and trailblazers to test the positive impact of their solutions, real-time, with a panel representing savvy investors/venture capitalists and seasoned African Fintech pioneers.

PSI, Pay Genius and Brown Sense all made their respective pitches to the panel.

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