Fintechs on the rise in Africa

Fintech is a term derived from the union of the words financial and technology to define startups that offer financial services to the public until then neglected by the traditional institutions of the sector. Because they have lower operating costs, since they massively use new digital technologies, these companies are able to offer simpler and more efficient solutions to their customers.

Across Africa, fintechs have tried at times to replace banks, promoting the democratization of financial services, at times helping traditional financial institutions to innovate in the offer of products and services.

This is the case of the pan-African group Ecobank Group, which last Friday (20th) announced at its headquarters in Lomé, the third edition of a competition aimed at fintechs from all over the continent. The idea is to bring together the most creative and innovative solutions for the financial market.

All finalists will participate in business training and a fair at the Group’s headquarters in June 2020. Winners will be offered opportunities to partner with the bank to implement their solutions in 33 African markets and France.

“As a banking group, we remain impressed with the many ways in which fintechs are transforming banks across Africa. We are looking forward to the new innovations and partnership opportunities that will come with the 2020 edition ”, celebrates Eddy Ogbogu, Ecobank Group operations and technology executive

+Registration for the Ecobank Fintech Challenge ends on April 12, 2020. More information can be obtained on the official website

Zambian woman uses Digital PayGo service

In Zambia, the financial inclusion of the local population has been encouraged by an acceleration program that offers more skills and resources for fintechs to further improve their business. Called FinTech4U, the program is the result of a partnership between the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Zambian technology and innovation hub BongoHive.

Five fintechs in the country will receive financing of US $ 3000 and technical assistance from BongoHive, UNCDF and other players, such as the Bank of Zambia. They were chosen in a rigorous selection process, which involved 70 applications.

The number of subscribers is considered high and serves as a thermometer to understand the potential of fintechs in the country. “These companies are thinking of innovative ways to provide services and products that are able to meet the needs of the normally marginalized Zambians, with the rural population, women and young people. This is very exciting, ”says Kilyelani Kanjo, a specialist in digital financial services at UNCDF.

“The program will help to put our foot in the right doors. Individual interaction with regulators presents access to information that would otherwise take years to obtain or understand, ”said Esther Kanduza, co-founder of digital PayGo, a startup in Lusaka that offers payments via smartphone. The company is one of the five fintechs covered by the program.

Brazilian reality

The “invasion” of fintechs in the Brazilian market is supported by the Central Bank of Brazil, one of the main government agencies in the country. The institution has maintained the Laboratory of Financial and Technological Innovations (LIFT) for two years, focused on the development of fintechs, which will open in the coming months the third call for applications for new projects. More information on the website