Africa Fintech Festival 2021: Africa forges ahead in Fintech innovation

On the 16th of June, the third Africa Fintech Festival (AFF) was hosted by Mauritius Africa Fintech Hub (MAFH), an event concept launched by the Africa Fintech Network (AFN) in 2018. With the theme of “Fintech, Sustainability, and Innovation – The power trio to fast-forward Africa’s growth”, the Virtual Conference was seen as a watershed in bringing key members of the industry together for good, creating opportunities for all the stakeholders to better understand and dive into the Pan-African Fintech movement happening right now.

The festival saw nearly 1000 registrations from 67 countries across the globe. Leaders, change-makers and innovators in Africa discussed trends, threats, regulations, successes and opportunities throughout the Fintech network. All stakeholders in Fintech and related disciplines, including banks, entrepreneurs, SMEs, universities, financial service providers, IT firms, investors and regulators attended the AFF 2021. The morning sessions were opened by speeches including representatives of the MAFH, AFN, British Government and EDB where a wide range of topics including privacy, blockchain, user behavior, amongst others were discussed.

In this context the traditional panels gave way to a one-on-one live thirty minute interview. Ian Valentine, Principal Consultant of Huawei Mauritius, was asked his opinions on the Digital Transformation of traditional banks in the region “Can the Banks Survive?” Interviewed by Mark Israel, Founder and CEO of Aetheis Ltd, and former regional CTO for Microsoft, topics ranged from the use of Hybrid Cloud systems, the design of Apps for a Mobile First strategy, and the use cases for Artificial Intelligence. In a statement after the interview, Ian Valentine summarized “The pace of change for Fintech in Africa and the demand for new innovation in the region presents a serious challenge for the traditional Banking Sector. As a new wave of applications, services and service providers enter the market, boosted by decentralized blockchain based technologies, the banks must decide to Surf that wave or Sink.”

He continued “I believe this wave of change will be fundamentally good for the banks which choose to transform their ICT architecture and business processes. They can rapidly evolve to address the specific needs of each country and offer new services and products alongside the tradition functions of customer service and local compliance. Banks who embrace these trends and technologies have a unique opportunity to pull ahead of their competitors and grow on a continent-wide basis.”

Michal Szymanski, CEO of Mauritius Africa Fintech Hub stated that, “With Huawei participating in this journey, they brought their copious expertise to the Fintech ecosystem, which is clearly going through an ICT revolution.” The financial landscape is shifting, business models are evolving and many organisations are now viewing Fintech as a key driver of future growth. He also added that “Huawei’s perspective on the future of the traditional banking sector was well received and motivated engagement and discussion. We look forward to even greater knowledge sharing, expertise, and collaborations with Huawei, where together we can accomplish even more in Africa.” The Africa Fintech Festival is a great occasion to highlight Mauritius as a pioneer for the continent, in the Fintech space, and to explore who is doing what, influencing its development.

Africa Fintech Festival 2021: Africa forges ahead in Fintech innovation

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