AfDB and Africa Fintech Network Agree to Give $525,000 to Help Develop Fintech in Africa

The African Development Bank and Africa Fintech Network (AFN) have signed a grant agreement for $525,000 to set up the Africa Fintech Hub, which will be an online portal for all fintech activities in Africa.

The Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI) will give the Africa Fintech Network money and technical help so that it can host and manage the African Fintech Hub. The hub is a digital platform that will allow fintech associations across Africa to share resources and knowledge, strengthen relationships and partnerships, and show off the work of fintech on the continent, including projects that are led or owned by women.

The African Fintech Hub will be run through a strategic partnership between AFN and the Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cenfri). Cenfri will provide technical support for the Hub’s development and promote research, knowledge creation, and other innovative projects.

Lamin Barrow, Director General of the Nigeria Country Department of the African Development Bank, stressed how important it was for the Bank to support the project. He said it would help strengthen the fintech ecosystem in Africa, make the continent more competitive in the digital world, and build partnerships.

“At the African Development Bank, we recognize that we have a major role to play in helping to create a robust, efficient and sustainable fintech ecosystem across the continent. We are accelerating the delivery of our High 5 strategic priorities through our various innovative interventions. These have helped improve access to digital infrastructure, including Information and Communications Technology linkages to landlocked countries and broadband internet services. The need to leapfrog barriers and scale up inclusive digital financial solutions to accelerate economic resilience across Africa has become even more urgent.”

Together with its partners, the African Development Bank started the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility to support innovative ideas like the Africa Fintech Hub Project, which aims to increase access to and use of digital financial solutions to meet the needs of all Africans.

Africa Fintech Network’s President, Dr. Segun Aina, praised the Bank for backing the project.

“We are truly excited about this partnership with the African Development Bank, and the possibilities of working in partnership with Cenfri on multiple initiatives with fintech across Africa to further our mission to drive Africa-led fintech solutions, stimulate information exchange, ideation and the support and to promote innovative technologies within the financial services sector across Africa and beyond. “

ADFI Coordinator, Sheila Okiro, said the Bank, through the partnership of the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility, is delighted “to support this project to strengthen the fintech sector, furthering our work to leverage technology to contribute to closing the financial inclusion gap and creating employment across Africa.”

Currently, projects backed by ADFI are building payment systems and infrastructure in Ethiopia and the ECOWAS region to improve digital financial infrastructure and regional interoperability. In other projects, regulators in the financial sector in Ghana, Rwanda, and Zambia are getting new technology to help protect consumers.

The Facility is also helping projects to make it easier for smallholder farmers in Nigeria, Zambia, and Kenya to get digital micro-insurance. It is also helping to build cyber-resilience and take down barriers to accessing fintech services across the continent.

Even though fintechs have a lot of potential to help people on the continent get access to digital financial services, the African fintech sector is a long way behind those in Latin America and South-East Asia.

In 2019, AFN and Cenfri did a survey that showed the need to set up and coordinate local fintech chapters, recruit new members, profile members’ achievements, connect them to market access and investment opportunities, and speak up for members to local and regional regulators.

The survey also shows that women own less than 15% of fintech companies. Based on the results of the survey, AFN will make gender indicators and lenses a big part of how the project is done.

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