Building the first pan-African fintech census and digital map

Building the first pan-African fintech census and digital map

November 30, 2020    

Africa Fintech Network (AFN), 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-19 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. The Radar project is now calling upon all Africa-based fintechs to join by completing a short (anonymous) survey online.

“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 stepping stone 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.


This article was first published by Business Africa Online.

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