Thursday 31st May 2018, Nairobi, Kenya: Finnovation Kenya 2018 opened today at the Radisson Blu Nairobi, where more than 200 international FinTech experts together with African pioneers, investors, entrepreneurs and leading bankers, gathered to harness the FinTech revolution to boost strategic economic priorities such as financial inclusion and deepening – and how FinTech can make a positive and profitable difference in Africa. The event also explored how the major banks and financial institutions on the continent are addressing the digital transformation of financial services; and how their own digital innovations are being shaped and accelerated as a result of the gathering momentum of FinTech disruptors.
The impact of Blockchain, Open Banking, Mobile Money and Payments innovation are radically transforming the financial services landscape as FinTech disruptors intensify the challenge to incumbent banks in Africa and kickstart new opportunities. 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.
Finnovation Kenya 2018 is delighted to welcome a stellar list of keynote speakers, including Paul Muthaura, CEO of Capital Markets Authority Kenya; Dave Van Niekerk, Founder and Executive Chairman of MyBucks; Aaron Fu, Managing Partner, MEST; Jeremy Awori, Managing Director of Barclays Bank Kenya Ltd; and Declan Magero, Founding Partner, Afrinet Capital. The opening keynote session will define directions on Aligning the Role of Government Policymakers, Banks, FinTech Innovators, Investors, Multilateral Agencies, MNOs and the Private Sector to Advance the FinTech Ecosystem in Africa.
Speaking ahead of his participation in Finnovation Kenya 2018, Dave Van Niekerk, CEO of MyBucks, said that: “The global microfinance, retail banking and credit landscape has long required a revolution and this rapid and dramatic change, with financial inclusion at its heart, is already well underway. FinTech innovations are enabling the distribution of financial products at competitive pricing, providing the basis to rapidly scale-up as well as effectively manage credit risk. Incumbent financial institutions will eventually be forced to embrace this technology to acquire clients, determine risk and retain clients, effectively closing the divide between FinTech and traditional finance organizations. The Finnovation Kenya 2018 event will create a powerful platform for start-ups and trail-blazers, to understand the broader ecosystem as well as for incumbent Financial powerhouses from across Africa to engage and learn from each other.”
Paul Muthaura, CEO of Capital Markets Authority Kenya Ltd, speaking ahead of his participation in the event, said that: “Kenya has rapidly become an internationally recognized pace-setter for FinTech innovation as global players increasingly look to learn lessons especially in areas where the country has built world-class capabilities such as in mobile money. We have built a supporting infrastructure and are strengthening our regulatory framework to foster FinTech innovation and drive capital market activity to the next level. The Authority is at an advanced stage of implementing a Regulatory Sandbox to provide a safe space for innovative ideas to transition into the regulated environment. Across emerging markets, and particularly in Africa where there is an absence of the legacy infrastructure found in most developed economies, Fintech presents a transformational opportunity to leapfrog traditional costs and time delays in rolling out world class financial services infrastructure, products, services and distributions channels. The pioneers and experts gathering at Finnovation Kenya 2018 will provide critical insights on this exciting journey.”
From the perspective of a leading fintech pioneer, Paul Mitchell, Fintech and Blockchain Lead of PwC South Africa, reinforced that “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 recognise this are having to learn fast. 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. I look forward to participating in Finnovation South Africa 2018 and engaging with Fintech pioneers and thought leaders to address the most pressing questions for the digital transformation of financial services in South Africa.”
Another major highlight of Finnovation Kenya 2018 was the Leader’s Dialogue Live! in conversation with An African FinTech Pioneer session which presented a unique opportunity to gain a fresh perspective and first-hand insights in conversation with an African FinTech Pioneer. The live interview session featured renowned industry leader Jeremy Awori, Managing Director of Barclays Bank Kenya Ltd, who stressed the innovative potential of financial technology in Africa: “The FinTech sector is driving disruptive innovation and transforming the financial services landscape across the continent. We firmly believe that the rapid growth in the application of financial technology is providing a platform to enable payments and increase access, helping the drive to digital financial services.” This high-profile session was moderated by well-known media personality, Colin Don Schouw, Managing Director of the Fixer Group in South Africa.
In-depth sessions continued throughout the day featuring bankers and FinTech pioneers deliberating on key issues such as Blockchain – from Hype to Reality in Africa; Collaborate2Accelerate; Finclusion; and Silicon Savannah Kenya. High-profile speakers included Tamara Cook, Head of Digital Innovations at FSD Kenya; Ryno Rijnsburger, Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft4Africa; Sunny Walia, General Manager- East Africa at VISA; and Russell Akuom, Head of Digital Banking Experience of Co-operative Bank of Kenya.
The post-lunch sessions at Finnovation Kenya 2018 were focused on identifying and engaging exciting new African FinTech entrepreneurs. The Silicon Savannah Kenya showcased the exciting innovations currently happening in Kenya, including trail-blazers such as Pezesha, Musoni System, Bonyo Mwongela & Co. Advocates, Asoko Insight and Make-IT in Africa.
The day concluded with the much-anticipated Wolves’ Den session, which again lived up to its billing as a powerful and ruthless session that enabled innovative FinTech start-ups and trail-blazers to real-time test the positive impact of their solutions with a panel representing savvy Investors/Venture Capitalists and seasoned African Fintech Pioneers. FinTech trail-blazers Grass Roots Bima, Tozza Plus, Flexpay, and Microcap all made their respective pitches while the “Wolves” asked the tough questions and provided the illuminating insights during a dynamic closing session to the event.
Finnovation Kenya 2018 is part of the FinTech Africa Series which regularly gathers leading stakeholders and influencers in the African FinTech ecosystem, from start-ups to banking powerhouses, from the key markets across Africa and internationally.