Finnovation South Africa 2018: How FinTech is Accelerating Digital Transformation of Banking in Africa

The unique environment for financial services in Africa is fertile ground for innovative FinTech players who are capitalising on the opportunities to disrupt or leapfrog established business models. This models are aimed at making financial services more affordable, accessible and profitable across the continent.  

Finnovation South Africa 2018, which will be held on the 6th of June 2018 at the Radisson Blu Gautrain, will gather international FinTech experts together with African pioneers, investors, government policymakers, entrepreneurs and leading bankers to harness the FinTech revolution. They will explore 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.

Keynote speakers for the Finnovation South Africa 2018 include David Gyori, CEO of Banking Reports and Founding Member of World FinTech Association; Chris Principe, CEO of Chain2Trade, Inc. and Publisher FinFuture & and Financial IT; Paul Mitchell, FinTech and Blockchain Lead of PWC South Africa; Nick Ogden, Executive Chairman of ClearBank; Assel Zhanassova, Chief Digital Officer of Astana International Financial Center (AIFC); and Nvalaye Kourouma, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, ROA of Barclays Africa Group Limited. The opening keynote session will define directions on Aligning the Role of Government Policymakers, Incumbent Banks, FinTech Innovators, Investors, Multilateral Agencies and MNOs to drive a positive Eco-System for FinTech in Africa.

Speaking ahead of the event Juan Engelbrecht, CEO of MOBU said: “Throughout history, there have always been revolutionary ideas but those who lack the vision to embrace the future invariably get left behind’’

He said that as the cryptocurrency market evolves, the global adoption of ICO fundraising structures has led to an explosion of new capital formation that has outpaced both the seed and venture capital investment markets.  ‘’The 86 ICOs that were launched during the first term of 2018 were able to raise a mammoth amount of US $3,4 billion in total. The total costs of launching successful ICOs are a lot more cost effective in raising funds than IPOs. However, approximately 98% of these ICOs launched utility tokens.’’ he said.

The securities market according to Juan is a multi-trillion-dollar arena which remains virtually untouched in the blockchain space.

Finnovation South Africa 2018 will also provide a platform to connect innovative start-ups with leading investors in the African FinTech space and the Enter the Wolves’ Den session is one of the most dynamic features of the event. The Wolves’ Den enables innovative FinTech start-ups and trail-blazers to real-time test the positive impact of their solutions. A panel representing savvy Investors/Venture Capitalists and seasoned Fintech Leaders and Pioneers will evaluate the business model of each chosen start‐up or trail‐blazer in a high-stress 10 minute “elevator pitch” to the “Wolves” who will ask the tough questions and provide the illuminating insights.

Speaking ahead of his participation in Finnovation South Africa 2018, Chris Principe, CEO of Chain2Trade, Inc. and Publisher FinFuture & and Financial IT, said new technology, new ideas and new business models are producing new opportunities in the African continent. ‘’The distinctions between telecom services providers, payments services providers and financial institutions are breaking down. In virtually all African countries, there are sufficient numbers of mobile phones ‐ which are not necessarily smartphones ‐ for previously unbanked people to have access to high quality financial services at low cost.’’ He adds that innovative companies are using Blockchain technology and crypto‐currencies to resolve fundamental problems such as lack of access to electricity and lack of access to global financial markets. ‘’Finnovation Africa highlights how FinTech is transforming Africa for the better, facilitating payments, boosting financial inclusion and developing new enterprises. However, the conference does much more than that, as it engages key stakeholders to reveal how the entire world is changing. In many ways, Africa is a FinTech leader, rather than a follower.” he said.

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.”

Finnovation South Africa 2018 will take place at the Radisson Blu Gautrain in Johannesburg, South Africa on the 6th of June 2018 and will gather all stakeholders and influencers in the African FinTech ecosystem, from innovative start-ups to banking powerhouses, representing the key markets across Africa and internationally.

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