[Africa Tech Review] Duncan Mochama: Fintech is driving and reshaping the financial sector in Africa
Africa has in recent years proven to be the best place for FinTech startups of course driven by the increased internet penetration. As a key driver of growth in the region, fintech has become a viable alternative to traditional banking in both urban and rural areas.
This week, Early-stage investor DFS Lab has announced that it will facilitate a virtual design sprint in March 2021 for fintech startups in Egypt. The sprint will be hosted by the Central Bank of Egypt, in collaboration with the Financial Regulatory Authority, and also supported by FSD Africa, through UK aid from the UK government. Remember as we have previously highlighted here, DFS has been investing in African startups since back in 2017.
Away from matters fintech, this week, Faulu Microfinance Bank announced plans to lend up to Ksh.3 billion to local SMEs to help them recover and grow following the Covid-19 economic turmoil. This came as a new report emerged from Xero that two-thirds (67%) of South African small businesses struggle to source the right tech talent, according to research from the global small business platform. Despite this, massive investments are still going towards African SMEs. In December last year, FSD Africa Investments (FSDAi), the investment arm of FSD Africa, announced a $4.5million commitment to Funds towards MSMEs.
In Ethiopia, SES announced that the Ethiosat platform is now broadcasting all channels of the Association of Ethiopian Broadcasters (AEB) and the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) exclusively. This was not the only news we have covered from the country recently. The country’s Communication Authority (ECA) last week denied claims that it has shortlisted six firms including Safaricom selected to bid for one of two telco licenses in the country. Of course, this is after a report emerged the previous week that Kenya’s largest telco Safaricom had made it to the shortlist of six firms.
This week, we also published an article on how Data Centres will undergo significant change in 2021. There has been a revolution in behaviours and approaches that is shifting investment and innovation, and how data centres provide services and provision for data and compliance. Remember the demand for data centres is growing. In fact a recent report by The African Data Centres Association (ADCA) and Xalam Analytics noted that Africa needs 1000MW and 700 facilities to meet growing demand and bring the rest of the continent onto level terms with the capacity and density of South Africa.
In Nigeria, The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) started accepting applications for its 2021 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. The foundation has previously signed an MoU with UNDP to support African entrepreneurs. This year’s intervention includes $5000 funding, mentoring and training for each selected business. Still in Nigeria, MDXi, West Africa’s largest carrier-neutral data centre and a fully owned subsidiary of MainOne announced that it is leading the way in reducing greenhouse gas emission in its quest to promote sustainable development. The company was also recently selected by Trobexis, an international logistic management solution provider to deploy their solution for an international oil & gas company in Nigeria.
This week, LG Electronics East Africa also launched a social impact challenge to offer financial support to innovative community projects across Kenya. 650 Kenyan students and civil servants graduated from the Cisco Networking Academy. The graduates were honoured at a virtual ceremony held on Tuesday while Equinix, the world's digital infrastructure company, and Vodafone announced a plan to build a new subsea hub in Genoa.