Tech Innovators At Washington D.C. Chart New Course For Africa’s Fintech Ecosystem

2 years ago
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As the wind of revolution in digital technology blows through the world, tech stakeholders globally gathered at Washington D.C. in April to exchange vital knowledge and form partnerships to strengthen African fintech industry.

The goal is to reposition the sector in Africa through idea exchanges and fruitful partnerships in order to boost the continent’s economy.

The African and global fintech experts converged at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for the seventh edition of the African Fintech Summit. The bi-annual event returned to Washington D.C for the first time in three years following a virtual summit in 2020 and a hybrid event in Cairo in 2021.

Like every April edition before it, #AFTSDC2022 was scheduled to hold during the World Bank/IFC Spring meeting. This presented the summit with the opportunity to host fintech leaders already in town for the World Bank event alongside attendees billed to be at the fintech summit.

It is an investment relationship summit between United States and Africa meant to connect African entrepreneurs with some of the U.S. investors responsible for 62 per cent of the top 20 investment deals in Africa in 2021.

The main event kicked off with a keynote address by Deniece Laurent-Mantey, Director for Africa, White House Security Council. In keeping with the event’s theme centered around growth and expansion trends in Africa’s fintech industry, Ms. Laurent-Mantey touched on the potential for Africa’s technology industry to thrive in the coming years.

She said, “we are in the midst of an unprecedented revolution in the digital technology – one which is impacting every sector of the economy and social life, bringing people and nations closer together, and making the world a true global village.”

Following Ms. Laurent-Mantey’s keynote, various panel sessions took the better part of the day. There were 16 insight-driven sessions focused on fintech hotspots, including embedded finance, investment trends in the industry, web3 and cryptocurrency, diaspora banking and remittances, fintech regulatory best practices, the future of banking, and more.

The expert-led discussions saw participation of over 60 speakers and panelists from across the fintech value chain, including Mike Ogbalu, CEO of Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPPS); Omosalewa Adeyemi, Global Head of Partnerships and Expansion, Flutterwave; Tosin Eniolorunda, CEO TeamApt; Ray Youssef, CEO and Co-Founder, Paxful; Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-Founder & COO, Piggyvest; and others.

The attendees also got the chance to participate in two insightful workshops. The first, “PR for founders” was hosted by PR company, InsiderPR, and Pavestones, a law firm based in Nigeria, coordinated the second session tagged “Navigating Licensing and Regulation in Nigeria.”

Tech Innovators At Washington D.C. Chart New Course For Africa's Fintech Ecosystem

The spotlight the conversations placed on fintech in Africa was further intensified by an Excellence in Fintech award ceremony that recognized major players in Africa’s tech ecosystem for their contributions to the continent’s technology industry and economy.

Here’s the full list of awardees:

EcoBank – Excellence in Fintech-Banking Relationships

Future Africa – Excellence in Fintech investment

Paxful – Excellence in Cryptocurrency

Appzone Group – Excellence in Blockchain Technology

Briter Bridges – Excellence in Ecosystem Research

PAPSS – Excellence in Cross-border Solutions

TeamApt – Excellence in Digital Banking

PiggyVest – Excellence in Savings and InvestTech

Paystack – Excellence in Payments

Turaco – Excellence in InsurTech

Payhippo – Excellence in Fintech and Lending

Cellulant – Excellence in Embedded Fintech

Flutterwave – Excellence in Fintech Infrastructure

AFEX – Excellence in TradeTech

The event concluded with the New Venture Competition, a pitching session organised in collaboration with IBM. It saw six African founders pitch their startups to a panel of judges. Using the evaluation of the judges and an online poll hosted on the virtual streaming app, Hio Sola-Usidame, founder and CEO of OnePort 365, was declared the winner. He would be participating in IBM’s Hyper Project Accelerator.

The post-event reception presented attendees with the perfect opportunity to solidify the connections made all through the day and at the pre-event VIP dinner that was held on the 20th.

The event helped in exploring the intriguing facts and figures behind Africa’s exciting fintech space and connecting innovators with potential collaborators and investors.

The next edition of the Africa Fintech Summit will be held November year in Cape Town, South Africa.

Victor Ezeja is a passionate journalist with six years of experience writing on economy, politics and energy. He holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication.


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