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Fintech in East Africa - Pioneering a different road

Sash and Terence returned from Nairobi with clear insight to market opportunities

Opportunities in East Africa

Matchi’s recent venture to Kenya showed that the East African financial technology landscape holds an excess of immediate opportunities for firms around the world. This was voiced by key representatives of the region who also echoed a significant theme between them: Banks operating in Africa have the unique ability to leapfrog some stages in the path of technological development experienced by more mature regions (such as the US and Europe).

Highlighted for Fintech firms looking to engage with financial institutions in East Africa: mobile banking adoption has significantly outstripped other means of product penetration. Having said that, mobile speeds in the region are limited with faster connections, like 4G and LTE, not readily available.

In this part of the world many of the players’ business models have had to account for the giant leap forward in technology and telecommunications. Africa has jumped from no telecommunications to mobile telecommunications at the same time that technology has enabled mCommerce. Some of the most innovative banking and financial IT solutions are being developed in and for Africa. And, of course, issues like financial inclusion and micro-insurance are more likely to be resolved in Africa than in Silicon Valley. Terence Singh, Fintech Connector

Encouragingly, banking professionals in the African market are very open to exploring and engaging with fintech solution providers. We attended the Dot Finance Africa conference which had an overwhelming response - and now more activities are being setup in the region to meet their burgeoning interest.

For more buzz about East Africa, read the interview section (pages 16-20) in the latest issue of Financial IT magazine.

Although a nuanced approach may be needed, this is assuredly the right time for fintech scene to turn their attention to the East African space. We certainly are.

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