The African Development Bank has inked a $525,000 grant deal with Africa Fintech Network (AFN) to establish the Africa Fintech Hub, a one-stop shop for all fintech activity in Africa.

The Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI) will support and assist the Africa Fintech Network in hosting and managing the African Fintech Hub. The hub is a digital platform that will allow African fintech groups to pool resources and information, build networks and alliances, and highlight the work of African fintech, including companies headed or controlled by women.

The African Fintech Hub will be implemented through a strategic collaboration between AFN and the Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cenfri), which will give technical assistance in the Hub’s establishment as well as promote research, knowledge production, and other innovative initiatives.

Lamin Barrow, Director General of the African Development Bank’s Nigeria Country Department, emphasized the importance of the bank’s support for the project, saying it would help to strengthen Africa’s fintech ecosystem, boost competitiveness in the digital world, and leverage partnerships.

“At the African Development Bank, we recognize that we have a critical role to play in fostering a robust, efficient, and long-term fintech ecosystem across the continent.” Through our many innovative interventions, we are speeding the delivery of our High 5 strategic priorities. These have aided in improving access to digital infrastructure, such as ICT connections to landlocked countries and broadband internet services. The need to break down barriers and scale up inclusive digital financial solutions to drive African economic resilience has become even more pressing.”

The African Development Bank and its partners established the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility to make catalytic investments in support of innovative ideas such as the Africa Fintech Hub Project, which aims to increase access and utilization of digital financial solutions to meet the needs of all Africans.

Dr. Segun Aina, President of Africa Fintech Network, praised the bank for its participation in the program.

“We are truly excited about this partnership with the African Development Bank, as well as the possibilities of working with Cenfri on multiple initiatives with fintech across Africa to further our mission to drive Africa-led fintech solutions, stimulate information exchange, ideation, and support, and promote innovative technologies within the financial services sector across Africa and beyond.”

Sheila Okiro, ADFI Coordinator, stated that the Bank is delighted “to support this project to strengthen the fintech sector, furthering our work to leverage technology to contribute to closing the financial inclusion gap and creating employment across Africa.”

ADFI-supported projects are currently improving digital financial infrastructure and regional interoperability in Ethiopia and the ECOWAS region through the establishment of payment systems and infrastructure. Other projects involve providing new technologies to financial sector authorities in Ghana, Rwanda, and Zambia in order to increase consumer protection.

The Facility is also sponsoring initiatives in Nigeria, Zambia, and Kenya to improve the deployment of digital micro-insurance to smallholder farmers, as well as to create capacity for cyber resilience and remove barriers to access to fintech services throughout the continent.

Despite the fact that fintechs have the potential to greatly contribute to digital financial inclusion across the continent, the African fintech sector lags well behind those of other regions such as Latin America and South-East Asia.

AFN and Cenfri conducted a survey in 2019 that demonstrated the need to establish and coordinate local fintech chapters, recruit new members, profile members’ achievements, connect them to market access and investment opportunities, and advocate on their behalf to local and regional regulators.

According to the poll, women own less than 15% of fintech companies. AFN will design and apply gender indicators and lenses as a major component of project implementation based on the survey results.


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