Uganda hosts over 250 delegates for the 2019 Africa FinTech Festival

The Festival focused on the role FinTechs are playing in powering Africa’s growth in the digital age

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Vincent Bagiire, PS, Ministry of ICT, Uganda

The 2019 Africa FinTech Festival (AFF) themed ‘The role of FinTechs in Africa’s Digital Economy’ was officially opened on Tuesday in Kampala. The two-day event co-hosted by The Financial Technology Service Providers Association of Uganda (FITSPA) and Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Uganda is taking place between November 5th and 6th at the Serena Hotel, Kampala. The 2019 AFF has attracted over 250 delegates from across Africa including FinTechs, regulators, policy makers, investors, financial service providers and development partners. The overwhelming response to the event demonstrates the need for collaborative platforms that convene stakeholders to explore opportunities that will enable FinTechs to play an active role in growing Africa’s digital economy.

Mr. Vincent Bagiire, Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Information, Communication Technology and National Guidance opening the event on behalf of the Minister, Hon. Frank K. Tumwebaze, commented: “Government views FinTech operators as crucial enablers of electronic transactions and e-commerce. They are key players in the integration of systems that are vital for service delivery where citizens have to pay for a service – such as passports.”

Delegates are discussing wide-ranging issues covering regulatory environment, resourcing FinTechs for sustained success, consumer protection and innovative models that will disrupt savings, credit, insurance and investment services for more inclusion.

“Our primary role at Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Uganda is to address constraints to accessing financial services and facilitate the financial market system to function more effectively and inclusively. Because of the agility of FinTechs, they play an increasingly important role in ensuring relevant financial services reach marginalized groups, build their resilience and secure their wellbeing,” explained Rashmi Pillai, Executive Director of FSD Uganda.

Participants also explored new business models and innovative partnerships that are expanding efficiency and service provision in key sectors including trade and agriculture. Adequate resourcing will be key to ensuring that FinTechs can innovate and scale in ways that support ambitious national development targets.

“The Fintech movement is gathering momentum. Our members, ranging from startups to long-established companies are keen to engage on how financial regulation is changing in response to the disruption caused by FinTechs, how to build value-adding partnerships with other industry players and how to attract even more investment to their businesses,” explained Peter Kawumi, Chair of FITSPA. “They also want to learn about how to get and retain the right talent to sustain their growth. This festival provides a timely platform for members to have these conversations with regulators, banks, insurance companies, investors and academia.”

FITSPA is committed to catalyzing the development of Uganda’s financial services industry through its local and international networks. The Association will curate learnings from the event and use them to champion interventions that will strengthen the local FinTech ecosystem.

“This festival will provide a strong platform for our FinTech community to grow, mature and compete with the rest of the world. Already there have been promising signs with an increasing number of enquiries being directed to our national umbrella, the Financial Technology Service Providers Association of Uganda (FITSPA). This widespread, global interest is a reflection of FITSPA’s role in strengthening the FinTech industry in Uganda and advancing the objectives of the Africa Fintech Network as a whole,” Zianah Muddu, General Secretary of the Africa Fintech Network and Engagement partner for FITSPA said.

The Africa FinTech Festival will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to reflect on the 2019 Financial Inclusion Week theme ‘Financial Inclusion: For What’ and address the pervasive issue of industry-wide under-representation of women. A special panel on Day one will explore issues that limit women’s access to financial services.

The annual Africa FinTech Festival is an annual point of convergence of ideas, trends, innovations, key debates on wide ranging issues ranging from reg-tech, consumer protection, disruption of savings, credit, insurance and pension value chains, to borderless operations, non-traditional partnerships, and game-changing business models. This year, Uganda hosts the Africa Fintech Festival. Representatives from over 26 African nations – from regulators, policy makers, FinTechs, investors, banks (traditional, digital and neo) and more, will examine “the role of Fintech’s in Africa’s digital economy.” The Africa Fintech Festival 2019 is being brought together by the Financial Technology Service Providers Association of Uganda (FITSPA) and Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSDU).

Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSD Uganda) is a company limited by guarantee promoting greater access to financial services in Uganda. FSD Uganda seeks to develop a more inclusive financial sector with a focus on low-income individuals (particularly women, youth and forcibly displaced people) and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). With support from DFID, FSD Uganda facilitates product innovation, conducts research, helps to promote and improve policy, laws and regulation that shape the financial sector in Uganda.

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