Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Changing Face of African Finance

Mobile Money. Person-to-Person Lending. Micro-Insurance. Working in Africa’s financial services industry has never been more exciting as the sector is disruptively innovating its way to the future. The Continent seems to be pregnant with so much possibility. This feeling was especially overwhelming last week Wednesday at Banking in Africa, organized by the Avante-Garde network and Gobee Group.
The event was part of Avante-Garde’s Africa 2030 series designed to support and empower young African entrepreneurs who endeavor to create long-term sustainable enterprises that will substantially impact the African growth story. The forum provided an insightful look into how financial institution are adjusting to the dynamics of market-creating innovations on the Continent.

Leading experts in the Continent’s Banking and Financial Services sector were present: Kojo Dufu who heads investor relations in the U.S. for Atlas Mara, a company revolutionizing banking in Africa. Ata Cisse who is a Technical Specialist for United Nations Capital Development Fund’s YouthStart Programme, and Jay Vix, Global Director of Marketing for TRANSFAST, a money transfer company dedicated to providing quality services to its customers.

Although a myriad of thought-provoking points were mentioned during the event, here are a 3 that deeply resonated with us:

On Africa’s Greatest Resource

Although technology-driven innovations in the financial sector significantly impact economic growth,”Africa’s greatest resource is its people.” Innovation cannot take place without the creative genius of African people. The ability to implement creative enterprises is what will drive long-term sustainable development on a massive scale on the African Continent.

On Redefining African Business Culture

Doing business in Africa is not just about making economic profit. It is also about building institutions that make societal impact. This requires a certain level of sensitivity to issues of political governance.

On Entering African Markets

Those who are already making money in Africa are not bothered that others are scared to enter African markets. In response to a question about Barclays decision to pull out of Africa, a panelist shared that some local players are excited to take advantage of that opportunity. This is because they will have less competition and access to a larger market share.

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