Collaborate, exploit unique opportunities for growth – Bawumia to govts, Fintechs, financial institutions

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Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has challenged African leaders, Fintechs particularly those in Africa, and financial institutions to take advantage of the many unique opportunities on the continent to collaborate, innovate and explore opportunities to positively impact the lives of the continent’s people.

Speaking on the topic “Digitising Economies In Africa: A Future Imperative” at the ongoing 3i Africa Summit in Accra on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 Dr Bawumia said Africa’s youthful and rapidly increasing population, growing internet penetration and smart phone usage amidst falling internet costs, as well as significant growth in its financial services market presents a unique set of variables to complement the growing influence of fintechs in everyday life, especially in ensuring financial inclusion.

“As fintech reaches a new level of maturity, African financial services are poised at a pivotal inflection point. With the momentum gained in recent years, several African nations stand on the brink of unlocking unprecedented opportunities, positioning themselves at the forefront of the next wave of fintech innovation and growth.

“In this rapidly evolving landscape, agile fintech players are strategically positioning themselves to capture a slice of this flourishing market. As the fastest-growing startup industry in Africa, the success of fintech companies can be attributed to a confluence of favourable trends.

“These trends signify the immense market potential and further establish the transformative impact that fintech can have on financial inclusion and economic growth in Africa. As fintech continues to thrive amidst these favourable conditions, it is evident that the sector is well-positioned to reshape the future of finance in Africa, driving both innovation and inclusive growth,” he noted.

This growth would not come on a silver platter though, Dr Bawumia warned. To further attract and secure such substantial investment, fintech startups in Africa must adopt a multifaceted approach that emphasizes innovation, showcases the expansive market potential, and prioritises regulatory compliance and transparency, he advised.

“Startups should continuously strive to develop groundbreaking solutions that address unique challenges faced by African consumers and businesses. They should articulate a clear vision of how their solutions cater to the needs of our growing market, backed by data-driven insights and market research.

“Crucially, building trust is paramount for attracting long-term investment. Compliance with regulatory requirements and maintaining transparency in operations are non-negotiables.

“Startups should proactively engage with regulatory authorities, participate in regulatory sandboxes where available, and establish robust governance and compliance frameworks. By doing so, they can instill confidence among investors and fostering a conducive investment environment for sustainable growth.

Citing a UN report which projects that Africa will account for 25% of the world’s population by 2050, Dr Bawumia pointed out that this demographic landscape does not merely signify a vast theoretical market but also emphasizes an expanding addressable technology market.

“Key trajectories such as digital payments, financial literacy initiatives, and AI-driven solutions are expected to shape the FinTech landscape in Africa. By focusing on these areas and investing in research and development, we can unlock new opportunities and drive sustainable growth.

The Future

“Ultimately, we stand at a pivotal juncture in the evolution of the FinTech and tech sectors in Africa, where the choices we make today will profoundly influence our trajectory for years, if not decades, to come. It is imperative that we embrace responsible innovation, creating a balance between pushing technological boundaries and ensuring ethical considerations and regulatory compliance.

Fostering collaboration across various stakeholders, be it governments, financial institutions, tech startups, or investors is crucial for creating synergies and driving collective growth, Dr Bawumia emphasized.

“Equally important is our investment in nurturing talent and advancing technology. It is imperative we prioritise education, training and development, invest in cutting-edge technologies and infrastructure to empower our workforce lead and adapt to the rapid pace of change. In doing so, we can build a resilient and inclusive FinTech ecosystem that not only drives economic growth but also fosters financial inclusion and improves the lives of people across the globe.”