The African Development Bank, a regional multilateral development finance institution has signed a $525,000 grant agreement with Africa Fintech Network (AFN) for the setup of the Africa Fintech Hub, an online portal that will serve as a one-stop shop for all fintech activities in Africa.
The African Fintech Hub will be delivered through a strategic partnership between AFN and the Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cenfri), which will provide technical support in the development of the Hub, as well as promote research, knowledge creation, and other innovative initiatives.
The agreement which was signed on April 4, 2023, will enable Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), a body launched by the AFDB together with its partners to make catalytic investments – provide funding and technical assistance to the Africa Fintech Network to host and manage the African Fintech Hub.
“The hub is a digital platform that will enable fintech associations across Africa to pool resources and knowledge, strengthen relationships and partnerships, as well as showcase the work of fintech on the continent, including those which are female-led or owned,” the Africa bank said.
Lamin Barrow, director general of the African Development Bank’s Nigeria Country Department, underscored the importance of the Bank’s support to the project, saying it would contribute to strengthening the fintech ecosystem in Africa, boost competitiveness in the digital world, whilst leveraging partnerships.
“At the African Development Bank, we recognize that we have a major role to play in helping to create a robust, efficient, and sustainable fintech ecosystem across the continent. We are accelerating the delivery of our High 5 strategic priorities through our various innovative interventions.”
“These have helped improve access to digital infrastructure, including Information and Communications Technology linkages to landlocked countries and broadband internet services. The need to leapfrog barriers and scale up inclusive digital financial solutions to accelerate economic resilience across Africa has become even more urgent,” he said.
Currently, ADFI-supported projects are enhancing digital financial infrastructure and regional interoperability through the development of payment systems and infrastructure in Ethiopia and the ECOWAS region. Other projects are equipping financial sector regulators with innovative technology to strengthen consumer protection in Ghana, Rwanda, and Zambia.
The Facility is also supporting projects to enhance the deployment of digital micro-insurance to smallholder farmers in Nigeria, Zambia, and Kenya, as well as to build capacity for cyber resilience and help to remove barriers to access to fintech services across the continent.
Although fintechs have great potential to contribute to digital financial inclusion across the continent, the African fintech sector significantly lags behind those in other regions such as Latin America and South-East Asia.
Commending the Bank for supporting the initiative. Segun Aina, President of Africa Fintech Network said, “We are truly excited about this partnership with the African Development Bank, and the possibilities of working in partnership with Cenfri on multiple initiatives with fintech across Africa to further our mission to drive Africa-led fintech solutions, stimulate information exchange, ideation and the support and to promote innovative technologies within the financial services sector across Africa and beyond.“