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What Happened at The First Fintech Unconference 2017


Kenyan Fintech innovators had the chance to learn from each other and network with other Fintech innovators from across the continent at the first ever Africa Fintech Unconference 2017 in Ghana. The two-day event brought together fintech innovators, thought leaders, banks and other established financial players in the emerging Fintech sector to enable Fintech companies to engage in smarter pan-African partnerships in a fast-moving industry that is ripe for consolidation. The Unconference was organized by FIBR, an initiative of BFA and The MasterCard Foundation, and partners Nomanini and Catalyst Fund.

‘We are looking to the growing fintech market in Ghana as a complement and counterpart to the East Africa Fintech sector, by cultivating, comparing and connecting what is happening in the West and East regional markets. Fintech companies across the continent, including those based in Kenya, are also turning to Ghana as an attractive market to expand into, for which bringing the Unconference to Ghana, was compelling and exciting,”Amolo Ng’weno, East Africa Regional Director at BFA

Attendees to the unconference also included: The MasterCard Foundation, (who offer micro financing and credit to emerging markets easily and fast without the barriers of traditional microfinance) and Ecobank among many others. Some of the other Kenyan firms present were Lendable, PayGo Energy, Umati Capital, Gtel, Interpay, Inukapap, Musoni, Sokowatch, Farmdrive and Rafode Ltd.

The Unconference format was designed for the attendees to drive the agenda and focus on the issues most important to them. Some of the key takeaways about developing strong partnerships from the different sessions were:

  1. For Fintech actors working towards financial inclusion, customers need more than services or products — they need tools in which they can make money “work” in different ways for their needs and how they live.
  2. Best practices for Fintech companies seeking partnerships with established players means ensuring customer needs inform partnership, understanding and defining clear goals, fostering trust and transparency early on, as well as structuring fair upside for each partner.
  3. Best practices for Fintech companies seeking to gain trust with their customers need to take great care to be consistent and transparent, follow through with promises, leverage channels that are already trusted by customers and hire local people who have knowledge and networks in the target markets.
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