The Africa Tech Summit took place in Nairobi from February 15th to 16th, 2023. The event brought together tech leaders, investors, and international players for two days of networking, exhibitions, and discussions. The founder of Africa Tech Summit, Andrew Fassnidge, opened the event by emphasizing the need for connectivity in Africa’s tech industry and the summit’s aim to connect African founders, corporates, and investors from across the continent.
The event provided a platform for industry experts and enthusiasts to discuss the potential of Africa as a technology innovation hub. Despite the growing number of tech startups in Africa, these companies have traditionally struggled to secure commercial investment, with many African investors preferring more traditional investments. However, the increasing focus on tech investments by local investors is a promising development for Africa’s burgeoning tech scene.
The event included discussions on decentralized finance (DeFi), the proliferation of fintech services across the continent, and corporate-startup collaboration for scale.
It also featured a Pitch Live session where ten African startups pitched their company and solution on stage to an audience of investors and corporates.
A key topic of discussion was the future of payments, with Mastercard’s Shehryar Ali exploring new technologies and improving existing ones, including multi-rail payments and blockchain technology. According to Ali, investing in advanced technologies like AI is essential to ensure a seamless and secure experience for consumers, regardless of their location.
Mastercard is one such company using these technologies to enhance the payments landscape and provide a safe and secure experience for its customers.
A panel of experts discussed how cryptocurrencies can help level the economic playing field in sub-Saharan Africa and transform the tech world.
The panelists, including Aliu Musa from the Celo Foundation and Shodipo Ayomide from Polygon Technology, emphasized the long-term potential of crypto, despite recent fluctuations in the market. However, they also acknowledged the need for better regulation in this space. The event also highlighted the emergence of Web3, which presents many opportunities for the industry, particularly in emerging markets.
Another panel discussion focused on the importance of collaboration between fintech companies and regulators to drive growth in the industry.
The panelists emphasized that fintechs cannot operate in a vacuum and need to work together with regulators to ensure that they are building products that are both innovative and compliant.
In his keynote address, Wayne Hennessy-Barrett, Founder and CEO of 4G Capital, discussed the importance of providing a pathway to formality for micro SMEs through ethical digital finance.
4G Capital, a multi-award winning neobank with over 1000 employees across Kenya and Uganda, has almost 300,000 MSME clients who receive customized business training and credit guidance blended with small working capital credit. Hennessy-Barrett’s insights shed light on the potential of ethical digital finance to promote financial inclusion and drive economic growth in Africa.