It’s official! The third annual African Fintech Unconference (AFU19) will be held on 10 - 12 September 2019 on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda. This dynamic industry event is co-convened by African fintech pioneers Nomanini, MFS Africa, and Tugende.
Over the past decade, the progress made within financial inclusion has emerged as one of Africa’s great success stories. Africa is home to more digital financial services deployments than any other region in the world. Yet as Tugende CEO Michael Wilkerson points out, “financial inclusion is never going to be something you can declare victory on.”
The theme of this year’s event, Collaboration for Innovation: Fostering Partnerships for Advancing Digital Financial Inclusion, creates an opportunity for fintech innovators, financial institutions, investors and thought leaders to work together to improve financial inclusion across the continent.
The agenda of AFU19 will be guided by African fintech innovators and entrepreneurs. Unlike traditional conference formats, AFU creates a space for open, dynamic dialogue and valuable spontaneous interactions. It enables participants to co-create the agenda and lead sessions, allowing the most important and pertinent sub-themes to emerge organically. Previous topics included managing growing pains on the path to scale; regulations and legal grey areas; providing analogue vs. digital credit; developing industry partnerships; securing funding and choosing the right investors; the role of boards; and pursuing ‘responsible’ fintech solutions that don’t end up excluding people.
“The African Fintech Unconference is an incredibly valuable event for the African financial inclusion sphere in that it produces crucial, peer-led discussions that addressed the most fundamental challenges that various stakeholders are now facing,” says Vahid Monadjem, CEO of Nomanini, a pioneering fintech platform that organises the informal retail trade for financial inclusion.
The African Fintech Unconference offers a number of scholarships to early-stage fintechs. The scholarship covers the event ticket, three nights of accommodation and return flights to Kampala, Uganda. This enables younger players in the industry to learn from and connect with leading financial services and fintech experts in Africa and participate in driving and shaping the ecosystem. Previous African Fintech Unconference Scholars include Rafode, Inclusive, Numida, Musanga, YouFarm, SokoWatch, PayGo, PEG and Branch.
AFU18 Scholar John-Paul Matenga, Founder and CEO of YouFarm, says “It was incredibly valuable to hear the war stories from fintech founders who have been at it for a while and realise that the challenges we face as startups are not unique.”
“It is important to have a conference or gathering for practitioners, by practitioners, whereby we can drive the agenda and create a safe place to talk about the things that really matter to us,” says Dare Okoudjou, founder and CEO of MFS Africa, the largest mobile money interoperability hub in Africa. “Anyone who is working within fintech in Africa should be at AFU 2019 because this is the one safe place where we can truly engage.”
To learn more and register for AFU19, please visit www.africanfintechunconference.com.
To apply for a scholarship, fill out this form. Applications are reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis and the final deadline is Friday, 9 August 2019.
MFS Africa is a leading Pan-African fintech company, operating the largest digital payments hub on the continent. The MFS Hub is connected to over 170 million mobile wallets in Sub-Saharan Africa, offering unparalleled reach for financial services providers. The company allows merchants, banks, mobile operators and money transfer companies to take advantage of the unique ubiquity of mobile wallets as safe, convenient, and cost-effective transaction channel. The company works in close partnership with players across the ecosystem to bring simple and secure mobile financial services to un- and under-banked customers.
Nomanini is the pioneering fintech platform for the informal retail ecosystem. Nomanini’s platform connects the disparate ecosystem around informal retailers including service providers, consumer wallets, distributors and manufacturers through an interoperable merchant wallet. The company, integrates payments, working capital, and data analytics to unlock the latent potential of Africa’s economy.