‘The Future is Digital’ – Afro-Asia Fintech Festival

The Central Bank of Kenya, in partnership with Huawei, Safaricom, KCB Bank and Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, recently held the Afro-Asia Fintech Festival, Nairobi Online City Event. The three-day event themed “People and Talent-Harnessing: Collaboration in Pursuit of Resilience and Growth Post Covid-19” was organized by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The event aimed at enabling the exchange of ideas and collaborations through various panel discussions between FinTech stakeholders from across the globe.

Digitalization has disrupted various industries, enabling new ways of delivering value to customers while changing the underlying market economics. Within the financial sector, digital transformation has been primarily driven by everything other than banking itself. The changing customer behaviors such as shared ride services, on demand courier services, and online shopping, among others, have significantly contributed to the uptake of digital solutions. 

Senior transformation expert at Huawei, Mr. Ronald Raffensperger, noted during his keynote address that there are plenty of new opportunities within the banking industry as it starts this digital transformation. However, there is need to be able to compete against the FinTechs that are from a green field. 

The subsequent panel discussions were centered on three key aspects namely cashless and digital payments, next generation digital platform, and the relationship between FinTechs and banks. The advancement of cashless and digital payments has radically improved as evidenced through enhanced agility, openness, integration of cloud technology and distributed architecture.

Afro Asia Fintech Festival

Kenya has recently seen an upsurge of digital payments as a result of digitization of payments. This has been attributed to the development of mobile money services, digital wallet services and mobile banking apps. As a result, there has been a significant shift from traditional modes of payments as seen during this pandemic period with the cashless payments hitting an all-time high.

Digital payments have undergone unprecedented change, accelerating across the value chain fragments both locally and globally. Payment ecosystems have also grown significantly. However, there could be fragmented issues associated with integrating API in merchant systems, along with the overall customer confidence in the products among others.

Digital platforms will continue to change the existing business models due to their ability to provide more diversified services while disrupting cross-industry business processes. This is reflected in the fact that digital platforms continue to provide more diversified services while positively disrupting cross-industry business processes i.e. through personal credit investigation information, multi-industry business processes can be streamlined, provides more convenient experience for users. 

Consequently, there no longer exists a mutually exclusive relationship between FinTech and banks. The entities are no longer purely FinTech or solely providers of banking services, banks and carriers are currently using FinTech to provide financial services.

Chen Zhentao, Director FSI, Southern Africa Region, Huawei indicated that cashless systems will go a long way in streamlining ecosystem processes across various industries acknowledging that the future will be a digital society. 

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