3i Africa summit delivers big boost to fintech sector


…records impressive numbers, partnerships and deals

Having been widely acclaimed as a successful gathering of policy makers, industry experts, business captains and change-makers, the 3i Africa Summit has lived up to the expectations of the organisers, the Bank of Ghana and the Development Bank Ghana and also their partners.

The Summit, which was targeted at the players in the African digital economy succeeded in catalysing investments and fostering economic growth throughout the continent and generating global partnerships for sustainable development.

Hailed as not having being a talk shop, but a vehicle to accelerate economic transformation, the Summit, over the three days recorded the initiation of progressive policies, the concluding of key collaborative agreements and the making of key announcements.

Notable amongst them was the US$100 million deal between Development Bank Ghana (DBG) and Proxtera, a Singaporean based open and neutral hub which connects Business to Business (B2B) marketplaces, service providers, and trade associations digitally to simplify and amplify trade for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

The deal signed between the two institutions is allocated to supporting SMEs via the Ghana Integrated Financial Ecosystem (GIFE) platform.

GIFE is a joint initiative of DBG, Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) that provides a digital journey for SMEs, offering them financial literacy, the creation of trusted credentials through the Universal Trusted Credentials framework, access to working capital, and opportunities for cross-border trade with Asia and the ASEAN region.

Proxtera again signed another landmark agreement with Fidelity Bank to empower and provide financial support to SMEs who have signed up on the GIFE programme.

This is aimed at offering SMEs an unparalleled opportunity to position themselves to become global players.

The Bank of Ghana also announced the successful completion of the first Proof of Concept (POC) as part of its Project DESFT (Digital Economy Semi-Fungible Token) which demonstrates the successful execution of a cross-border transaction payment making use of digital credentials, the eCedi and an approved stablecoin from Singapore. The project which was initiated in June 2023, is a collaboration between the Central Bank and the MAS.

Project DESFT is aimed at supporting SMEs in Africa, particularly those in Ghana to engage in international trade by removing significant obstacles they face such as establishing trust overseas with trade partners and obtaining support in cross-border payments and supply chain finance.

The 3i Africa Summit, aside of the deals and agreements, registered other successes leading to the conclusion that the fintech sector in Ghana and across Africa has indeed received a huge boost in its forward march.

These include over 8,700 registered participants with more than 7,500 attendees. As part of this number, 4,786 were industry experts, 1,724 policy makers, and 1,230 researchers from 95 different countries around the world.

Additionally, the event featured 240 speakers and discussants, 58 sessions, 15 tracks, 9 stages, and 10 innovator pitches. On the tech of side, the event registered 2,896 subscribers to the 3i Africa Summit app and trended on X (formerly Twitter) on the three days of the event and some days after.

As we look forward beyond the 3i Africa Summit, what is very clear is the fact that the fintech sector and its players have received the boldest support ever across Africa. This has been in terms of potential policy change, access to finance and technical collaboration.

This is buttressed by the fact that most players present have come to the realisation that initiative taken in silos or within countries will fail to achieve the needed impact hence the need to collaborate. A typical example is the need for a digital ID system and also network interoperability across the continent.

The 3i Africa Summit which was opened by President Akufo-Addo last Monday is anchored on the pillars of innovation, investment and impact. The Summit drove an agenda towards transformative objectives for sustainable development across Africa.

The pillars were also aimed at driving conversations which will address the key opportunities in the FinTech industry and explore how markets and companies are leapfrogging legacy technologies.

Organised under the theme “Unleashing Africa’s Fintech and Digital Economic Potential” the 3i Africa Summit has proven to be a pioneering platform for changemakers to initiate and execute creative solutions made especially to handle Africa’s unique problems and take advantage of its wealth of prospects.

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