Finnovation South Africa 2018 took place yesterday at the Radisson Blu Gautrain in Johannesburg. It brought together over 200 global fintech experts, African leading bankers. Digital pioneers, entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers were also present. The group gathered to tackle revolution in fintech sector. Moreover, the event looked at how financial institutions and major banks in South Africa and across Africa are addressing the digital revolution of financial services. They also looked at how their digital transformation is accelerated and shaped. This is as a result of increased momentum from fintech disruptors.
The impact of a digital wallet, blockchain, mobile money, payments, ICOs, cryptocurrency and open banking innovations are increasingly transforming the financial services environment. This happens as fintech disruptor increase their challenge on incumbent African banks. Furthermore, the fintech disruptors use that to create new opportunities. African financial services atmosphere is a rich ground for innovative fintech participants. This is specifically those participants who are making use of the opportunities to disrupt or overtake established business models to make financial services more accessible, pocket-friendly and profitable across Africa.
Finnovation South Africa 2018 had many renowned keynote speakers like ClearBank’s executive chairman Nick Ogden, Astana International Financial Center’s (AIFC) chief digital officer, Assel Zhanassova, Barclays Africa Group Limited’s Chief Digital and Innovation Officer (ROA), Nvalaye Kourouma. Also present were Banking Reports and Founding Member of the World FinTech Association’s CEO David Gyori, Chain2Trade, Inc., and Publisher of FinFuture and Financial IT’s CEO Chris Principe and Fintech and Blockchain Lead of PwC South Africa Paul Mitchell. The keynote session focused on partnership as an essential catalyst in the digital revolution of financial services. It also focused on how best aligning the role of MNOs, fintech innovators, multilateral agencies, government policymakers, investors, and incumbent banks will drive affirmative environs for African fintech.
Paul Mitchell said that both old and new players of financial services in SA are in a position to develop innovative solutions. They are also in a position to tackle the impact of fintech in the continent. This could have a more significant role and influence than the one witnessed currently in Europe and US. He added that there is a rapid change in customers’ expectations and behavior on how financial services firms used to interact with them. Fintech is speeding up the changes and players who take note of that are learning fast. Therefore it leads to reexamination of customers’ experience and engagement process elements that will come up in the coming five years. The event offered a platform to discuss with pioneers of fintech and thought leaders. This will help them address the challenges for the SA digital transformation of financial services.
Leaders’ Dialogue Live! was another important session of Finnovation South Africa 2018. This was an informal discussion session that included international fintech pioneer. It offered a unique opportunity to have firsthand information and fresh thought from a leading innovator. The session featured Nick Ogden, a renowned leader of the industry. Ogden stressed the innovative potential of African fintech sector. He said that the fintech market is increasing first step innovation. It is also changing the financial solutions environment across Africa. He added that the high growth in the fintech sector is offering a platform to enable wallets, payments and increase access ensuring a move to digital banking services. IT News Africa’s CEO Abe Wakama had the privilege of moderating the live session.
MOBU’s CEO, Juan Engelbrecht talked about the new opportunities and innovation in the ICO market at the event. He said that the adoption of ICO fundraising globally has led to the discovery of new capital formation. This was due to the evolution of cryptocurrency market. The move has leapfrogged the markets of both the venture capital and seed investment. The launch of 86 ICOs at the start of 2018 raised a massive $3.4 billion. He added that the total costs of launching ICOs are more pocket-friendly in securing funds compared to IPOs. But roughly 98% of the launched ICOs launched utility tokens.
Juan said that there are securities markets worth lots of trillions that remains untapped in blockchain sector. According to him, security token firms can be regulatory, technical and legally challenging. MOBU is a platform that facilitates the issuing out of validated security tokens. Therefore it offers a complete blockchain solution by overtaking barriers. It also comes up with a simple marketplace for secondary trading and security issuances. He said that the platform provides SEC, AML, and KYC approval escrow, bank support to investors in case flat is changed to cryptocurrency. Moreover, it facilitates all the required processes to raise funds.
The session went on throughout the day as attendants discussed vital issues. They addressed talked of issues like blockchain that is from the buildup to reality in the continent. They also discussed banking and AI and revolution of cryptocurrency. Other conversations were also held that included startups success stories and founder’s pain points. The event brought on the floor speakers of high profiles like Bambu’s founder and CEO Ned Phillips, Shell Pay’s founder and CEO Jane Zang, Business Finland Southern Africa’s advisor Camilo Ramada, and Microsofts CEO Warren Hero. The climax of the event came during the Wolves’ Den session.