The Discussions of 2018 Africa Tech Summit in Kigali Rwanda

2018 Africa Tech Summit , Rwanda, Kigali, EcoBank, Edward George


The 2018 Africa Tech Summit took place in Kigali, Rwanda between 14th and 15th February. During the summit, there was a call for people to change their attitude for technology. The summit meant to keep the delegates updated about disruptive technology in Africa. Edward George, Ecobank the head of research commented that presently, there is a significant change in the global culture on how to carry out businesses. Therefore, the world population needs to change their innovative mindsets.

The adoption of disruptive Africa is less influenced by money, infrastructure or regulation. Instead, it is influenced by people’s mindset. People need to change how they reason and that will change their way of carrying out business. Furthermore, disruptive technology influences every business. However, many individuals do not realize that.

Banks are struggling to get telco licenses to give mobile banking licenses. On the other hand, telco investors are also trying to get banking licenses to give banking products. Therefore, it makes it hard to get who to regulate these businesses. Much focus on the African ecosystem should be given to the tech’s ability for disruption. Disruptive Africa is more of an enabler rather than a gimmick. The main challenge is how to use the enabler. Unless an idea is innovative and different and it has a use case it will still remain to be a gimmick. Therefore the good idea is not the solution to the problem but changing the idea to a reality is the solution.

On the ground, market knowledge is irreplaceable. This is despite the way one’s technological innovation is. Understanding the market is the main influence on the success of the technology sector. An individual has to go a step higher. One also needs to look for problems, find their solutions in relation to the market realities. A good example is the Kenyan based mobile money transfer service called M-Pesa. M-Pesa spent many years in convincing people that the startup is an honest venture.

Fintech still have a place in the continent since 60% of active mobile wallets are in Africa. Around 15 to 20 years ago, there were no mobile phones in Africa. But now more than 80 million people possess mobile phones. The mobile acquisition has greatly influenced the fintech revolution. However, financial institutions have failed to keep up with the changes. There are also informal lending institutions in Africa.  Good examples are Harambee in Kenya and tontines in West Africa. This shows how crowdfunding is has established its roots in the continent. People need to digitalize it to increase the efficiency. It will also ensure an increase in the amount of money directed in the system. MaTontine in Senegal and SliceBiz from Ghana are examples of startups that came in to digitize informal lending sectors.

Lack of proper information is one of the reasons why many Africans do not use formal financial systems. Many of them lack good records and they doubt opening bank accounts. However many African governments are working out ways on how to bring this to an end. A good example is Ghana where the government has introduced the inclusive ID. They have also introduced verification API and single digital identity. The three can be connected to many different payment platforms. Nigeria has also opened Bank Verification Number (BVN).  Banks must have it to open a bank account. The move has reduced fraud since each bank has one BVN.

Much of the digital interest goes to the use of technology to improve public service. Ability to get data and efficiency is a problem affecting many public institutions. But, fintech can help solve the mess. A good example is mSTAR used to reduce fraud and increase efficiency. The technology is used in Mozambique and Liberia. It does that by facilitating payments of government salaries using mobile phones. Many countries are also using blockchain technology to store important public data. Furthermore, lack of transparency in awarding of tenders in Nigeria is now gone. Budeshi is helping the country to ensure that tender is not awarded to the same person or company.


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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on [email protected] and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
Denis the Tech guru

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