The UK the Department for International Trade launched The Tech for Growth programme aimed at bolstering trade opportunities with developing countries by adopting technology and increasing access. Africa is poised to be a major beneficiary as it participates in the first phase. Across the continent, access to financial services generally remains low, particularly in Subsaharan Africa. 60% of adults are unable to access traditional forms of financial services such as insurance and banking. Mobile phone use is up by 40%, a sign that inspires DIT to leverage this stat to expand access to financial services.
The programme will establish a UK-Africa ‘Tech for Growth’ ecosystem funneling financial services to underprivileged areas. This covers areas across the UK and Africa while promoting partnerships between African and British tech firms.
The initiative also aims to promote the UK-Africa FinTech trade by highlighting commercial opportunities and hurdles hindering growth. DIT will promote close relationships with other African governments and regulators in an effort to stimulate the African tech sector.
In a statement shared during the launch, UK Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone said, “The UK is home to some of the most innovative tech companies in the world while also being one of the deepest and most globally connected financial centres. It is why we are the top choice for tech firms seeking a base to launch internationally into new markets.”
Tech for Growth released a research document Inclusive Tech: Overcoming barriers to scale in emerging markets during the launch. The research output was produced alongside a FinTech accelerator and a Catalyst Fund.
Maelis Carraro, the director of Catalyst Fund revealed how “This report identifies the key barriers innovators face and offers potential solutions.”
After the first year’s programme it will expand to Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Richard Anning, Head of ICAEW’s Tech Faculty described the UK as a “vibrant centre for tech start-ups combined with deep expertise in financial services and FinTech.”