Regulation key to growth of African fintech

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African fintech is a booming sector, but effective regulation and tackling fraud are crucial to ensuring the space fulfils its potential in offering more Africans access to financial services.

This is according to panellists at the Africa Technology Summit (ATS) held last week in Lagos, Nigeria, by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST).

Interpay Africa director Kojo Dougan said the statistics were testament to the huge growth of the fintech industry, with mobile money at its heart.

“Mobile money transactions are increasing significantly over the years, which is a sign of boost in the fintech industry. Mobile financial transactions have become a lot more easier and interesting,” he said.

This was a view echoed by Dare Okoudjou, chief executive officer (CEO) of MFS Africa, who said the number of transactions taking place via fintechs in Africa was greater than the number going through banks.

“Users are now confident of cross-border payments, and that is great,” he said.

In spite of the growth that has already been seen in the space, there is still an opportunity for further development given the amount of Africans that remain unbanked.

“There are a lot of people who do not have access to banking services due to limited branches of banks. This is where technology creates value for businesses and customers,” said Tayo Oviosu, CEO of Nigerian mobile payments startup Paga.

For fintech to fulfil its potential in Africa, however, regulation will be key.

“Regulations have a huge role to play in ensuring the fintech industry becomes bigger and better,” said SimbaPay CEO Nyasinga Onyancha.

Ensuring fraud is kept to a minimum is a vital part of this.

“Fraud is a big threat in the fintech space. Efforts are being made to bring it under control,” said Iyin Aboyeji, co-founder and managing director of Nigeria’s Flutterwave.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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