Fintech is a booming industry throughout Africa, but South Africa is reluctant to take advantage of this opportunity as a result of its lack of skills and training, particularly in financial literacy.
African fintech startups were amongst the most heavily backed on the continent last year, according to the Disrupt Africa African Tech Startups Funding Report, with the likes of Nomanini amongst those raising funding.
Major global banks are also increasingly working with fintech startups in a bid to keep up with the pace of technological change in the industry.
Michael Roberts is chief executive officer (CEO) of Khonology, an African services company providing business solutions with the vision of empowering Africa. One of the company’s subsidiaries, Future Talent Academy, believes the fintech industry can be the catalyst to fixing South Africa’s “national crisis” of unemployment and poor financial literacy.
Roberts says fintech holds the promise of empowering Africa and delivering transformation by encouraging social inclusion, expanding the digital economy and enabling stronger links between citizens, governments, customers, businesses and the communities they serve.
Banking, telecommunications, insurance and manufacturing are a few industries changing through fintech, but a lack of skills is slowing down the pace of this change.
“We must start training technologists who gain unique FinTech skills and who can change their environment. This way we drive employment and education forward for Africans by Africans,” he said.
Future Talent Academy runs a programme aimed at providing a practical understanding of the day-to-day workings of specific markets, explaining the application of the products within those markets, and explaining the underpinning technology and people processes that connect buyers and sellers in any market.
“We can give the local youth a real opportunity to gain useful skills and experience. We need to start by educating society about fintech and then provide employment through learnerships and internships,” Roberts said.