Fintech-focused Catalyst Fund secures $12.9m from UK Aid

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The fintech-focused Catalyst Fund has secured GBP10 million (US$12.9 million) in UK aid support to invest in 30 more inclusive fintech startups across Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico and India, and further accelerate the fintech ecosystem in these markets.

The funding for the Catalyst Fund was announced by the Lord Mayor of the City of London Peter Estlin during a visit to Nairobi this week ahead of the first UK-Africa Investment Summit next year.

The Catalyst Fund supports business development and investor opportunities for early-stage fintech companies in emerging markets. With support from the UK Department for International Development (DfID), the Catalyst Fund will help connect a further 30 local fintech companies with international investors and mentors.

“Today’s announcement highlights the mutual benefits of closer financial co-operation to both the UK and Kenya. By forging partnerships across Africa, the UK’s financial services sector can turbocharge national economies and empower individuals financially, creating thousands of jobs and enriching lives across the continent,” Estlin said.

Amolo Ng’weno, chief executive officer (CEO) of BFA Global, which manages the Catalyst Fund, said the firm had seen a significant opportunity for inclusive fintech startups to play a key role in spreading access to financial services. 

“However, in order to succeed, they require early stage capital, partnerships which can enable pathways for scale, and access to a high potential talent pool. Our mission at the Catalyst Fund is to accelerate these startups and strengthen the inclusive fintech ecosystem, and we look forward to working toward this goal with the support of UK Aid,” Ng’weno said.

The Lord Mayor also announced through the City of London Corporation that five startups under the Catalyst Fund will be selected to attend the Innovate Finance Global Summit, taking place during UK Fintech week in 2020, helping to strengthen the links between UK and African fintech sectors.

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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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