Progress report on Challenge Fund project: Sustainable Fintech in Eastern & Southern Africa

Progress report on Challenge Fund project: Sustainable Fintech in Eastern & Southern Africa

17 July 2018

On 17 July 2018, Human Science Research Council (HSRC), South Africa, facilitated a video conference with project partners Center for Internet & Financial Innovation (CIFI) and LianLian Pay, both China, and Emerging Market Sustainability Dialogues (EMSD) to discuss progress on the research activities in the Challenge Fund project “Banking on Africa – Opportunities for Fintech Development in Southern and Eastern Africa”

Intermediate results included:

  • A literature review to identify the chances and barriers for financial inclusion in Southern and Eastern Africa. The main findings from the review were that although access to financial services is relatively high, a major challenge remains to raise the low usage of these services. This low usage is due to both the lack of adequate instruments to incentivize use by all income classes, as well as the lack of steady incomes by less affluent communities. Concerning Fintech opportunities, a barrier remains in the unequally spread internet access along the urban-rural frontier, whereby the large country sizes are raising the costs for distribution.
  • CIFI introduced their framework for connecting the identified barriers from the African region with China´s Fintech trajectory in order to draw lessons for strengthening Fintech in Southern and Eastern Africa.

The next phase of the project will focus on fieldwork to validate the findings as well as include the entrepreneurial and investor perspective towards the opportunities for Fintech innovation in Africa.

In August, the research partners will hold a workshop during the “BRICS and African Development” Conference, taking place 22-24 August in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to reflect on the preliminary results. EMSD will contribute to the conference through presenting in two panels.

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