In her opening remarks, Mrs. Josephine Olok, the chair of the FITSPA Board, affirmed the that the part of what FITSPA did was to establish a conducive environment for their diverse community of members to thrive and become strong contributors to the economy. They added that the event was one of several methods FITSPA employed to ensure that the community stayed in constant contact with each other to maximize available opportunities and explore areas of learning, collaboration, and growth. She also urged industry stakeholders to remain up to date with the evolving needs of the consumer since this would not only help them to remain innovative, but it would also allow them to provide necessary solutions to their communities. She set the pace for the two day-conference which focused on the platform economy its leveraged to promote innovation and inclusion.
Remarks from the Central Bank of Uganda
Representing the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda, Richard Byaruhanga conveyed the central bank's commitment as a strategic partner to FITSPA. He expressed the bank's support for the FinTech sector, including activities like the conference. He mentioned that the theme of the conference was relevant, and it aligned with the central bank's agenda of extending financial services to all communities through initiatives like CRB schemes, accrediting credit providers to make financing safe and regulated, the National Switch, among others. He also said that the central bank aims to build partnerships that enhance financial literacy and widen access to financial services using sustainable business models.
Remarks from the Minister for Science, Technology, and Innovations
Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero, the Minister for Science, Technology, and Innovations, graced the conference as the Chief Guest. She thanked FITSPA for the invitation and recognized the association as a pivotal stakeholder in advancing growth in Uganda. She affirmed that the ministry intends to join FITSPA as a member. Dr. Musenero extended an invitation to all FITSPA members and stakeholders to participate in the National Science Week, scheduled for November 6-11, 2023, at Kololo Independence Grounds, Kampala. She urged FinTech businesses and thought leaders to engage in the Innovation Pitch session during Science Week, which will host investors, brands, and organizations from across Africa.
Keynote Speech – Brett King
The keynote speech was delivered by Brett King who underscored the pivotal role of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), and climate change in reshaping the financial services sector.
In his presentation, Brett pointed out that financial service providers who are digital fast will grow at a higher rate compared to those who are not. Banks are moving fast in Africa but fintechs have has success on attacking friction when it comes to delivery of financial services. The line between who controls the market continually blurs as fintechs have been seen to acquire banks in some markets. He said that eventually, market share will shift.
Furthermore, he mentioned that to realize a fully digitized ecosystem, there will be need for programmable money putting topics like Central Banks Digital Currencies (CBDCs), smart contracts and robust digital identity infrastructure among other aspects, front and centre of the discussion.
Contrary to popular assumptions and opinions, he said that advancement in technology does not mean that cybercrime will grow, and this assumption was or is not statistically accurate because digitizing heightens accuracy, and most cybercrimes are rooted in human error or malicious conniving of employees who might have access to important information and systems.
Launch of the Fintech Fund Feasibility Study in partnership with aBi Finance Limited.
The consultant (Raymond Tumusiime) presented highlights of the comprehensive report on Funding Fintechs in Uganda. This feasibility study serves as a guide for investors and offers essential insights into how Fintech businesses can prepare for funding. This was done in a bid to increase and simplify financing options for Fintechs in Uganda.
Following the presentation, the feasibility study was officially launched by Josephine Olok, Chairperson of the FITSPA Board, and Mona Muguma Ssebuliba, the Chief Executive Officer of aBi Finance Limited. For more about the feasibility study, download a copy HERE.
Green Finance Presentation
Noah Owomugisha, Head of Green Growth & Business Development at aBi Finance, shared critical insights into the role of fintechs in greening Uganda's financial services sector urging all the financial services providers to adopt sustainable measures as they operate. He highlighted measures taken by aBi Finance to help businesses adapt to the changing environment and stressed the need for financial technology businesses to pioneer the delivery of eco-friendly products in the finance services sector.
CEO Founders’ Session with Brett King
The second part of the day comprised of a CEO and Founders’ fireside where, the Chief Executive of FlyHub, Joel Muhumuza hosted Brett King.
Anne Juuko, the Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Uganda, presented the bank's perspective and progress considering the platform economy shedding light on the importance of innovation in the banking sector. She advised that focusing on the current size for a financial institution like the one she leads would be the root of mediocrity and a lack of innovation hence posing significant threats to the sector. As a bank she mentioned that they had led by example with the roll out FlexiPay, a highly convenient tool offering free banking and everyday payment solutions to Ugandans.
Sarah Arapta, the Chair of the Uganda Bankers' Association, expressed her gratitude to delegates, sponsors, and the speakers for making such pertinent and discussions possible. She thanked Brett King for his keynote presentation which provided insight into Digital Inclusion, ESG practices that would drive sustainability, robust and relevant infrastructure that would promote inclusivity, and collaboration that would aim at progressing innovation.
Day 2: 12th October 2023
Mr. Segun Aina, President of Africa FinTech Network opened day 2 of the conference, he commended FITSPA and its members for successfully organizing the 5th Annual Fintech Conference. He emphasized the timeliness and significance of leveraging digital infrastructure for innovation and inclusivity in the context of Africa's ongoing search for solutions to drive innovation and inclusivity.
Gnugrid also shared the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) solution they provide to support financial services providers to alleviate and manage risks that arise from credit facilitation hence benefiting banks, micro finance deposit taking institutions (MDIs), and credit institutions, both for individuals and businesses.
Navigating the Future: Fintech Mergers and Acquisitions for Unprecedented Growth and Scale. Sponsored by Diamond Trust Bank (DTB)
During this panel discussion, it was noted that the Ugandan Fintech industry has glaring challenges in terms of preparedness for acquisitions and mergers (M&A). Among the primary obstacles identified*is what is known as "owner syndrome,". This was said to impede M&A activities in Africa, particularly in East Africa and Uganda. However, it was reported that discussions on this matter have been opened in the financial services sector and that is the first step in the right directions.
Recommendations were made included shifting the focus toward establishing partnerships and collaborations to lay the groundwork for M&A readiness. The presence of "Celebrity Fintechs" in the region, was acknowledged. It was reported that legislation related to M&A within the East African Community was primarily handled on a case-by-case basis, lacking a comprehensive framework.
The maturity of individual markets and the level of digital adoption in each market were also cited as factors influencing the M&A landscape. Despite these challenges, it was reported that the fintech sector was more likely to witness acquisitions compared to other industries. Over the previous 24 months, there had been a notable increase in acquisitions, with 26 ventures being acquired, a substantial rise from the seven recorded between 2019 and 2021.
Furthermore, the Fintech sector was expected to sustain its growth in several African countries, such as South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. These countries collectively contributed to over 70% of Africa's GDP.
Unpacking the Power of Shared Digital Infrastructure (Sponsored by Financial Sector Deepening Uganda - FSD Uganda)
The session delved into the essential aspects of shared digital infrastructure, encompassing both regulatory and legal perspectives, and the role of the private sector in maximizing the current legal framework to build effective shared infrastructure. There was also strong emphasis on the progress that government has made creating platforms that give players access to platforms that allow fintechs to consume services like e-KYC which are critical to registration on most business and individual applications in the market today.
Building a MoMo Economy (Sponsored by MTN MOMO)
The panel discussion shared insight on how MTN has utilized the platform economy to disrupted traditional business models across various industries, and to evolve and expand into new sectors, transforming the way people work, consume goods and services, and interact with each other in the digital age.
MTN Momo shed light on the steps it has taken to ensure digital transformation by creating a parallel digital universe using its platform where every transaction can be undertaken and this would include, payments, lending, insurance, pension, investment and for the simpler context, translate this to mean users can do all their transactions on one platform, pay suppliers, school fees, bills, insurance, take a staff loan, or invest in a unit trust and book a flight tickets.
The panel also discussed the dynamic and transformative opportunities for the sector that are available via the MOMO platform with specific regard to payments, credit facilities, and access to their Application Programming Interface to foster innovation among Fintechs. While it's challenging to predict all the specific developments, the panel tried to unveil the present and planned growth trajectory of the platform to enable all the players to maximize the benefits and economic prospects of the Momo economy.
Leveraging Collaboration and Shared Infrastructure to Serve the Last-Mile User (Sponsored by Innovation Village):
The panel discussed the critical aspect of improving financial inclusion through the topic "Leveraging Collaboration and Shared Infrastructure to Serve the Last-Mile User." In relation to the discussion, the last-mile user represents individuals and communities who are often underserved or excluded from mainstream financial services. These individuals typically reside in remote areas, lack access to traditional banking institutions, or encounter other barriers that hinder their financial participation.
The discussion highlighted the pivotal role of shared infrastructure in this endeavour. It was noted that shared infrastructure can encompass the use of common technological platforms, agent networks, or digital payment systems. It was emphasized that when multiple stakeholders share these infrastructures, it reduces duplication, lowers operational costs, and enhances accessibility for last-mile users. As an example, it was mentioned that a shared mobile banking platform can serve as a universal access point for multiple banks and financial institutions, making it more convenient for users to access their accounts and transact, even in remote areas.
Cyber Security, Connectivity & Data Analytics Panel discussion Sponsored by Raxio Data Centres & Roke Telkom.
During the panel discussion, moderated by Elizabeth Atukunda, Legal & Compliance at Yo! Uganda and sponsored by Raxio Data Centers & Roke Telkom, a deep dive into the realms of cybersecurity, data analytics, and the pivotal role of connectivity in safeguarding data security and privacy took place.
The panelists shared their insights on the multi-layered aspects of these critical domains. They unraveled the intricacies of cybersecurity, shedding light on the evolving threats and strategies to fortify digital defenses. Data analytics was discussed as a powerful tool for gleaning insights from vast data streams, thereby enhancing decision-making and risk assessment. Moreover, the panel accentuated the indispensable role of connectivity in this context, emphasizing how robust and reliable networks are fundamental in securing data and preserving privacy.
In essence, a holistic view of the ever-changing landscape of cyber threats and the technologies and strategies necessary to protect data, making it a valuable forum for understanding the intersection of cybersecurity, data analytics, and connectivity in our increasingly digital world.
Positioning for Growth: FITSPA Women
This session kicked off with a presentation on Financial Wellness by Dunstan Kisuule, CEO of YSAVE. He talked about the link between financial behaviours, literacy, discipline, management, independence, and ultimately, financial freedom. He provided insights into good financial behaviours, distinguishing between good and bad debt, as well as give helpful tips on how to budget well.
Christine Musisi, the former Resident Representative to the UN in Tanzania also delivered a heartfelt message focusing on women's empowerment and personal growth. She emphasized that oftentimes, women’s mindsets are the greatest obstacles to our own advancement. Musisi shared her own personal journey, a story that resonated deeply with the audience. With humility and conviction, she urged women to be resolute in their pursuit of solutions that can profoundly impact lives.
Additionally, she implored women to consistently affirm their worth and break free from the habit of believing they don't deserve the successes they achieve. She challenged them to become catalysts for change, actively dismantling self-imposed limitations in both their professional and personal lives, inspiring all to strive for greatness and embrace their full potential.
Positioning Women for Growth (Moderated by Catherine Tulina Kafumbe, Country Director, Safeboda.
This panel featured influential women in the FinTech sector, it addressed the importance of positioning women for growth in the FinTech industry and shared their experiences and insights.
FITSPA Women in FinTech Pitch Competition:
The day featured the highly anticipated FITSPA Women in FinTech Pitch competition. Wena emerged as the winner of the Pitch Competition Award, entitling them to management education, mentorship, and a cash prize.
In his closing remarks, Henry Kevin Wavamunno, the Vice-Chair of the FITSPA Board, expressed gratitude to FITSPA partners, sponsors, and the engagement partners in The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and aBi Finance for their continued support of FITSPA projects. He mentioned that FITSPA had taken note of the recommendations from the various deliberations throughout the conference. These recommendations would be analysed and repackaged as policy recommendations for the government through the regulatory bodies that FITSPA collaborates with as the technical teams see fit.
A token of appreciation to all our event sponsors and partners.