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Financial Inclusion: SystemSpecs, EFINA, others set agenda for Africa fintech and digital identity



SystemSpecs and Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access [EFINA] and other fintech firms have met at the 52nd Session of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Palmeraie Room, Palmeraie Golf Palace, Marrakech, Morocco to set agenda for Africa’s financial inclusion through fintech and digital identity.

Systemspecs’ Head of Strategy, Seun Adesanya who featured prominently at the event informed that the meeting resolved that Africa must adopt its own home-grown technology across Africa for economic growth and development.

According to Adesanya the meeting also recommended partnership among stakeholders in the digital identity and fintech sectors to optimize the emerging opportunities while also canvassing for the facilitation of funding facilities for more technology development.

“The two mutually reinforcing development frameworks that guide development efforts in Africa are the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063. In both agendas, the central role of technology and finance is emphasized as a means of implementation.

“In the 2030 Agenda, financial inclusion is not one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is not included in the targets.While, recognizing the importance of financial inclusion as an essential engine for growth with equity, African governments and their development partners are formulating strategies and policies aimed at creating an inclusive financial sector”, he pointed out.

He added that approximately 60 per cent of the African population eligible to access banking services is unbanked. Fintechs, and the roll out of digital identification (digital ID) can help reduce that number.

“In recent years, there has been enormous growth in Fintechs and Fintech products in Africa. Leading financial institutions and African Central Banks are setting up fintech units and adopting financial inclusion strategies.

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“The extent to which Fintechs can expand financial inclusion depends on their ability to reach the millions of unbanked Africans, most of whom lack a government-issued ID card. Governments are rolling out digital ID platforms to close the gap”, he explained.

ECA and the African Union Commission recently launched an initiative to develop a continental framework for an African digital ID.

52nd Session of the Economic Commission for Africa.

Reports have it that ECA plans to assist member states in granting digital IDs and developing a digital economy, through the establishment of the Centre of Excellence on Digital ID, Digital Trade and the Digital Economy.

Adesanya said that the side event were requested to discuss the challenges African countries are facing in the deployment of digital ID platforms and systems and in promoting the establishment of Fintechs in their efforts to promote financial inclusion .

He mentioned that the side chat focused on how best to promote innovation using digital ID platforms, Fintechs and payment services with expected outcomes as well as the development of a set of ideas, proposals and focused suggestions on how best to use digital ID and Fintechs to expand financial inclusion towards the implementation of the 2030 and 2063 Agendas.