If Ugandan Fintech was at a dating event, it’d would be the person at the bar that nobody had asked to dance yet. For too long left in the shade of (rather annoyingly) big cousin Kenya and (even more annoyingly) medium cousins Tanzania and Rwanda – things are suddenly starting to look more rosier for the Ugandan fintech scene.
Uganda has been the forgotten sibling of the East African region
Like all developing economies, country GDP trends can only tell part of the story – but benchmarking against similar nations with global data is always useful.
The economy is growing impressively as the chart (% GDP growth trend) shows. GDP Annual Growth Rate in Uganda averaged around 5.6% percent from 2009 until 2018; much of the recent growth coming from services and finance rather than commodities. This suggests a movement in the right direction.
However on the flip side, regional comparisons of the Ugandan economy suggest that more could be done to raise the standards of the economy and reduce inequalities. No proud Ugandan will be happy to see that on an East African basis, the relative performance has been behind its cousins. (Source: IMF)
Fintech can help raise Ugandan economic performance
There’s a growing recognition within the region’s emerging fintech scene that it can drive economic growth and widen financial inclusion for all sections of society.
Within sub-Saharan Africa, East Africa continues to lead in terms of adoption and usage rates (of mobile financial services). Whereas overall financial depth remains below other regions, Fintech is emerging as an engine of growth and technological enabler that fosters financial inclusion and economic development. IMF African Dept, Report on Fintech in Sub-Saharan Africa 2019
Thanks to the advance of mobile money, tens of millions of unbanked have become accustomed to using technology to manage their finances. This has been transformational within the region, and across the continent. This wide acceptance of using technology can now be harnessed to widen financial access further.
As has been identified by the IMF, the low level of financial infrastructure generates demand for payment services, with a relatively large level of access to mobile devices. Fintech can change the financial industry in sub-Saharan Africa by increasing competition and efficiency – not least for SME’s and rural communities who lack the credit and means to make transactions.
Enter FITSPA – seeking to drive the fintech agenda in Uganda
FITSPA (Financial Technology Service Providers’ Association) was formed in Uganda to support and strengthen the fintech ecosystem; driving innovation and investment to the country. The organisation is independent, non-profit, and represents Uganda’s local fintech community and global partners.
Fintech is driving most of the business sectors in Uganda making them more convenient, accessible, affordable and provides accountability at every stage. Our members create, develop and support solutions that solve the day today challenges of Uganda’s business environment using Technology. Our members are able to serve the unbanked using different channels to financially include everyone and achieve one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development goals that will help alleviate poverty in our economy.
Zianah N. Muddu, Engagement Partner FITSPA & General Secretary Africa FinTech Network
2019 sets to be a busy year with Ugandan fintech under the spotlight thanks to the African Fintech Festival being held in Kampala in November.
Supported by the Africa Fintech Network, it offers a chance for public and private institutions to mingle with entrepreneurs – Uganda front and centre of the agenda. As Zianah adds;
Hosting the Africa Fintech Festival will be a game changer for Uganda. So often we’ve looked across the region to larger markets for ideas and inspiration. For Ugandan entrepreneurs, this is an opportunity to show thought leadership and ideas that will shape fintech across the continent.
Held under the theme “Building Africa’s Digital Economy with Fintech”, up to 500 delegates from Africa and around the world will converge to consider deliberate and meaningful steps that must be taken to ensure Fintech delivers its promise to open up the financial society. More on the agenda will be published in this Ugandan series of fintech articles.
Ugandan diaspora – this time coming home with $’s to invest
It is estimated that more than 1.5 million Ugandans live in the diaspora and international remittances have been measured at around 5% of total GDP; clearly, they play a significant role in the economy. Remittances by the diaspora used to be focused on consumption and not investment, but that is changing with the rise of middle class Ugandans in the UK, Europe and America. In the UK, there are more than 100 thousand Ugandans, many of whom are now successful entrepreneurs. This diaspora is looking for investment opportunities and fintech offers a new high growth sector.
British Ugandans are an established economic block with significant funds to invest in the home country – but they expect real economic return. They take an interest in Uganda based on their heart, but invest based on their head. The fundamentals of fintech growth inevitably leads to interest in investing. At this year’s UK-Uganda Conventionthey’ll be seeking these opportunities.
This year’s UK-Uganda Convention is being held for the 9th year running and for the first time will feature fintech as a major focus area. Having created a partnership with FITSPA, the event will have a dedicated agenda to Ugandan fintech; featuring scale-up companies from Uganda and local insight from FITSPA. The event is supported by WorldRemit, one of Uganda’s remittance partners, who will also present their view on growth via partnerships in the country.
CRITAC: A Must Know Scientific Research Center In Africa Founded By This Young African Ghanaian Scientist, Dr. Kester Quist Aphetsi
The Center for Research, Information, Technology and Advanced Computing founded by the Young African Ghanaian Scientist, Dr. Kester Quist Aphetsi. RANK 1ston Clarivate Analytics in Ghana for its good scientific research.
Over the years,CRITAC has been providing webinars, workshops, seminars and tech-news. They feature distinguished speakers from professional bodies, academia and industry on their programs.
Their research laboratories are led by top research scientists, industrial experts and research studentswith research laboratories in different domains necessary for the execution of the projects they undertake.
Reports and works from CRITACare published withreputable publishers such as ACM, IEEE, Springer, Elsevier, Taylors and Francis, Emerald etc with indexing at Thompson Reuters and Scopus. One can accesstheir current research works and reports with the above-mentioned publishers.
Engaging CRITAC means engaging some of the best minds with the expertise of providing timely solutions to problems leveraging on innovation and ingenuity in delivering results.
Their Research and Development programs are revolutionary breakthroughs in areas such as cyber security, big data, artificial intelligence, embedded systems, networked systems and software, and the application of such technologies to diverse fields in business, science, engineering, education, government etc.
Amongst the countless Scientific Research Conference organised by CRITAC is the recent ended 2019 ICSIoT Conference at the Ghana Technology University that gathers students, professionals, Researchers, Scientists, Security Organisations, Military Personnel’s, Police and the likes.
Credit: Abigail Oppong
Egypt hosts ‘Seamless North Africa 2019’ to discuss latest trends in Financial Technology
CAIRO – June 2019: For the second consecutive year, Central Bank of Egypt will host on the 17th and 18th June 2019, the FinTech Conference “Seamless North Africa 2019”, under the auspices of H.E the Prime Minister, Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, and with the participation of the most renowned international and local experts in the field of financial technology, e-payments and e-commerce.
The conference is held in collaboration with the Council of Arab Economic Unity and the League of Arab States, and is co-organized by the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI).
Partakers will represent influencing and well recognized entities, institutions, banks and international companies, that cover multiple sectors of banking, finance and e-commerce, aiming to discuss and evaluate the role played by new technologies and strategies to cater for improved services to citizens and consumers across the Arab world.
Ms. Lobna Helal, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, affirmed that “hosting the conference for the second year in a row reflects the tremendous success achieved by SEAMLESS 2018 in its first edition, emphasizing that “The Central Bank of Egypt’s hosting of the Conference stems from the premise of its pioneering role to communicate with society and address the challenges facing the expansion of innovative financial products and services. The role played by the Central Bank is no longer limited to the regulatory and organizational aspects, but has extended to support and incentivize the society to be less cash dependent and to sustain the transition towards financial inclusion, Under the umbrella of the National Payments Council, which is privileged with the chairmanship of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. ”
Eng. Ayman Hussein, Sub-Governor of the Central Bank for the Payment Systems and Information Technology Sector, has stated that “The conference has attained escalating importance derived from the leading role played by FinTech in providing, efficient, effective and affordable financial and banking services to meet the diverse timely and logistical needs of customers, thus creating an enabling environment and improving accessibility to the general public, appointing financial technology as a key pillar of financial inclusion and a fundamental supporter of economic growth, accordingly, achieving benefits on the individual and state levels”.
The conference will discuss the challenges that face Egypt’s emerging FinTech eco-system, in the areas of microfinance, microcredit, cross-border payments, remittances, data analysis, artificial intelligence for retail banking, cybersecurity and the SME credit score.
He also mentioned that the conference supports innovation in FinTech, whereas it will feature a pitch off competition for Fintech startups, whereas candidates will compete for a grant of USD 50,000 in cash awarded by an international sponsoring company. Competitors will present their new business model or innovative Fintech solution in front of a panel, composed of leading Egyptian and international experts.
Dr. Rasha Negm, General manager Fintech & innovation has added that “The conference will incorporate several panel discussions, interviews, presentations and workshops revolving around the latest trends and innovations in financial technology. An exhibition of more than 50 leading technology and innovative solution providers will be held on the sidelines of the conference, which avails an opportunity to learn about the latest innovations in the Fintech field”.
– EGYPT TODAY
IBM expands its Quantum Computing Program to Africa with Wits University
DURBAN – IBM has launched the expansion of its quantum computing efforts to Africa in a new collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) in South Africa.
Wits University is the first African partner on the IBM Q Network and will be the gateway for academics across South Africa and to the 15 universities who are part of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).
“This is the latest outcome of the joint partnership between IBM Research and Wits, which started in 2016 when IBM opened its second lab in Africa in Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Johannesburg. To expand the IBM Q Network to include Wits will drive innovation in frontier-technologies and benefit African-based researchers, academics and students who now have access to decades of quantum computing capabilities at the click of a button,” said Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs.
Quantum computing promises to be able to solve certain problems – such as chemical simulations and types of optimization – that will forever be beyond the practical reach of classical machines. IBM first made quantum computers available to the public in May 2016 through its IBM Q Experience quantum cloud service and has doubled the power of its quantum computers annually since 2017.
IBM established the IBM Q Network™, a community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science.
Researchers at Wits will investigate the use of quantum computing and machine learning in the fields of cosmology and molecular biology with a specific focus on HIV drug discovery. The teams will also jointly study quantum teleportation, a field pioneered by IBM Fellow Charles Bennett.
“For Africa to remain competitive for the coming decades we must get the next generation of students quantum ready,” said Dr. Solomon Assefa, Vice President, Emerging Market Solutions and Director, IBM Research – Africa.
As part of the partnership between IBM and Wits, scholars from sixteen ARUA universities will have the opportunity to apply for access to IBM Q’s most-advanced quantum computing systems and software for teaching quantum information science and exploring early applications.
To gain access to the IBM Q quantum cloud service, ARUA scholars will be required to submit quality research proposals to a scientific committee of Wits and IBM experts for approval.
“Having access to IBM Q is pivotal for Wits University’s cross-disciplinary research program and allows our researchers in quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and in the broad natural sciences, including in laser technology, quantum optics and molecular design, to leverage the next level of discovery research. It’s envisioned that the first results from this collaboration will be forthcoming in the next two years,” said Vilakazi.
IBM’s recently unveiled IBM Q System One, is the world’s first integrated universal approximate quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use.
IBM’s most advanced universal quantum computing systems available through the IBM Q Experience platform. More than 10 million experiments have run on the IBM Q Experience and users have published over 160 third-party research papers. Also, developers can work with Qiskit, a full-stack, open-source quantum software development kit, to create and run quantum computing programs.
To further increase skills development, IBM Q is hosting an invite-only Qiskit Camp in South Africa this December for 200 quantum researchers and computer scientists where they will learn in an immersive environment and receive hands-on training.
The agreement with Wits was signed in April 2019.
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