Sunday, 10 January 2016

IFIF 2016 to host discussions on mobile money architecture to reach Africa’s under-banked


A culture of innovation, expanding mobile networks and increasing availability of microfinance is changing the financial landscape in Africa

7 January 2016, Khartoum, Sudan: Mobile money, a revolutionary innovation developed and grown in Africa, has been the most effective tool in increasing financial inclusion on the continent. Providing financially excluded people with basic transactional services accessible from the palm of their hand, it has disrupted the financial landscape on the continent. This is challenging traditional banks and establishing a low-cost, inclusive retail banking network across Africa. While the services provided are simple, mobile money has the potential to increase the breadth of its product offering as it continues to grow.

Financial inclusion and mobile money will be discussed at the 2nd edition of the International Forum on Islamic Finance (IFIF 2016) held in strategic partnership with the Bank of Khartoum. Under the theme of “Innovation, Inclusion and Infrastructure,” the forum aims to tackle the multi-trillion dollar needs of Africa for financial inclusion and infrastructure development.
The forum will feature a high profile panel discussion on the topic of further expanding the reach of FinTech and mobile payments to under-banked markets. The discussion will revolve around three key areas: regulatory improvements to foster financial innovations, the role of crowd-funding in providing financing, and Islamic microfinance and ways that Islamic banks integrate financial technology and enhance credit information sharing to increase investments in the real economy.

The discussions at the panel will be led by Marvin Cole, Founder & Global CEO of Ovamba, and the panelists include Brian Richardson, Chief Executive Officer of Wizzit, and Mohammed Kateeb, Group Chairman and CEO of Path Solutions. Justin Floyd, CEO & Deputy Chairman of RedCloud Technologies Ltd, and Kashif Naeem, EVP & Group Head - Retail & Microfinance of Bank of Khartoum.

Speaking ahead of the forum, Brian Richardson said that: “Our philosophy is about bringing the bank to the people rather than the traditional model of getting the people to the bank”. Banks can play a bigger role in promoting financial inclusion due to their comparatively larger size and resources but Brian added that in order to do so “they have to adapt to the new financial landscape and equip themselves with mobile payment and banking services”

Mobile money services are successful mainly because they provide basic financial services to the large financial isolated population of Africa. While this is remarkable, this infrastructure can be further leveraged to provide a broader range of mobile banking services to the masses. A practical example is “M-Shwuari” by Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) and Safaricom that is aimed at widening the scope of mobile money services. It equips the consumer with full-fledged bank account accessible from their cell phone that provides easy access to short-term credit. In a country (Kenya) where most of the population doesn’t have access to a bank let alone credit services, having this facility is truly amazing.

IFIF will take place on 9-10 February 2016 in Khartoum, Sudan. For more information, visit www.ifif2016.com.

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