Skip to content

Is This The Beginning Of The End Of Cash?

  • 5 min read

Africa Tech Festival 2023 meticulously delves into the realms of digital currency, exploring its vast potential and will help 15,000 attendees to navigate its intricate pitfalls, throughout a series of carefully crafted sessions. 

 Africa Tech Festival (Cape Town, 13 – 16 November), is putting a sharp focus on the continent’s ability to expand its fintech footprint, building on last year’s robust uptick in the fintech sector that showed a healthy report card for the potential for further growth and development.

This trend is echoed by Hannes Wessels, General Manager of Southern and Francophone Africa, Binance, exhibiting at Africa tech Festival, who’s YoY figures boast phenomenal growth. “South Africa has experienced significant growth in cryptocurrency adoption, with active users increasing by 51.1% YoY in May 2023. The trend of new registrations over the last two years also shows a positive 58.0% YoY increase,” he reports.

Other noteworthy statistics from 2022 include Binance enabling 2.4 million users to spend their cryptocurrency in real-world transactions and processing $56 billion in trading volume on average every day, at a speed of about 0.7 million transactions per second. “Across 70 countries, 11.5 million people utilized Binance Pay for seamless payments,” he adds.

Many African countries have become attractive destinations for fintech investment, especially in the mobile money, digital payments, and financial inclusion areas. Innovative technology solutions have seen underserved and remote populations, at last, get a foot in.  Enabling the smooth rollout to these areas was the establishment of new regulatory bodies that adapted to the evolving fintech landscape, thereby introducing a conducive environment for innovation and consumer protection and financial stability.  Most notably, mobile money gained widespread popularity and expanded financial access to unbanked populations. Additionally, businesses also got a leg up through digital payment platforms.

Arguably, the biggest achievement has been the financial inclusion of women, who for decades were hamstrung by a lack of opportunity and prejudice. These new innovations have enabled them to access much-needed financial services to improve their lives.

But, despite the encouraging picture, challenges remain. The sector still faces issues such as limited infrastructure, cybersecurity risks and widespread digital illiteracy. It is Africa Tech Festival that aims to explore, innovate, and champion ways to remove these obstacles, through a series of panel discussions, fireside chats, and networking sessions between 14-16 November when the festival takes over Cape Town.

The fintech breakthroughs will also be celebrated at the upcoming Africa Tech Festival Awards Gala Dinner on 15 November at the Bay Hotel. The exclusive category of Fintech Innovation of the Year Award Category puts the spotlight on the transformative power of financial technology in driving economic growth, financial inclusion, and digital transformation. This category proved extremely popular in the application process and public voting phases, and the three organisations which will battle to bring the award home, are Tigo Tanzania, Mukuru and Vodacom Tanzania.

Says James Williams Senior Director, Events | Connecting Africa | Informa Tech: “The incredible advantages of digitalisation are dependent on not only a plentiful and reliable source of power, and it’s essential that the public sector to have strong strategies in place to drive this growth, hence our growing focus on this segment, at Africa Tech Festival.”

The importance of ICT policy and regulation in nurturing tech-enabled enterprise and digitally literate societies is now widely appreciated, and getting the festival gets off to a cracking start with a Keynote Panel: Unleashing Digital Prosperity: How Progressive Policy is Shaping Africa’s Tech Transformation, at which several African Ministers will be sharing insight, and which sets the framework for Fintech-focused sessions such as a panel entitled: Future of Fintech Policy: How Are Regulators Preparing for the Next Wave of Innovation? This will delve into the critical role of regulators in shaping the future of fintech across Africa, especially pertinent since regulating a volatile and decentralised system remains a challenge with countries such as Tanzania and Ethiopia banning crypto altogether.

Also part of the Fintech MFS stream, are panels and discussions covering such key topics as: Panel: Overcoming the Challenge of Credit Access in the Fintech Industry and a panel: How Open Banking Can Help Financial Institutions Compete in the Digital Age.

Payment focused start-ups are currently accounting for 54% of all fintech start-ups on the continent as of 2022. Looking into the Future of African E-Payments, is a thought provoking panel that asks if this Is This the Beginning of the End of Cash?

Other notable sessions at the festival include the dedicated AfricaTech arena, that includes a host of tech leaders across a broad range of industries focussing on AI, IoT, blockchain, fintech, cloud, data centre and security. AfricaCom will focus on cyber security, service provider tech, digital infrastructure investment and 5G. AfricaIgnite will look at the support for start-ups, diversity and inclusion, tools to remove obstacles and the interconnectivity of the continent’s digital start-ups ecosystem.  

One to watch out for, as a reminder, is the Start-Up World Cup pitch competition that will see the winner of these top ten ‘contestants’ head off to battle it out for a USD 1 million investment, at the finals in the USA on 1 December.  The Pitch Battle is on Thursday afternoon at 14H00, 16 November.

For more information, please see website here: Africa Tech Festival 2023 – The Home of AfricaCom & AfricaTech 

View all ticket options for Africa Tech Festival, including start-up passes, here.

To register for media accreditation please use this link: Press Pass or see the Africa Tech Festival website and follow the links to our press zone. 

(Please note that all requests are adjudicated and there may be some delay before you hear back from us).