The three-day forum, that ran through Thursday, features a series of expert panel sessions and events aimed at advancing policies and regulations, and establishing long-term connections and partnerships to promote financial inclusion through fintech.
"To emphasize the importance of accelerating our socio-economic development, especially given the large young population in Africa, we must consider the significance of inclusive fintech," said Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema at the event.
He added that providing opportunities for African youth can be achieved by paying attention to inclusive financial technology, allowing them to innovate. "It is no longer a question on our lips because we acknowledge that financial technology and access to finance capital are of utmost importance to our quest for accelerated economic and social development to cater to our population."
Tidjane Thiam, board chairman of Rwanda Finance Limited, mentioned that their ambition, in collaboration with the Africa Fintech Network, the umbrella body for fintech companies in Africa, is to create a leading fintech event in Africa that would act as a catalyst and an inclusive platform to accelerate the growth of Africa and its fintech industry.
Thiam believed that technology presented a unique opportunity for inclusive development and economic growth on the continent. He expressed confidence that some of the most successful companies in the world would come from Africa.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, speaking at the event, acknowledged that financial technology is accelerating Africa’s digital transformation, with evident impact.
However, compared to the rest of the world, Kagame said Africa has produced a relatively small number of unicorns, and the majority of transactions are still done in cash.
"To sustain the gains already made, we must forge stronger partnerships and build a more equitable, accessible, and sustainable fintech ecosystem," he said, highlighting the importance of addressing inadequate levels of broadband coverage, documentation, and financial literacy to enhance the delivery of financial services.
In a video conference, Achim Steiner, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, said fintech provided an unprecedented opportunity to align financial systems with national development priorities.
He emphasized that giving people more choices over their money through inclusive fintech would enable them to invest in critical areas that mattered to them and future generations.
The forum attracted nearly 3,000 participants, including policymakers, investors, and industry leaders.