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By Corey Noles

Finnovex West Africa: A Timely Discourse on Leveraging Technologies for Accelerated Financial Inclusion

Backbase, SmartStream, Apollo Fintech, Network International L.L.C, Quipu, Suretree, InPay, and NeoSoft Technologies were all well-represented at the 2nd Annual Edition of the Leading Summit on Financial Services Innovation and Excellence within the West African Region, to spearhead the conversation on what the future holds as it relates to driving financial inclusion within the West African region.

The Summit was held from October 26-27, 2021 online via the host’s virtual platform, which witnessed the attendance of 1000+ CEOs, CDOs, COOs, CIOs, CISOs, CTOs, CROs, senior vice presidents, vice presidents, directors, and heads of departments from the banking and FI industry.

This spectacular two-day event was timely as it highlighted the imperative to invest and develop new technological solutions in cybersecurity, customer experience, advanced data analytics, and new digital delivery platforms for driving financial inclusion within the sector.

Insights were dished out with a blend of fireside chats, panel discussions, and expert presentations. Industry thought leaders explored various topics, including Accelerating West Africa Digital Transformation Journey; Open Banking to Open Finance – Accelerating West Africa digital transformation Journey; Open Banking to Open Finance – The New Era; Future Payments Landscape in West Africa; Driving Artificial Intelligence to Become the Bank of the Future; and The Use of the Cloud to Create New Business Frontiers of FinTech & Banking.

The Conference Chair, Cornel Dixon, Head of Africa at Backbase highlighted the fact that the biggest unicorns come from Africa. Hence, there should be an increase in leveraging these tech players to drive financial inclusion.

Backbase is the creator of the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform (EBP). Its purpose is to help financial institutions turn the threat of digital into an opportunity and get ahead in today’s competitive digital landscape.

During his session, Vincent Kilcoyne, executive vice president product management at SmartStream, highlighted some statistics as it relates to the true cost of operational losses and the need to overhaul internal processes to reduce these losses worth billions.

SmartStream is a recognized leader in financial transaction management solutions that enables firms to improve operational control, reduce costs, build new revenue streams, mitigate risk, and comply accurately with regulations.

Stephen McCullah, CEO at Apollo Fintech talked about driving the efficiency of implementing the mass adoption of digital payments with the CBDC and Bank Wire System, which would further help to reduce operational losses.

Apollo Fintech seeks to design and develop world-shaping solutions that far surpasses what the fintech industry currently offers, and to combine those offerings into a single universal ecosystem for a global economy.

On innovation strategies to apply advanced analytics for integrated insights and visibility,

Chinwe Uzoho, general manager, West and Central Africa, at Network International talked about the importance for every organization to fashion out their data. Network International is a leading enabler of digital commerce across the Middle East and Africa region, the world’s most underpenetrated payments markets. They are the only pan-regional provider of digital payment solutions at scale with presence across the entire payments value chain.

The Summit format consisted of speaker presentations and panel discussions, among the panel and presentation speakers included Peter Hainz, global head of product management – cloud and managed services at SmartStream; and AJ Mora, director of communication at Apollo Fintech. They deliberated on how digital evolution has become a necessity for all banks and financial institutions as they look to bridge the financial inclusion gap.

Furthermore, the Finnovex West Africa Awards took place alongside the event to recognize and appreciate the efforts of more than 10 individuals, institutions, and service providers within the field of banking and financial services industry. The awards seek to honor the pioneers and visionaries who have transformed the overall banking and financial services industry.

Finnovex Awards Winners include:

EXCELLENCE IN DIGITAL BANKING – UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA PLC

EXCELLENCE IN MOBILE BANKING – GTBANK GHANA

EXCELLENCE IN PAYMENTS – STANDARD BANK GROUP

EXCELLENCE IN FINTECH – PAYSTACK

EXCELLENCE IN SME BANKING – ACCESS BANK

EXCELLENCE IN RETAIL BANKING – ZENITH BANK

EXCELLENCE IN CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE ENHANCEMENT – STANBIC BANK

EXCELLENCE IN INSURANCE DIGITIZATION – TANGERINE AFRICA

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO STRATEGIC NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES – FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA LTD.

EMERGING MICROFINANCE BANK OF THE YEAR – ADVANS LA FAYETTE MICROFINANCE BANK NIGERIA

Finnovator Of the Year (West Africa) – KENNEDY UZOKA, Group Managing Director/CEO at United Bank for Africa Plc

Finfluencer of the Year – DR. WILLIAM DERBAN, Co-Founder and Chairman of Financial Inclusion Forum Africa

CEO of the Year – DR. HERBERT WIGWE, CEO of Access Bank PLC

CIO of the Year – GEORGE MENSAH, CIO of Fidelity Bank Ghana

CDO The Year – Chris Esezobor, Chief Digital Officer at Keystone Bank

CISO of the Year – ALBERT YIRENCHI DANQUAH, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Stanbic Bank Ghana

CTO of the Year – DANIEL AKUMABOR, Chief Technology Officer at Access Bank PLC

CFO of the Year – William Anwana, Chief Financial Officer at Sterling Bank

Women in Leadership – Olamide Adeosun, Chief Financial Officer at FBN Quest

The Finnovex Global Series, which is organized by Exibex is dedicated to examining the future of financial services on how disruptive innovations are reshaping the way they are structured, made available and consumed.

The Finnovex series of global summits highlights thought leadership on issues with long-term implications to the industry and lays a concrete foundation for multi-stakeholder dialogues that explores the potential of these innovations to transform the overall financial ecosystem as well as the risks and opportunities that could emerge from shifts in the way financial services are designed, delivered and used in the future.

For more information on the Finnovex Summit editions coming up globally within the year 2022, visit https://finnovex.com/

If you would like to sponsor or be an event partner for any upcoming series, send an email to info@exibex.com

Author Bio: Corey Noles is the Managing Editor for Innovation & Tech Today. In more than two decades as a journalist, he has covered crime, MLB, business, healthcare, politics and anything else that could snag a headline.

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Finnovex West Africa: A Timely Discourse on Leveraging Technologies for Accelerated Financial Inclusion

November 2, 2021
By Corey Noles

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