As a result of their unique blend of trail-blazing technology and disruptive innovation, FinTech players have the ability to accelerate the digital transformation of financial services in Africa and, in turn, spur existing banks to rapidly ramp up their own innovative approaches to meet the financial needs of under-served markets across the continent.
FinTech players are increasingly becoming an important part of the fabric of Africa’s financial services industry. In addition, the leading banks on the continent are now harnessing innovative technology to meet market needs and are also collaborating with FinTech start-ups to help them connect with under-served consumers, improve financial inclusion and provide a platform to scale much faster.
Combining a highly innovative and interactive event format with world‐class speakers and more than 200 carefully selected participants, Finnovation Africa: Uganda 2017, to be held at the Sheraton Kampala on the 7th of April, will tackle the most pressing questions for the progress of FinTech and banking in Africa, providing a platform for all stakeholders to engage in creating the future of ﬁnancial services on the continent – from established banking powerhouses to FinTech start‐ups.
Finnovation Africa: Uganda 2017 is delighted to welcome Chris Principe, CEO of Chain2Trade, Inc. and Founder of FinFuture magazine & Financial IT magazine as an international keynote speaker. US based Chris will provide international insights on Harnessing the Impact of FinTech to Deliver Constructive Economic & Social Outcomes for Africa – What makes FinTech in Africa Unique. Chris is a futurist interested in the use of cryptocurrencies powered by blockchain technology as a reserve currency for global trade and to provide alternative financial power to people and business. Chris will also speak in a session dedicated to Blockchain wherein he will give insights on Unblocking the Potential of Blockchain in Africa. In addition to this, Chris will also be a part of the Leader’s Dialogue Live! keynote interview session where he will conduct a live onstage one-on-one discussion with Evans Munyuki, Chief Digital & Information Officer (CDIO) of MyBuckson theFinTech revolution in Africa – it’s impact and outcome.
Chris Principe will also moderate The Wolves’ Den, one of the most innovative features of Finnovation Africa: Uganda 2017, which will enableFinTech start-ups and trail-blazers to real-time test the positive impact of their solutions against a seasoned panel of FinTech experts – and build their expert feedback into the further development of their business model. Evans Munyuki, Chief Digital & Information Officer (CDIO), MyBucks; Dr. Dan Marom, CEO & Co-Founder, Irrational Innovations; Aaron Fu, Managing Partner, Africa, NEST.vc; NyasingaOnyancha, CEO & Co-Founder, SimbaPay; and Ken Njoroge, CEO, Cellulant will participate in this session as our five expert “Wolves” who will ask the tough questions and provide the illuminating insights during the Wolves’ Den session.
Speaking ahead of his participation in Finnovation Africa: Uganda 2017, Konstantin Peric, Deputy Director, Financial Services for the Poor at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said that: “Industry leaders from across the African and global FinTech industry will gather at Finnovation Africa: Uganda 2017. There they will harness the growing momentum around digital financial services into more inclusive and productive economies across Sub‐Saharan Africa. As the formal economy grows, we see individuals, communities, and nations prosper, global and national leaders make progress on other key growth and development goals. When unbanked and underbanked families have access to digital financial services, everyone benefits.”
Building on the social impact of FinTech,Dr Dan Marom, CEO & Co-Founder of Irrational Innovations, noted that: “Lack of access to financial services, high mobile penetration, and strong entrepreneurial spirit are some of the key reasons behind the acceleration of financial services penetration in Africa; some of the most innovative FinTech and banking solutions are being developed in and for the region. Additionally, financial inclusion is a key strategic priority in Africa and FinTech can play a vital role in further expanding access to financial services. There is an opportunity to change people’s lives while building scalable profitable companies that consumers need and want. Recent research has revealed that almost a third of the money invested in African start-ups was consumed by new FinTech firms and the Finnovation Africa: Uganda 2017 event has created a unique platform for these start-ups and trail-blazers, the broader FinTech ecosystem, as well as traditional banks to engage and learn from each other.”
Finnovation Africa: Uganda 2017 will take place at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel in Uganda on the 7th of April and will gather all stakeholders and influencers in the banking andFinTech ecosystem from the key markets across Africa and internationally.
Staying connected: keeping the numbers moving in the finance industry
By Robert Gibson-Bolton, Enterprise Manager, NetMotion
2020 will certainly be hard to forget. Amongst the many changes we have come to live with, for many of us it has been adapting to a new style of working. Whatever your take on it is, remote working, working from home or even agile working, one thing remains clear – for many of us, this could be the new-normal for the foreseeable future. The professional services sector is no different. For example, many finance practices around the world are now allowing staff to work from home part of the time. In addition, a recent KPMG report found that half of the UK’s financial services workforce want to work from home after COVID-19.
Will this therefore become the de facto working practice for the finance industry too? We can’t say for sure, but this agile approach to working has certainly caused a major rethink for many firms. And as they evolve and adapt to meet the demands of a different way of working, firms need to ensure that their workforce can seamlessly interact with each other and their clients – this is key if they want to continue to deliver exceptional client service. Whilst financial services organisations everywhere are busy adopting innovative new technologies to better reflect the ‘work from anywhere environment’, they need to ensure secure access to resources and strive towards enhancing the end user experience. Success will be replicating the office working experience at home or wherever else they may be.
It’s all well and good for a firm to boast about the ability of their staff to work successfully from home, but how do they also establish that their people are just as productive as they were before? Whilst the IT department will have to grapple with security and compliance issues that arise from agile and remote working, they must also ensure that their people can connect securely, without eschewing user experience. And it needs to be completely seamless, without compromising the service level provided to clients.
Why all the fuss?
Which brings us nicely to persistent connectivity. Persistent connectivity effectively allows you to do more. How frustrating for the user when connectivity drops, or when the device that they are working on can’t find a network to connect to (or if the device switches between different networks). When connectivity drops, and re-connection is required then there is that small period where the user is not connected at all. And the user might have to re-authenticate or log into their VPN again (most VPNs are rubbish when they lose connectivity). All of these different scenarios ultimately disrupt the user experience – persistent connectivity provides the flexibility to overcome these challenges. When you enjoy consistent connectivity, you are making sure that the technology works as it was designed to work, allowing staff to rely on optimum user experience, anytime, anywhere – in effect, supplying them with that office-like experience, wherever they are. Just think about how many hours might be spent on a train, in a hotel or even on a client site. Consistent connectivity is key here – consistent in any of these locations.
Connectivity will be a fundamental component for successful remote working as firms try to meet the demands of an increasingly mobile workforce. Ultimately, they need encrypted and reliable connections that enable them to quickly and easily reach business applications and services. Working in a disconnected environment can lead to frustrated workers, hardly fitting given all the new remote working policies in place.
Getting the user experience spot-on
When you fine-tune connection performance so that essential business applications run reliably across networks, you are essentially talking about traffic optimization. Mobile traffic optimization ensures that applications, resources and connections are tuned for weak and intermittent network coverage and can roam between wireless networks as conditions and availability change. When connections aren’t performing well, applications that are crucial for job performance can experience packet loss, jitter or latency that can make working on the hoof extremely tricky. Compared to wired networks, wireless networks operate under highly variable conditions, including such factors as terrain or congested mobile towers. When you optimise the flow of traffic, you are helping to manage packet loss. Effectively, packet losses are data loss, which happens very regularly when you’re on the move or transitioning between different networks. Applications that require a lot of data tend to become fairly unusable when you hit even minor packet loss, which can be a common occurrence for many on residential broadband or on local Wi-Fi. conversely, NetMotion can enable critical applications to work and prevent disruptions at over 50% packet loss – in this way, employees can rely on technology performing well in situations and locations where it simply could not before. That is incredibly powerful for firms.
The finance industry is facing many of the same challenges presented to other industries. It is a question of balancing the requirement for more sophisticated ways to ensure secure access to resources with the need to enhance the end user experience (key team members in particular). For finance firms everywhere, adopting the right technologies will ensure that their people can enjoy a ‘work-from-anywhere’ environment.
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific warns of capacity cuts, higher cash burn
(Reuters) – Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd on Monday warned passenger capacity could be cut by about 60% and monthly cash burn may rise if Hong Kong installs new measures that require flight crew to quarantine for two weeks.
Hong Kong’s flagship carrier said the expected move will increase cash burn by about HK$300 million ($38.70 million) to HK$400 million per month, on top of current HK$1 billion to HK$1.5 billion levels.
Hong Kong is set to require flight crew entering the Asian financial hub for more than two hours to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks, the South China Morning Post reported last week, citing sources.
“The new measure will have a significant impact on our ability to service our passenger and cargo markets,” Cathay said in a statement, adding that expected curbs will also reduce its cargo capacity by 25%.
The airline, in an internal memo seen by Reuters, requested for volunteers among its crew who could fly for three weeks, followed by two weeks of quarantine and 14 days free of duty, adding it will be a temporary measure and not all its flight will require such an operation.
“We continue to engage with key stakeholders in the Hong Kong Government,” the memo said.
The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Separately, a company spokeswoman said the airline could not detail the impact on vaccine transport specifically in terms of cargo shipments.
The aviation industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as many countries imposed travel restrictions to contain its spread.
In December, Cathay’s passenger numbers fell by 98.7% compared to a year earlier, though cargo carriage was down by a smaller 32.3%.
($1 = 7.7512 Hong Kong dollars)
(Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney and Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong; Editing by Bernard Orr and Arun Koyyur)
Travel stocks pull FTSE 100 lower as virus risks weigh
By Shashank Nayar
(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 fell on Monday, with travel stocks leading the declines, as rising coronavirus infections and extended lockdowns raised worries about the pace of economic growth, while fashion retailers Boohoo and ASOS gained on merger deals.
The British government quietly extended lockdown laws to give councils the power to close pubs, restaurants, shops and public spaces until July 17, the Telegraph reported on Saturday.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index dipped 0.1%, with travel and energy stocks falling the most, while the mid-cap index rose 0.1%.
“Stock markets are crawling between optimism around the rollout of vaccines and worries that a jump in virus infections and fresh local lockdowns could further affect recovery prospects,” said David Madden, an analyst at CMC Markets.
Britain has detected 77 cases of the South African variant of COVID-19, the health minister said on Sunday while urging people to strictly follow lockdown rules as the best precaution against the country’s own potentially more deadly variant.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier warned that the government could not consider easing lockdown restrictions with infection rates at their current high levels and until it is confident that the vaccination programme is working.
The FTSE 100 shed 14.3% in value last year, its worst performance since a 31% plunge in 2008 and underperforming its European peers by a wide margin, as pandemic-driven lockdowns battered the economy.
Online fashion retailers Boohoo and ASOS surged 4.8% and 5.9%, each. Boohoo bought the Debenhams brand, while ASOS was in talks to buy the key brands of Philip Green’s collapsed Arcadia group.
Recruiter SThree Plc gained 0.9% after its profit, which nearly halved, still managed to beat market expectations and the company said it had resumed dividends.
(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)
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