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AfDB approves $525k grant for development of digital hub for African fintechs

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed a $525,000 agreement to support Africa Fintech Network’s (AFN’s) digital hub project.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Abuja on Tuesday, Lamin Barrow, director-general of the AfDB Nigeria country department, said the project would boost the fintech industry on the continent.

“This grant of 525,000 dollars will support the operationalisation of an online digital hub to serve as a repository of knowledge for fintech entities across the continent, and globally,” Barrow said.

“The Digital Hub, which is to be delivered through a strategic partnership between the Africa Fintech Network and Cenfri, will help to strengthen the fintech ecosystem across Africa, and boost the industry’s competitiveness.

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“The grant is funded by the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), inaugurated by the AfDB Group, together with its partners, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Other partners are Ministry of Finance of Luxembourg, and Agence Française de Développement in 2019, with the Ministry of Finance and Economy of France and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) joining in 2020 and 2022 respectively.”

The director-general said the event marked an important milestone in AfDB’s efforts to promote digital innovation and financial inclusion in African countries.

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Citing the 2021 Global Findex Study,Barrow said that 49 percent of Africans were excluded from the formal economy and the benefits it brought.

He spoke on the importance of fintechs on the continent among which is to provide powerful, readily available and effective digital financial solutions to help bridge the financial inclusion gap.

Barrow said with the current digital disruption in the financial sector, more fintech startups were coming to the fore.

“These companies are leveraging technology to provide innovative financial services, including payment, lending, savings, financial literacy and financial infrastructure services,” he said.

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“That results in greater efficiency, better service provision and lower costs.”

In his remarks, Segun Aina, AFN’s president, thanked AfDB for the support and pledged the association’s commitment to delivering the project.

“We are indeed delighted that AfDB is playing a leading role in supporting this innovative initiative. The AFN is equally committed to the partnership with the AfDB,” Aina said.

“And we look forward to building on this productive collaboration going forward, as there is still a lot to be done to unleash the potential of digital inclusion for Africa toward creating the Africa that we want.”

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