AfricaNenda, an emerging and independent Africa-led coalition of dedicated digital payments experts on Thursday launched a new digital financial inclusion advisory platform aimed to expand financial access in the continent. This will be done through partnerships with African governments, regional economic communities, and private sector associations.
AfricaNenda will address the key bottlenecks around critical pre-project support and institutional capacity building that are currently restricting the scale-up of fundable, instant and inclusive payment system projects. It has started the process of accelerating regional and national IIPS priorities in Africa with the signing of MOUs with the Rwanda Information Society Authority, the COMESA Business Council and other stakeholders.
AfricaNenda was born of a desire to meet the needs of the approximately 400 million financially excluded adults in Africa. Comprised of the most vulnerable populations – largely women in rural areas – these adults rely on cash or informal providers to meet their financial needs, a system which can be costly and risky. In addition to reducing the cost and risk, enabling universal access to payment systems can reduce poverty on the continent. AfricaNenda believes that instant and inclusive payment systems can play a pivotal role in achieving universal financial inclusion in Africa by 2030.
“Digital payments are key to providing financial inclusion for the poor. By lowering transaction costs, increasing competition, we will be able to serve poor households and provide an array of services that help create prosperity to an underserved population. Digital payment platforms are a critical tool but advocating for the poor is our mission.” Robert Ochola, CEO AfricaNenda said.
AfricaNenda’s leadership brings together experts in regional digital payments networks and regional digital infrastructure development. The organization is led by veteran financial services leaders, including Safaricom and Afreximbank veteran, Dr. Robert Ochola, United Nations Capital Development Fund’s Global digital infrastructure lead, Sabine Mensah, and the former head of GSMA sub-Saharan Africa, Akinwale Goodluck.
Robert Ochola as CEO, Sabine Mensah and Akinwale Goodluck as Deputy CEOs will together provide technical assistance, capacity building and tools and training tailored to African organizations, payment experts to expand the rollout of instant and inclusive payment systems across the continent. It will also facilitate knowledge-sharing and network-building within the inclusive finance ecosystem.
Prior to joining AfricaNenda, Robert pioneered the development of a new Pan-African Payments and Settlement Systems (PAPSS) for driving cross-border trade. Sabine led the development of inclusive digital economies to accelerate financial inclusion across West and Central Africa. Akinwale provided leadership for the regulatory objectives of the MTN Group and spearheaded the fulfilment of GSMA’s goals of promoting the best regulatory and policy practices for the mobile sector respectively.
The launch of AfricaNenda follows a series of high-level forums conducted with prominent experts and leaders to discuss critical challenges, trends and opportunities for digital financial inclusion on the continent. Some key-takeaways from the discussions include creating regulation that fosters innovation to enable cross-border and interoperability, and advocating for the education of regulators and policymakers to help build their capacity to move towards an enabling policy environment.
AfricaNenda is supported with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and program support from the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.