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Africa’s Fintech ecosystem continues to excite say researchers

By , ITWeb
Africa , 01 Jul 2021

The number of active Fintech start-ups has increased by 17.3% to 576 in Africa, which represents a slowdown in growth on the previous two years, but nonetheless means the number of Fintech start-ups active in the continent has increased by 89.4% between 2017 and 2021.

This is according to Finnovating for Africa 2021: Reimagining the African financial services landscape report released by Disrupt Africa in partnership with Flutterwave and GreenHouse Capital.

According to the report, the variety of services offered by these start-ups is on the rise. It suggests that though the onset of the Fintech revolution in Africa was largely based on startups “unbundling the bank”, focusing on niche segments such as payments and lending, the space is now rushing to “rebundle”.

In 2021, 143 of the 576 Fintech start-ups tracked in 2021 are multi-category, representing 24.8 % of the total, up from 73 companies (14.9%) in 2019.

The research adds that major developments in the Fintech sector over the last two years have come in terms of investments and acquisitions, where the space is a continental leader.

It adds that African Fintech start-ups are far more likely to raise funding, or get acquired, than a company operating in any other sector of the continent’s growing tech and innovation space.

Since January 2015, 277 Fintech ventures have banked US$874,968,465, more than twice that raised by any other vertical over the same period. The amount raised by Fintech start-ups on the continent is growing each year, at even greater rates, with the sector having already doubled its 2020 total in the first six months of 2021.

The report finds that Fintech businesses are also more likely to be acquired than those in any other space. The sector has seen seven acquisitions in a period of two years, compared with ten in the previous eight; and in the reported US$200-million acquisition of Nigerian Fintech start-up Paystack by Stripe last year can lay claim to one of the landmark moments of the African tech space in the last decade.

“It has certainly been a busy and stimulating space to watch these past two years, in spite of the pandemic-induced challenges facing businesses and economies alike,” said Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Disrupt Africa.

Tom Jackson, co-founder of Disrupt Africa, “We might not be witnessing the same levels of explosive growth in terms of new start-ups launching in the Fintech space as we have seen before, but instead we are seeing the increasing maturity of the Fintech ecosystem in Africa. Start-ups are building out their solutions for the benefit of their customers, expanding to new markets, and raising millions of dollars in capital. It is an exciting time to be involved in African Fintech, whether you are an entrepreneur, investor, traditional financial institution or customer.”

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