Technology transformational for Africa’s youth – Group Ecobank CEO
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Lome Togo
The Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, Ade Ayeyemi, has revealed that adaptation of technology has the potential of transforming Africa’s youthful population. According to him Africa’s demographic in terms of its youthful population can be translated into an opportunity that can help turn their abilities into reality.
Speaking at the just ended Ecobank Fintech Challenge held at the Global headquarters of Ecobank in Lome, Togo, Mr. Ayeyemi reiterated that technology holds the key to Africa’s future success and that the continent’s huge youthful population should be tapped through the creation of platforms that encourage networking and the pitching of innovative ideas.
“With the demographic that we have in terms of an abundance of youths, we need to translate it to an opportunity by giving a reason for those youths to translate their ambitions to reality. If we don’t do that then they risk becoming a burden on society. And that burden on society can become a big problem for the continent.”
He said Ecobank Africa had taken the initiative to come up with the Ecobank Fintech Challenge so as assist the African youths from both far and near to connect, network and pitch ideas or products to people that are good to put money in such innovative ideas.
“When we launch the challenge in January 2017, we were very clear about our goal, to reach out to Africa’s most promising fintech start-ups and support them through partnership and investment to grow into pan-African and global success stories. Today, we are witnessing innovative technologies and business models by twenty finalists from all over Africa. We look forward to partnering with these digital entrepreneurs to take the banking experience across Africa to the next level,” he said.
The Ecobank Fintech Challenge, which brought together 20 innovators from Africa, witnessed the three strong Nigerian Start-ups companies sweeping the Challnege top awards with ZirooPay Mpos powered by IroFit emerging as the overall winner taking home the grand prize of US$10,000 followed by KUDI Al also by Kudi Inc receiving US$7,000 as the first runner up and Paylater powered also by One Finance taking home an amount of US$5,000 as the second runner up.
The 20 finalists of the Ecobank Fintech Challenge were then officially inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellows which then makes then eligible to benefit from an opportunity to partner with the Ecobank Group that includes: Major start-up funding: worth up to US$500,000 for products that meet Ecobank’s investment criteria; Multinational product roll-out support: for the most commercially viable start-ups to launch their products across Ecobank’s 33 markets in Africa; Service provider & ecosystem partner deals: for start-ups with deep capabilities to become service partners within Ecobank’s ecosystem and Technical & mentoring support: during the one year fellowship period, fellows will benefit from technical support from Ecobank’s global network of technology leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches.
The event also attracted top notched innovators from the continent such as CEO of mPedidgree Bright Simons, StartUps Engagement Lead at Microsoft4Africa, Aissatou Djiba Diallo, Executive Chairman of CoreNett, Michael Amankwa and CEO of OPEN SI, Gilles Kounou.
The judges of the Ecobank Fintech Challenge were Head of Global Delivery at Cellulant Kenya, Kenn Lisudza, Group Chief Information of Ecobank eProcess International, Tomisin Fashana, Managing Director/CEO of Descasio, Dele Nedd, Investment Officer, West Africa, Action Venture Lab, Ashley Lewis and Senior Advisor Digital Banking Ecobank Group, Femi Olaloku.