I was invited last week to speak at the MozTech conference in Maputo.
After moving to Lisbon, destiny keeps me coming back to a Portuguese speaking environment and I am definitely in love with it.
Maputo is a thriving city, flirting with the Indian Ocean and this event was all about serendipity.
During our FTSInclusionForum in Jakarta I met Dr Esselina Macome and Aurora da Gloria Vaz Billa, the neo-director of FSDMoc and the Central bank payments infrastructure head respectively, and Esselina asked me to lead the first EVER FinTech panel in the country.
Mozambique is a 26 Million people country, with only 2M bank account and only 7 millions mobile phones. Half of the active population is off the digital and financial grid (Recalling this from conversation, but numbers are close to real and I am too lazy to google so you guys do it eventually pls ;)).
In other words, Mozambique is an enormous opportunity for financial inclusion and startups to thrive.
FSDMoc organised this panel with David Milligan from Maatchi (Tinder for Banks and Startups), Philip Ngarambe, the Co-founder of a value added Oyster for Ruanda, AC Group (with close to 100% of Kigali covered, a million people) Mercy Zulu from GoodWell and impact investor very active in Africa and Helder Buvana, the business development head of FSDMoc.
As you know by now, I have now devoted my time in building FinTech eco-systems, by bringing together what we believe to be the 5 pillars of each financial innovation initiative : the incumbents, the entrepreneurs, the venture capitalists, the regulators and the technology partners.
I believe we should add the academia as well, but more as a ground effort to educate the students and open their eyes, as the R&D of certain universities are part of the Tech enablers in my view.
FSDMoc organised a session with the students at the university, as an introduction to FinTech opportunities. It was really interesting to realise how differently the Millennials in emerging markets see banks and financial behaviours. More on that another time.
MozTech is by far the biggest tech gathering of the country.
Looks clear to me we need now to build a FinTech national initiative, which is why we – FinTechStage – have chosen Mozambique and Tanzania (where I went immediately after Maputo) to launch the FTS4Africa Enablers program. Branding aside (still under construction) the idea is simple : can we build catalysts of FinTech innovation, with all the 5 communities represented (see below) in as many African countries as possible, so that startups have a soundboard to thrive and grow, VCs will have a snapshot of the opportunities of the country in a single place and incumbents (with the blessing of the Regulator) can find ways to collaborate with the new players ?
Looks like we build the right ground to start working on it in Maputo and I hope we will be able to agree on concrete next steps soon.
Special thanks and kudos to the wonderful FSDMoc team for their kindness, flexibility and support in having me there!