Transforming Africa’s Fintech Terrain: Advocating for Foundational Digital Public Infrastructure

In an impassioned address, leaders within Africa’s financial technology (fintech) domain rallied behind a bold initiative aimed at expediting the continent’s fintech evolution and seamlessly integrating with the global fintech landscape. Ravi Menon, a Senior Mentor at Elevandi and Singapore’s Ambassador for Climate Action, emphasized the pressing need to leverage existing elements and establish the framework for a next-generation Foundational Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) architecture, custom-tailored to Africa’s unique needs.

Ravi posed a critical question: “With many key components for a FinTech ecosystem aligning in Africa, how can we systematically accelerate the FinTech transformation and integrate with the global fintech ecosystem?” He stressed that the time is opportune for Africa to forge ahead with building a consent-based, pan-African next-generation DPI architecture.

At the 3i Africa Summit in Accra, Ghana, Ravi proposed that the DPI be founded on three fundamental pillars: Trusted Identity Infrastructure, ensuring secure digital identities for individuals and businesses; Interoperable Payment Systems, facilitating seamless transactions across diverse platforms and networks; and Verified Individual and Business Data Exchanges, establishing secure mechanisms for exchanging verified data.

Acknowledging the enormity of the task, Ravi underscored the necessity of high-level guidance and a robust governance structure. He suggested assembling a consortium of key pilot sponsors, chaired by participating Heads of State and featuring C-Suite representation from both public and private sector stakeholders.

As Africa stands poised on the brink of a fintech revolution, the imperative is clear: it’s time to pave the way for a digitally empowered future, driving economic growth and fostering inclusive development across the continent.