Arguably one of the most influential sectors in the tech space, fintechs have always been at the forefront of innovative solutions for the African financial market.
Leveraging this opportunity, Ecobank Group, on Monday, January 27, 2020, announced the pilot launch of its Pan-African Banking Sandbox that will allow partners and fintechs across 33 African countries gain access to its Application Programming Interface (API) to develop innovative financial solutions.
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With this launch, Ecobank wants to express its commitment to working with fintechs across Africa to bring more innovation in Africa’s banking sector.
Ecobank’s Group CEO, Ade Ayeyemi laid more emphasis with a statement,
"The sandbox is yet another indication that Ecobank firmly believes that digital banking is the future and the future is now. Hence our commitment to lead Africa into the new age of banking.”
Senior Fintech Advisor, Djiba Diallo also insists that the sandbox will be an avenue for collaboration between Ecobank and fintechs and could further develop the fintech ecosystem in Africa.
A number of fintechs reportedly pre-selected for the pilot launch are Flutterwave (Nigeria), Africa’s Talking (Kenya), Callme2Work (Kenya), and Esicia ltd (Rwanda).
Don't miss out on Africa's financial revolution
Strangely, the launch has been done with subdued publicity, and with few details available on the Ecobank website or its social media handles.
However, Flutterwave CEO, Olugbenga Agboola confirmed to Techpoint that the company is indeed amongst the fintech platforms selected for Ecobank's sandbox.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on fintechs in Africa pointed out that platforms such as regulatory or industry sandboxes could be used to close the ever-increasing divide between fast-paced innovation and slow-moving regulations.
Other African countries like Kenya, Mauritius and Sierra Leone have some form a regulatory sandbox and while Nigeria does not have a regulatory sandbox, last year, Financial Services Innovators announced the launch of an industry sandbox.
Ecobank's initiative, if successful, will cut across the 33 African countries where it has branches and could be a gamechanger for Africa's financial sector.