The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) has partnered the London-based Fintech Circle Innovate in a bid to fast track fintech startup development in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent.

FinTech Circle Innovate and CiTi said the move aims to fast track leading-edge fintech and entrepreneurial development across Africa.

Nicole Anderson, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Fintech Circle Innovate, said she felt there was a close strategic fit between the two organisations.

“We both understand how progressive enterprise businesses or public private partnerships can stimulate innovation talent,” she said. “CiTi has a long-standing history as the most experienced incubator in Africa, plus we are both leaders in innovation in our regions.”

Anderson said the opportunity and use case for convergence in fintech in Africa would be a significant focus.

“Africa is showing the world how fintech is not just about displacing or enabling traditional financial services, but that it has huge potential to stimulate key economic sectors such as agriculture, retail and energy. It is our belief that sustainable innovation comes from collaboration between incumbent players and emerging or new world business models,” she said.

CiTi has already established the first specialised fintech hub on the continent with members such as the Thomson Reuters Innovation Lab, Barclays Rise Africa and also the Blockchain Academy.

“The purpose of our Innovation Clusters is to actively identify, support and stimulate innovation and growth in key sectors that will benefit the greater ecosystem, particularly where the technology has a transformative potential,” said Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi.

“Partnering with Fintech Circle Innovate who are the world class best practice industry leaders in fintech strategy, incubation models and investment, enables us to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs, startups and established industries and banks.”

The initial fintech programme design will focus on the opportunities within fintech convergence building core competencies in the cross section of tech activating and advancing traditional sectors.

“Capabilities such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, digital identity and cyber security are great examples which can enable, protect, accelerate and optimise a financial value chain. And this is relevant outside the domain of traditional financial services. We will also use our proven methodology and blend it with regional/local requirements and give the region access to our talent pool of some of the best minds in convergent fintech,” Merrington said.

The partners also intend to roll out a ‘Knowledge Ecosystem’ proposition, with fintech education for key influencers, executives and academia featuring as an early focus area. This curriculum will be based on the international bestselling The FinTech Book© but adapted for the African continent’s current needs.

“We are excited to expand our fintech knowledge and capability ecosystem in South Africa and the rest of the continent. Moving beyond the financial sector itself, the particular needs and gaps in the African continent present an opportunity for fintech products and competencies to be powerful enablers in accelerating innovation and efficiencies in the value chains of other sectors,” said Joshin Raghubar, chairman of CiTi.

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