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Beloved Sechele

Navigating Africa’s Path in Infrastructure: Insights from the Networks Gathering 2023

In the vibrant city of Nairobi, Kenya, from November 20th to 23rd, 2023, the ACN hosted the annual Networks Gathering. Among the distinguished speakers contributing to the rich discussions was Munyi Nthigah, Secretary General of the Association of Fintechs in Kenya who delved into “How African Technology Companies and Accelerating Growth and Inclusion”. This session was followed by a questions and answers session with Nadia Kaliga, Jesse Solomon, and a very engaged audience.

Munyi Nthigah’s talk began with a fundamental question: “What is the impact that a fintech creates within a community that it serves?” He probed the concept of ‘social license,’ emphasizing the vital trust users place in fintech to responsibly utilize their information for service delivery. Encouraging introspection, Nthigah implored the audience to consider the weight of the power bestowed upon them and urged thoughtful consideration of its ethical use.

Nthigah’s emphasized the importance of collaboration. He mentioned that meaningful progress cannot happen in isolation, stressing the importance of collective efforts and partnerships in the rapidly evolving fintech landscape. The dynamics of market nuances, that is – the contextual framework within which businesses operate, is another key point that Munyi mentioned. Nthigah shed light on the surprising statistic that only 15% of transactions in Kenya occur digitally, despite the country being a key FinTech player in the continent. He prompted critical thinking about transforming Africa’s demographic advantage, cautioning that having a median age of 19 holds little significance if the youth lack the necessary skills.

In a powerful conclusion, Nthigah warned against instant gratification, advocating for a patient and strategic approach. The path to sustainable change, he emphasized, demands diligence and a long-term vision.

Following Nthigah’s insightful presentation, the stage was occupied by  Ayaka Ishiguro, Manager – African Business Development at Mitsubishi Corporation, and Julie Greene, Outgoing Managing Director at Renewvia Solar Africa. This discussion was moderated by Eunice Mwabe.  They held the very relevant and very important conversation on Climate Sustainability.

Ayaka stressed the need for collaborative efforts to address the complex challenges posed by climate change. She shared more about the opportunities that are out there for young people to meaningfully participate in climate action. She holds the strong belief that Africa can develop into being the leader of doing things in a sustainable way.  As questions from the audience surfaced, the conversation turned to the climate change ‘hoax’ i.e. – how do we know if climate change is real? In response, Julie Greene noted that no matter one’s personal opinions on whether climate change s real, it is an undeniable fact that we are currently running out of resources that we historically had in abundance. This should be enough to inspire populations to treat our world in a sustainable and healthy way.

The Networks Gathering was a dynamic convergence of thought leaders and changemakers, where critical discussions on digital transformation, ethical considerations in fintech, and the pressing reality of climate change unfolded. As the AL for Infrastructure community continues to foster dialogue and collaboration, the insights shared at this gathering serve as a compass guiding the path toward a more sustainable and equitable future for the continent.

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