Twenty startups operating in Africa have been named in the Inclusive Fintech 50, a global competition to elevate early-stage fintechs driving financial inclusion.
The competition was run by MetLife Foundation and Visa, in partnership with global non-profit Accion and IFC, with the goal of helping early-stage fintech companies attract capital and resources.
The 50 winners were selected from 400 eligible applicants and demonstrate the power of financial technology to expand access, usage, and quality of financial services in advanced and emerging markets.
Around 30 per cent of the winners provide credit products to underserved segments including MSMEs, and approximately 25 per cent offer infrastructure solutions. Fintech startups offering insurance, payments and remittances services, and savings and personal financial management tools each made up approximately 15 percent of the winners.
Kenya has five companies on the list – agri-focused solutions ACRE Africa, Apollo Agriculture and Pula as well as savings platform Kwara and lending startup Pezesha (Kenya).
South Africa is represented by three startups, in the form of payments platform Hello Paisa and insurtech companies Inclusivity Solutions and Click2Sure, as is Ghana, with lending service OZÉ, off-grid solar provider PEG Africa, and the People’s Pension Trust.
Digital banking services provider E-Settlement and cooperative banking platform Riby represent Nigeria, microfinance startup awamo and lending platform Numida hail from Uganda, while there was also room for Dopay (Egypt), MaTontine (Senegal) and Mosabi (Sierra Leone). Internationally headquartered companies Tulaa and Musoni System, which have extensive operations on the continent, also made the list.
Sarah Willis, director of financial health and inclusion at MetLife Foundation, said the Inclusive Fintech 50 demonstrated there were lesser-known fintechs able to reach underserved populations with appropriate financial products.
“We want to support startups that are addressing the holistic needs of these target segments with the ultimate goal of improving their financial health,” she said.
Marianne Mwaniki, head of social impact at Visa, said existing research had indicated that investment capital had largely overlooked early-stage and inclusive fintechs in several markets,
“This group of winners makes clear that there are high-potential startups with viable products and business models – and they’re ready for investment,” she said.