The LHoFT Foundation strongly believes that financial technology is crucial to advancing financial inclusion, empowering groups that have been left behind by the traditional financial system. Whether it’s financing for rural farmers, point of sale technology for underbanked merchants, or specialised insurance products, the positive impact being driven by entrepreneurship is improving lives around the world. As such, Financial Inclusion is a key focus of the LHoFT Foundation.
Building on the success of previous experience, CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa is a unique one week program of Fintech startup development, designed by the LHoFT Foundation, targeting Fintech companies from South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and others that are focused on financial inclusion and keen to build bridges between Africa and Europe, highlighting their initiatives and very much aligned with the sustainability goals of Luxembourg’s finance centre.
CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa will take place between the 5th and 9th of November at the LHoFT.
CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign & European Affairs – Directorate for Development and Humanitarian affairs and PwC Luxembourg, and supported by key strategic partners such as InFine, University of Luxembourg, Professors without Borders, ADA, LuxFlag, Innpact, House Of Training, MicroInsurance Network, CGAP and KAP Innovation in Frontier Markets.
CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa is leveraging Luxembourg’s Inclusive Finance and Fintech ecosystems, as well as LHoFT partners, to support the 14 selected firms in developing their businesses and achieving their inclusion goals, creating synergies between them, partners, sponsors, investors, Microfinance institutions (MFI) and Public Financial Institutions (PFIs).
CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa will provide a tailor-made program with intensive mentoring, coaching, peer to peer learning and dedicated workshops for the 14 selected Fintech startups. The program will include sessions on business mapping, scaling business, understanding and evaluating metrics, investability, risk and capital, legal and marketing. Several modules delivered by our experienced strategic partners will also focus on the nuances of building business in Africa specifically, with sessions on MFI relations, Blockchain in Africa and market trends and developments in Africa.
Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT Foundation commented: “CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa is the first home grown program of the LHoFT Foundation to focus on Financial Inclusion. Luxembourg is the microfinance centre for Europe and sustainable finance is a core priority of Government; it therefore makes sense to capitalise on the fantastic ecosystem and support available here to welcome these outstanding Fintech companies focusing on financial inclusion. We are very excited to welcome the participants in a few weeks’ time and we and our partners are looking forward to the positive outcomes of this program.”
Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs added: “Inclusive Finance is key to allowing people, especially women, to break the cycle of poverty, by creating economic opportunities. Today, one of the main changes we see in this sector is the development of digital financial services. Through its striving fintech sector, Luxembourg has a lot to offer in this area. Therefore, exchanges between the LHoFT and the broader microfinance ecosystem with upcoming African financial technology companies can facilitate positive and inclusive change.”
Valérie Arnold, Partner, PwC Luxembourg and Corporate Responsibility leader says: “The latest Davos forum focused on, “creating a shared future in a fractured world”. We all agree on the fact that unlocking capital to finance the Sustainable Development Goals becomes urgent and that allowing more people to have access to finance is at the very heart of this possible shared future. Moreover, “building trust in society and solving important problems” is the purpose of PwC and so it is in our DNA to support financial inclusion and we share this ambition with the start-ups part of the Catapult programme. It is thus with enthusiasm and great pleasure that we support this initiative and welcome the start-ups to our premises on the Tuesday of the program.”
The 14 qualified Fintech startups:
AKABOXI LIMITED – Uganda – www.akaboxi.com
Akaboxi provides rural communities with a more secure way of keeping smallholder farmers’ savings managed and monitored by the use of a digital and inclusive system, replacing the rudimentary way of keeping money in boxes and in people’s homes.
Akiba Digital – South Africa – https://www.akibadigital.com
Akiba is a mobile savings app that helps tech savvy millennials save using alternative and behavioural data. The gamified savings experience makes it fun and rewarding, with an AI bot that’s there to educate, nudge and provide insights to our savers to ensure they realise their goals.
BitValley – Luxembourg – https://www.ibisa.network
Luxembourg Fintech award’s winner for Financial Inclusion, IBISA is a risk-sharing microinsurance alternative targeting small farmers worldwide. IBISA is based on a peer-to-peer architecture supported by blockchain and Earth Observation technology.
Four One Financial Services Limited – Uganda – www.mayicard.co
Four One Financial Services Limited’s offerings include the first micro-pension scheme, followed by building the Mayicard Platform which makes access to healthcare insurance and/or prepayments and access to assets like land and housing possible.
Inclusivity Solutions – South Africa – inclusivitysolutions.com
Inclusivity Solutions designs, builds and operates digital insurance solutions for emerging markets with the aim of protecting and enhancing the quality of life of vulnerable people. It provides complete solutions to introduce and grow sustainable inclusive insurance markets.
Koosmik Corp – Luxembourg – www.koosmik.com
Koosmik provides a mobile banking application to the young or more generally unbanked population in Western Africa. Users get a free mobile wallet as a hub of services: cash deposit and withdrawal points, bills payment, mobile payment, social credit, insurance or remittance.
MaTontine Senegal – Senegal – www.matontine.com
MaTontine provides access to small loans and a range of financial services like micro-insurance for the financially excluded in Francophone Africa. Trying to solve the large and complex problem of how to lend small amounts profitably and at scale to the millions of financially responsible Africans.
NALA – Tanzania – https://www.nala.money/home/
NALA is a mobile money application offering a single, unified wallet for transactions that functions without a data connection over 2G signal and providing users with an accurate breakdown of their spending habits.
OKO – Israel – https://www.oko.finance/
OKO creates and distributes affordable crop insurance products for smallholder farmers in emerging markets. They use satellite imagery and localised weather information to automatically compensate the insured farmers when they identify that they have been affected by a loss of production.
Ovamba Solutions – United States – www.Ovamba.com
Ovamba provides short-term capital to micro, small and medium sized businesses in Africa, emerging markets and the GCC for trade, inventory purchases and growth. The capital is provided by International investors from the US, U.K. and Japan.
Refuge Network – Malta – https://www.refuge.network/
Refuge Network is a multidimensional financial ecosystem built on blockchain that uses proven business models of e-commerce and investments to connect displaced and marginalized communities to the global economy.
SmartTeller LTD – Nigeria – https://www.smartteller.net
A digital banking platform for Financial cooperatives, smartTeller is bringing access to digital financial services to the unbanked and underbanked by providing cooperatives and microfinance institutions the all-inclusive tool to provide unbanked and underbanked standard financial services.
Vouch Digital Limited – Uganda – www.vouchdigital.africa
Vouch Digital builds an online verified digital supply chain platform that among other things helps simplify the distribution of cash in form of digital vouchers meant for purchasing goods or services such as hermetic storage, seeds, fertilizers, medical equipment, oil and gas among others.
WeCashUp – Cameroon / France – www.wecashup.com
WeCashUp enables merchants to accept and disburse payments in Cash, Mobile Money, Bank Mobile wallets, Bank Cards and Crypto-currencies on their web or mobile apps in the 54 African countries via a single API integration.
Detailed insights on each of the 14 qualified Fintech startups are available here – http://www.lhoft.com/en/insights