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Q&A – Timothy Nuy, Finclusion Group
i) First, can we discuss the significance of the recent Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund (CASF) investment in Finclusion Group, their second investment outside Egypt?
We are delighted to have secured an investment from the CASF. As only the second investment from the CASF in a company outside of Egypt, we feel that the growth we’ve made, and the goals we plan to achieve, were the driving factors behind this show of faith.
This investment means that the CASF will join our growing list of partners, shareholders, and investors. This is a significant step for Finclusion as our ambition is to build the first truly African neobank. As a result, we must start building solid pan-African relationships early in our journey. The team at CASF is of incredible stature and is the right business partner to help us move in that direction.
ii) Like so many other developing countries, Kenya has work to do to foster financial inclusion for all to date. What can be done to change this dynamic, and have others attempted to broker greater inclusivity wherein you believe Finclusion can be a game-changer in this regard?
Like many countries in Africa, Kenya is making many steps to become more financially inclusive. The opportunity for growth and scale is evident, both for people and their wealth and for companies and industries. We are seeing a lot more interest in the African fintech landscape from international investors, and African unicorns are becoming a much more frequent occurrence.
I believe Finclusion is well positioned to lead the way in this space as a full-service neobank. We are a credit-led neobank, offering products and services that meet our customers where they are and deliver value that traditional financial institutions don’t, can’t, or choose not to.
We are constantly introducing new products into the market, such as TrustGroPay, a first of its kind mobile credit payments solution in Kenya. TrustGroPay is a USSD product similar to offering a credit card to M-PESA users. Users of TrustGroPay enjoy instant credit on any payments via their mobile phone while paying for their goods at the till – this is a game-changer.
iii) Nonetheless, formal access to the financial marketplace in Kenya rose from 83% (2019) to 84% (2021). What conditions do you believe allowed this growth to occur?
The recent access change is positive and we expect this number to increase. One such condition that contributed to this growth is M-PESA. The convenience and popularity of M-PESA mean that millions of unbanked Africans now have an accessible onramp into the financial marketplace. At Finclusion, we are looking to build products that deliver value for the underserved at scale – as M-PESA has done – by creating innovative fintech products that are simple, convenient and appropriate.
iv) Where on the continent does Finclusion Group look to expand in the years to come?
We currently operate in five countries – Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Eswatini and Namibia – and will soon be launching in Mozambique and Uganda. Our immediate focus is to grow our service offering in East Africa and beyond.
v) How can Finclusion Group serve as a proponent of greater foreign direct investment (FDI) or from within, intra-African trade in 2022?
The African fintech landscape saw over US$4bn in investment in 2021, but compared to global startup funding, its VC journey is just beginning. However, Africa’s many recent fintech success stories have put the continent in the sightline of international VCs, and we believe Africa is the last frontier for significant FDI.
The Finclusion Group will help facilitate this for our core operations and complementary investments through our established network of partners, shareholders, and investors. We also invest in early-stage African fintech startups. We have an exciting and diverse portfolio of companies that offer a range of services from AI risk-modelling to BNPL to personalised debt management, to name a few.
As the fintech startup space matures, we see lots of opportunities for companies to scale and attract more significant foreign investment, intra-African trade, and partnerships.