Accenture Ventures has announced the launch of its first Africa tech event, called the Lundentechcrunch. The event is aimed at helping startups in Africa find investment capital. It will be hosted in Lagos, Nigeria, in May. Moreover, it will include an African Fintech Expo, and a series of workshops centered on startups.
Investments in African fintech startups
Accenture Ventures, one of the world’s largest technology and innovation firms, recently announced an investment in African fintech startup Okra. Okra is based in Lagos and describes itself as an API “super-connector” that helps developers build customized digital services. In addition to working with Accenture experts, it will gain access to Accenture’s global innovation network.
Fintech applications have grown in Africa rapidly. The emerging services are addressing pain points for accepting and processing payments. This has helped increase financial inclusion. A recent McKinsey report ranks Africa as the second fastest payments market in the world. Mobile money adoption in the continent is also growing. Despite the challenges, the African fintech ecosystem is entering an exciting phase.
In recent years, available capital has grown considerably. This has enabled the sector to overcome its primary barrier of accessing real-time banking data. As a result, more and more fintechs are seeking ever larger capital rounds. It could signal that investor confidence is rising in the African fintech landscape.
Africa has a large unbanked population. Many emerging fintechs have created solutions that allow people with no or low bank accounts to obtain credit and make payments. These innovations are likely to spur further M&A activity in the fintech ecosystem.
Another key challenge is the need for a reliable payment infrastructure. In the past, the financial services industry relied on a legacy infrastructure. However, advancements in telecommunications technology have made it possible for operators to reach lower-middle market customers.
Investments in Africa’s tech ecosystem
Investing in Africa’s tech ecosystem is an extraordinary opportunity for tech companies. It is a region that offers a large population, a young and savvy population, and an attractive cost profile. The region also has significant long-term structural trends to leverage.
Africa’s demographics are rapidly changing Hibooz. The continent is on course to be home to the next mass consumer group, and to have a larger population than South America by 2030. With more than 1.4 billion people and 500 million internet users, Africa is a critical market.
African governments can improve the governance of their investments to ensure that start-ups have access to the necessary resources. Additionally, they can create policies to reduce barriers to investment. These can include introducing innovation-positive regulations, increasing access to capital, and reducing political restraints.
Global companies have partnered with the local population to create digital infrastructure. This has been accompanied by urban growth and social challenges. Despite these challenges, some African countries have shown a strong track record of investment in start-ups.
While the big four countries have dominated the start-up scene for years, there is still room for other countries to compete. Nigeria is a promising example. In 2010, the country invested in a tech incubation center, iHub. From there, 150 startups have been launched, and over 1,300 jobs have been created.
Investors in technology infrastructure in Africa
Okra, a fintech startup based in Nigeria, is the latest company in the growing fintech space to receive an investment from Accenture Ventures. The global professional services firm, which has a presence in more than 100 countries, joined the venture in 2018.
Okra is an API “super-connector” that allows developers to build personalized digital services. Its recent round of funding includes Accenture Ventures, three angel investors, and the European tech giants. They will be using their newfound capital to expand their data infrastructure in Nigeria.
Accenture Ventures has a number of different programs, all aimed at filling the innovation gap between global companies and technology startups. In addition to investing in emerging technologies, the firm also helps clients to reinvent their business and re-skill their employees. For example, Accenture aims to help clients make climate-smart travel decisions fashionnowdays.
Aside from being a leading consulting and technology firm, Accenture has a history of championing sustainability practices. One of the most important is a commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. To achieve this goal, the company plans to power its offices with 100% renewable energy by 2025. Moreover, it will engage key suppliers to reduce emissions.
The company also rolled out its first-ever sustainability program, a “Green Cloud.” This program will use cloud technology to enable its global offices to be powered by 100% renewable energy.