Fintechs as drivers of leading financial products in Kenya


There is more value in having multiple perspectives as opposed to tunnel vision. The corona epidemic has been so far the biggest disruptor of global trade and investments in the past 50 years.

Corona has acted as a catalyst for world’s resilience. So hardened are we for external shocks that terror attacks, extreme weather, climate change, civil wars, religious extremism, stock market losses, inflation.... are all on the back burner.

It is under this dark veil of the epidemic that “pearly, white teeth” of the world’s resilience shone even brighter.

In the shadows of corona, an experimental HIV vaccine based on mRNA — the same platform technology used in two highly effective COVID-19 vaccines — shows promise in mice and non-human primates, according to scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

This game-changing development comes after nearly four decades of global research.

The islands of productivity are not limited to medical world, there were game-changing developments in the financial sector as well.

Kenya has experienced a steady growth of financial technology (fintech), making us the hub of fintech robustness in Africa.

Our fintechs have revolutionised how financial services are provided to consumers and businesses.

New fintech companies are launched almost every passing month offering a range of innovative financial services in areas such as Banking, payments, lending, SACCO’s and personal finance. The Kenyan fintech space is a competitive landscape with diversity and in a constant state of flux.

The government of Kenya has put into place regulatory frameworks that promote hubbing of Fintechs in the country. To this extent the president assented the Central Bank of Kenya (Amendment) Act, 2021; the amendment provides the Central Bank of Kenya with the powers to license and oversight the previously unregulated digital credit lenders.

The assent of the Bill has opened up space for market and Product development that will enable fintech scale to levels of multi financial service providers.

Several Fintechs are looking to partner with established financial eco-systems such as Bank/SACCO’s, Insurance, Sacco’s and micro-finance Institution as more or less equal partners as opposed to fintech being just a customer facing facet of the eco-system.

These strategic Partnerships sit at the heart of various cutting-edge fintech products and services. Such partnerships especially with a Bank/SACCO’s or Neo-Banking-as-a-service (BaaS) service provider will remain a viable and attractive near-term solution for Fintechs looking to get up and running and a great entry strategy for international Financial institution to establish a footprint in the country through Technology transfers.

Notable benefits of such partnerships may rid unnecessary duplicities, and as such, A Bank/Sacco Partnership may exempt the fintech from certain entry barriers such as minimum capitalization requirements, charges on money transmission, regulatory and licensing requirements, while also permitting the fintech to focus on customer acquisition, user experience, and technology-assisted transactions.

The tradeoff for the fintech comes in the form of the Bank/SACCO’s partner ensuring compliance with various compliance and risk management practices, including requirements applicable to the Bank/SACCO’s. Technically the partnering fintech will be held at the same standard of due diligence as that of the partnering Bank/SACCO’s.

Kenya ranks highly, among other African countries, with access level formal financial services at 83.7 percent in 2021 (FinAcess Household Survey). Bank/SACCO’s and Fintechs are locked in competition but as we examine the drivers, challenges and opportunities in the financial services industry, it’s increasingly evident that they should all be sitting on the same side of the table.

To this end, innovative Banks/SACCO’s have partnered with Fintechs especially on Mobile wallet solutions notable example is the MPESA partnership with NCBDA and Kenya Commercial Bank/SACCO’s.

Equity Group Holdings launched its own fintech subsidiary, Finserve, signaling a future defined by disruptive innovation beyond the Group’s current financial services.

The nimbleness and innovativeness of Fintechs holds the promise for financial engineering that would negate effects of Climate change through deepened coverage of all the dimensions of financial inclusion such as including sustainable finance (green finance)

[email protected]