Singapore, 17 July 2019… The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) have inked a FinTech Cooperation Agreement to support digital infrastructure development in Kenya. The two central banks will collaborate to develop basic digital infrastructure services for Kenya, including identity, data and Know-Your-Customer utility, based on a set of common standards. The cooperation was sealed at the inaugural Afro-Asia FinTech Festival in Nairobi, Kenya, which drew close to 2,000 participants from all over the world.
The agreement was signed by Dr Patrick Njoroge, Governor of CBK, and Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, on the sidelines of the Festival. The signing was witnessed by Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Chairman of MAS.
Dr Patrick Njoroge, Governor, CBK, said, “We have gathered in Nairobi to celebrate the newest bridge for financial innovation, bringing together more than three-quarters of the world’s population. The motivation is the conviction that FinTech offers a great opportunity for transforming many lives, in Africa and Asia, and the rest of the world. We can only imagine what the consequence of this Afro-Asia FinTech Festival will be over the next 50 years. Through this Festival, and in the amount of talent that has been brought together, collaboration offers the best chance for creating an effective ecosystem for financial innovation.
Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS, said, “The two central banks started with a simple but ambitious vision: to bring together the innovative energies of Africa and Asia to solve basic gaps in the financial system and improve the lives of our people through technology. Today, we have taken a major step towards our vision. The FinTech cooperation between Kenya and Singapore will serve as a launch pad for FinTech firms and financial institutions in our two countries to collaborate on innovative solutions customised towards enhancing financial inclusion in Africa and Asia.”
Dubbed the “FinTech in the Savannah”, the inaugural Afro-Asia FinTech Festival saw Kenyan companies and Singaporean companies announce a suite of FinTech and technology solutions that were jointly developed with their counterparts. The solutions include a digital micro pension marketplace, a cattle insurance solution, a credit scoring solution, and an agreement to build a payments gateway between the two regions. Please refer to Annex for the list of participating Singaporean companies and their announcements in relation to the Festival.
The Afro-Asia FinTech Festival brought together thought leaders, investors, entrepreneurs and corporates, from 43 countries. The two-day Festival also featured more than 100 speakers and over a hundred exhibitors  , including more than 60 from outside Kenya and a Singapore pavilion. Held at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, the Festival saw a vibrant exchange of ideas and discussions around the latest FinTech developments and opportunities in the Afro-Asian markets.
The FinTech Conference featured insights from global and industry leaders from Africa and Asia. In addition to Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Mr Ravi Menon and Dr Patrick Njoroge, other speakers include Her Excellency Aurelie Adam Soule Zoumarou, Minister of Digital Economy and Communications, Government of Benin; Mr Jonathan Larsen, Chief Innovation Officer of Ping An Group and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Global Voyager Fund; and Mr Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Chief Financial Services Officer of Safaricom. The Festival benefited from the participation of many central bank governors from the region  .
The Festival also had many opportunities for learning, innovation and deal-making for the FinTech ecosystem. The Africa track of the Global FinTech Hackcelerator was launched at the Festival. The Global FinTech Hackcelerator is a highly competitive programme for exciting and innovative start-ups looking to address problem statements collated from the financial industry. Finalists of this regional track will be fast-tracked to the Global FinTech Hackcelerator finals which will take place at the Singapore FinTech Festival and the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SFF x SWITCH) in Singapore on 11 November 2019.