THE RISE OF FINTECH IN AFRICA: INTERVIEW WITH DARIO GIULIANI

BRITER, LEARN ABOUT THE UNATTENDED MARKET THANKS TO ITS PLATFORM.

When thinking of Africa, images of poverty, underdevelopment, resource scarcity and poor integration of technology comes to mind for most of the population. In some areas of Africa, this is still a reality, but it is a mistake to consider the African continent as a single entity. Some African regions are highly developed in comparison with their close by neighbours. Countries such as Egypt or South Africa are adopting digital transformation strategies and are at higher GDP levels than the average of the region.

These developments have partly been thanks to the mobile penetration in Africa as it has opened the door for more technological services to enter the region. One of these is FinTech, which is being able to take advantage of the opportunity to satisfy those consumers and extend all over the world due to the unmet needs of the population because of the lack of development and financial infrastructure.

To get a close and expert point of view of the FinTech boom in Africa, we conducted an interview with Dario Giuiani , founder and director at Briter Bridges.

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Briter Bridges is a London-based data-driven research company founded in 2018 and focused on the building of a digital knowledge infrastructure to inform business and investment activity in underserved markets. In 2020, Briter launched “Intelligence”, a fast-growing business intelligence and analytics platform used by thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, and researchers to explore unattended markets and provide a data resource of business, investments and technology.

Find out more about Briter HERE

INTERVIEW WITH DARIO GIULIANI, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR AT BRITER BRIDGES:

Finnovating (F): First, Dario, tell us a bit about how the idea came to be, what is it, how it has evolved and about what you do.

Darío Giuliani (DG): I founded Briter in 2018 as a magazine with the intention of exploring the ‘brighter’ side to underserved markets – i.e., the opportunities that were not being discussed nor known about. The magazine took off when we started ‘mapping’ start-up ecosystems as we probably hit a gap in the market for data visualisation and I turned it into an actual company, registered in London, on Halloween 2018. Clients started coming shortly after and Briter became a research business providing insights on Africa and other underserved regions to governments, corporates, investors, charities.

In May 2020, we developed a proprietary Intelligence platform ‘briterintelligence.com’ which digitalises our entire database and visualisation.

Being the company director, my role ranges from being the administrator to sales, management and designing strategy for projects and teams.

Now, going a bit deeper into the FinTech sector in Africa, we would like you to tell us a bit about the following:

F: Usually, when someone thinks of Africa, we think of poverty, underdevelopment, and poor technological advancement. It is surprising that FinTech is a subject matter in this area, why does a boom exist?

DB: In fact, I think mobile money and financial technology are becoming quite common topics in Africa. Surely, people who know nothing about the continent might be following the traditional narrative of “cash is still the king”, with alack of electricity, infrastructure and technology,  the idea of a continent that is “mobile first” might come as a surprise. Mobile money and digital payments in Africa are growing and the last decade has seen an incredible increase in volumes. Mobile phone and smartphone penetration is also growing, mainly in urban areas, but rural areas are catching up.

F: What are the main countries that are making efforts in African digitalisation?

DB: Strictly speaking about technology start-up and investment, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa are the market leaders, although much investment in ICT and digital infrastructure is being made across the continent.

F: For you or Briter, which are the most interesting places to invest in Africa?

DB: In addition to those mentioned above, Francophone Africa is also starting to attract lots of attention, which you will see in more detail in our next report.

Startups, corporations and investors from more than 30 countries are already part of the first Matching as a Service platform: More Info when investing in these regions?

DB: Investors face several risks when investing their money in these regions, mainly market uncertainty, low purchasing power, currency exchange problems, political instability, corruption and genuine difficulty in moving money in and out of the countries due to unfavourable regulation, among others.

F: To conclude, what do you expect for these areas in the next 5 – 15 years?

DB: I am very hopeful about the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, as there is a need to improve cross-border transactions and connections. I also expect a lot of investment in connectivity and electrification, both in the national grid and in distributed energy sources such as solar power. Also, increasing mobile penetration and reducing the cost of telephones to reach critical mass, increasing urbanisation processes and solutions to issues with illiteracy and joblessness.

To learn more about the X-Tech sector in emerging markets in Africa, you can access a very interesting report on this topic on the Bridge Briter website. CLICK HERE

Authors: Víctor Alejo, Carlos Romero, Francisco Martínez y Gonzalo Carmena.

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