African Finance after Covid: reboot,
digitalise, transform


Africa’s financial industry was one of the most dynamic in the world prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Banking income grew 11% per year on average, African fintech firms raised more than $800m in 2019. Developing capital markets, and low banking and insurance penetration rates show significant room for growth.

Also faced with the acceleration of digitalisation, with some players proving to be better prepared than others, Africa’s financial industry is now forced to rethink its development trajectory in light of these new challenges. At the first edition of The Africa Financial Industry Summit, organised by the AFRICA CEO FORUM (Jeune Afrique Media Group), in partnership with IFC, 500 decision-makers representing the entire spectrum of the financial industry, industry champions, investors and regulators will share their vision and experience.

A wide variety of topics will be covered during panels, keynote addresses and roundtables, including how to drive digital transformation, develop financial inclusion strategies, adapt to the regulatory environment, update risk management practices during an economic crisis, understand new consumer needs and revolutionise talent management, as well as the impact of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. The Financial Industry Summit 2021 has a clear ambition and invites participants to help achieve it: enable the industry to return to sustainable growth, boost competitiveness, embrace innovation and contribute to the continent’s economic recovery.



  • Reinventing post-Covid African finance
  • The recovery of African economies
  • International financial regulations
  • The challenges of the insurance sector
  • The African payment industry
  • The future of African currencies
  • The fintech boom
  • Green finance in Africa
  • Access to capital markets
  • Africa facing non-performing loans
  • African finance in the world
  • Frontier markets


Please note that the online programme shows just part of the full line-up and is updated daily as we continue to confirm new speakers.
Sessions will be broadcast live on our digital platform on Wednesday, 10 March from 11am to 6pm (WAT/CET/GMT+1) and on Thursday, 11 March from 10am to 7pm (WAT/CET/GMT+1). Sessions will also be available as a replay for participants confirmed after these dates.
Once you are a confirmed participant, you will receive the platform link.
Register today!


Panel | Reinventing post-Covid African finance

Up until this year, Africa’s financial industry was one of the most dynamic in the world, with banking income growing by 11% per year on average, more than $800m raised by fintech firms in 2019, very high growth potential in banking and insurance, developing capital markets and two-thirds of mobile money transactions worldwide. The looming economic crisis has upended this rosy outlook somewhat, with the likely deterioration in portfolio quality expected to weigh on profitability, but the crisis is also ushering in new opportunities for the most agile and digitally-ready operators. How should we rethink the development trajectory of African finance in light of these emerging challenges?

Key points

  • How to capitalise on pandemic-related acceleration in digitalisation, fintech and mobile money
  • Default risk, support for the real economy: what role should the financial sector play in the recovery?
  • Withdrawal of international banks, intra-African consolidation: is the hour of continental banking giants here?

Fireside Chat | Conversation with James Mwangi

In this special fireside chat bringing together two of Africa’s financial sector leaders, Kenya’s James Mwangi, the longstanding chief executive of Equity Bank, is interviewed by Nigeria’s Andrew Alli, CEO of the investment bank SouthBridge. In the space of 16 years, Mwangi turned a failing bank into one of the continent’s leading financial groups, with more than 14 million customers and a balance sheet exceeding $10bn in 2020. As for Alli, Africa Finance Corporation’s first CEO (2008-2018), it took him just 10 years to make the young multilateral development bank the gold standard in infrastructure financing, investing over $4.5bn in more than 30 African countries.

Panel | International regulations: giving a voice to African bankers

Enforcing the often exceedingly costly banking regulations that prevail in other parts of the world is particularly difficult in Africa, as its financial landscape includes many small financial institutions. The fact that more than 40 countries across the continent have yet to implement the Basel III framework bears witness to this reality. As Africa continues to grapple with the Covid crisis, one that demands banks to do everything in their power to prop up economic activity, these foreign standards seem more stifling than ever. What solutions, including temporary exemptions from applying Basel standards, government support measures and recapitalisations, should be used to address this dilemma? How can banks and regulators adapt accordingly to aid in the economic recovery without completely sidestepping regulations?

Key points

  • Government-backed loans, tax breaks, interest rebates: supporting African banks by shifting risk
  • Basel standards, FATCA, KYC, Solvency II: the challenge of meeting both local needs and international standards
  • Can African banks bear the cost of compliance?

Panel | Has the payments industry reached a tipping point?

Africa’s payments industry is one of the most dynamic in the world, with digital payments growing 11% annually since 2014 and potentially 13% annually in the years ahead. The payments industry involves a wide variety of financial industry stakeholders, from fintech firms to banks, historical payments leaders and telcos, and has become subject to fierce competition, with traditional companies falling behind thus far. How will the industry’s future play out and what strategic positioning will its various stakeholders adopt?

Key points

  • How can interoperability be fostered?
  • How should the payments industry be regulated, particularly where cross-border transactions are concerned?
  • What kind of impact could the AfCFTA have on the sector?