After a fruitful year of community building, exciting member sign-ups, many learnings, great events and shared success, the Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub (MAFH) celebrated its first anniversary on October 3, 2019 at the Cerne Docks Warehouse, Port Louis.
Since its launch, MAFH has engaged with multiple stakeholders in the FinTech industry, including financial institutions, Venture Capital providers, accelerators and incubators, start-ups and policymakers.
The organisation is encouraging greater collaboration to promote growth in the FinTech space.
On this occasion MAFH, in partnership with PwC Mauritius, revealed the results of the first ever Mauritius FinTech Ecosystem Mapping survey. The process began in August 2019 with a FinTech stakeholder mapping workshop. This represented a concerted effort to map the local FinTech ecosystem and foster better cohesion and collaboration among the key stakeholders of this innovative landscape. In addition to the stakeholder workshop, a survey was sent out to the FinTech Start-up community to gather business data and identify the gaps and challenges currently being experienced by Start-ups. Both aspects of the project aimed to map the ecosystem to answer the question – What does the Mauritius FinTech ecosystem actually look like?
MAFH received over 100 responses to the survey. The findings provided a number of valuable insights, including that 57% of the start-ups surveyed have raised funds, totalling on average USD 500,000 per business. The respondents highlighted key hurdles that align with international trends and which have been MAFH’s core focus in terms of support for its members.
Commenting on the Ecosystem Mapping project and marking MAFH’s first year anniversary, Board member at MAFH, Mike Rees said, “This has been a wonderful year. MAFH was a baby long in the planning, but now, it is blooming into a child. The key takeaway is how to develop a competitive advantage in the funding base, because if you want to track capital you have to track the funding base. It is not just one but two capital flows that are critical – financial and human.
The world tends not to be short of ideas and opportunities, but it’s short of financial and human capital. And that is the challenge for this to succeed in the region. We are building Pan-African business here. We encourage a lot more collaboration with regulators, governments, so at MAFH we have to continue to be active in building all those aspects of collaboration.”
Speaking at the event, Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Board, Francois Guibert said: “EDB’s mandate is to ensure business facilitation, strategic economic planning, investment and trade promotion and country branding. We are expanding our presence across our main markets across Europe, Africa and Asia; we now have 17 offices globally. We have recently set up an office in Tokyo, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, where our first business forum gathered more than 175 Japanese businesses.”
He further added, “The EDB also provides Regulatory Sandbox Licenses to innovative fintech activities; we are a key member of the National Regulatory Sandbox Licence (NRSL) Committee which was set up by the Government of Mauritius in September 2018 with a view to assess all matters pertaining to Sandbox licensing for fintech activities. Since 2018, we have seen the emergence of more than 60 technology start-ups engaged in Fintech, blockchain, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, healthcare among others. We have 3 accredited incubators and 24 ongoing projects. Key companies are setting up here in critical areas such as Finance, IT, and Legal to ensure that business can be conducted safely and smartly.”
He concluded that Mauritius is the preferred business hub for operations in Africa.
Sharing her insights on the mapping project, Diya Guttoo, Associate Director, Advisory Consulting at PwC Mauritius mentioned, “Contributing to the FinTech Ecosystem Mapping exercise illustrates our ambition to re-align the business economy and society. At PwC, we are optimistic about the growth prospects of FinTech locally and their transition to serve African markets.
Through this survey, the MAFH has created that valuable bridge between start-ups and the financial services industry by identifying players in the payments processing, remittance, lending, digital banking, blockchain and crypto currencies, towards building secure platforms.”
It was also announced at the event that MAFH has been nominated to the African Fintech Network Council and now forms part of 22 Pan-African FinTech ecosystems. It has also been shortlisted to host the 2020 African FinTech Festival event.