The opening keynote by Hon. Minister Felix Mutati at the Africa Fintech Summit in Lusaka focused on the critical role of digital transformation in enhancing Zambia’s and Africa’s global competitiveness. Minister Mutati expressed gratitude for the Summit’s organization and its role in uplifting Zambia’s digital platform. He emphasized the need for connection, learning, and transactions between local and international fintech participants, highlighting the Summit’s contribution to tourism and knowledge sharing.
Minister Mutati outlined five key points:
Keeping it Simple: Focusing on three layers of technology – enhancement, empowerment, and envisioning. He stressed the importance of leveraging technology to enhance existing financial products and services, empowering citizens to control their financial lives, and envisioning future service deliveries through technology.
Creating an Enabling Environment: Zambia has implemented a digital transformation strategy and ICT policy to facilitate this journey. This includes simplifying regulations and licensing processes and fostering digital innovation and entrepreneurship. The government is also streamlining approvals and licenses for fintechs and working towards protecting consumers.
Growth of the ICT Sector: The ICT sector in Zambia is rapidly growing, with significant increases in mobile transactions and internet penetration. This growth underscores the importance of digital inclusion and the pervasive nature of digital technology.
Connectivity and Devices: The government is incentivizing investment in digital infrastructure to improve financial inclusion and access to affordable digital services. Plans include the establishment of a smartphone manufacturing plant to reduce costs and enhance access to technology.
Collaboration and Community Support: Emphasizing the principle “I am because we are”, Mutati highlighted the importance of collaboration between local fintechs and international investors. The government supports digital initiatives and startups through grants and mentorship programs, aiming to strengthen the fintech ecosystem.
Minister Mutati concluded by reiterating the importance of digital technology in transforming lives and creating opportunities. He stressed that Africa’s time in the digital world has come and encouraged continuous adaptation and innovation in the digital landscape.