Lagos, a state in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, has been ranked 5th in the regional top 5 fintech ecosystems.
This result is based on a Global Fintech Ecosystems Report (GFER) prepared by Startup Genome LLC.
While the report focuses on various regions, we will be extracting some part of the report that focuses on Africa.
To start with, two of South-Africa’s major cities – Cape Town, and Johannesburg emerged first and second on the sub-Saharan regional list for top fintech ecosystems.
They were both followed by Rwanda’s Kigali and Congo’s Kinshasha, both of which came third and fourth respectively.
Interestingly, only one sub-Saharan African country emerged on the list of ecosystems to watch out for.
Beating out the likes of Lagos which also witnessed several notable funding activities, Kampala emerged as the only ecosystem to watch out for in the region.
Egypt’s Cairo is also another African destination that made it to the list.
Global fintech funding
Going by the GFER report, fintech funding activities slowed down a bit during the ongoing year.
However, this slow pace cuts across most of the different funding stages, including ‘Series-B’ and ‘Series-C.’
However, the early-stage pre-seed, seed, and Series-A funding categories have managed to maintain either static or slight increment in funding rounds.
According to the report, up until August 2020, the median seed round in the last year stands at $500,000.
This is the same figure recorded for the previous year, which indicates not-so-exciting progress.
Well, this slow pacing in the global funding activities can be attributed to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the report also indicates that early-stage investors are beginning to be very selective with their funding.
Similarly, the median Series A round didn’t experience a major boost. Regardless, there was a slight increase from $4.279 million in 2019 to about $5 million in 2020.
On the contrary, the report shows that despite the low funding value, funding rounds increased across all categories.
Ecosystems to watch out for
According to the GFER report, only two African destinations made it on the list of ecosystems to watch out for.
One of these two is from the sub-Saharan African region while the other is from the north-eastern African region.
It isn’t surprising that most of the fintech ecosystems in the African region suffered many setbacks due to the pandemic.
However, destinations such as Egypt, Kampala, and even Nigeria had managed to pull some magic during the H2 of 2020.
As a matter of fact, it feels awkward to discover that Nigeria didn’t make the list, but this is justifiable based on the metrics used to gather the results.
Some of the metrics in which GFER used in determining the ecosystems to watch out for includes the following:
- Funding growth index
- Investor activities index
- Exit growth index
- Ecosystem Value
- Total early stage funding
- Market size
- Active tech hubs
- Government initiatives
- COVID-19 policies
- Available resources
- Access to talent
A closer look at the two African countries to watch out for
Based in Uganda, the fintech ecosystem has recorded a steady annual average growth rate of 35% since 2016.
Interestingly, about 80% of the entire fintech in the country operate within the payment sector.
Of course, this is plausible as to why people should watch out for this particular ecosystem.
Quite frankly, the median seed round in Kampala, $100k, is way lower than the global average of $494K; regardless it is still a good foot for a sub-Saharan African country.
Also, the country recorded $1.1 million in total median series A round which almost beat 50% of that of the global average put at $2.7 million.
Kampala is also one of the few African countries that pay software engineers very well when compared to other regional ecosystems.
The country’s average software engineer salary is put at $10k where the global average is put at $42.1k.
Based in Egypt, Cairo remains by far one of the most fertile grounds for the fintech ecosystems.
The fintech ecosystem is valued at approximately $999 million (fast approaching the $1 billion valuation).
The country’s fintech funding index is also rated 9/10 where the investor activities is rated 5/10.
The country also boasts of a large customer market with a young population of about 20 million tech-savvy consumers.
Furthermore, there is an abundance of resources including over 150 universities which produce over 500,000 graduates annually.
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Also, the country has recently adopted special COVID-19 policies to support businesses during the ongoing pandemic.
For instance, the country has been offering tax exemption, loan payment deferrals, among others to cushion the impact of the pandemic.
Fintech has remained one of the biggest catalysts of global economic growth. And while this year has been faced with unprecedented challenges, the sector has managed to stay relevant.
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