UK pumps £10 million into the Kenyan Fintech scene as it aims to increase financial inclusion for low-income and underserved consumers through technology

The Lord Mayor of the City of London Peter Estlin, on Thursday announced £10 million of UK Aid support towards the Catalyst Fund during a visit to Nairobi. (Twitter)
  • The Catalyst Fund supports business development and investor opportunities for early stage fintech companies in emerging markets. 
  • The Fund will help connect a further 30 local fintech companies with international investors and mentors, including Kenyan fintech companies.
  • 5 startups under the Catalyst Fund will be selected to attend the Innovate Finance Global Summit, taking place during UK Fintech week in 2020.

The Lord Mayor of the City of London Peter Estlin, on Thursday announced £10 million (Sh1.154 billion) of UK Aid support towards the Catalyst Fund during a visit to Nairobi. 

His visit comes ahead of the first UK-Africa Investment Summit next year, which will bring together businesses, governments and international institutions to encourage investment in a range of sectors, including fintech.

The Catalyst Fund supports business development and investor opportunities for early stage fintech companies in emerging markets. With support from the UK Department for International Development, the Catalyst Fund will help connect a further 30 local fintech companies with international investors and mentors, including Kenyan fintech companies.

“Today’s announcement highlights the mutual benefits of closer financial co-operation to both the UK and Kenya. By forging partnerships across Africa, the UK’s financial services sector can turbocharge national economies and empower individuals financially, creating thousands of jobs and enriching lives across the continent,” said the Lord Mayor during the launch at the Nairobi Garage.

The British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott added that: “Kenya’s FinTech sector is strong, diverse and growing quickly. The innovators we met today show the future of Kenya’s economic growth and I am proud that the UK is able to support their work, helping create growth, jobs and the achievement of the Global Goals in partnership between our two Countries.

Amolo Ng’weno, CEO of BFA Global who manages the Catalyst Fund, said: “In Kenya, access to digital financial services is no longer the major issue - today we need to work toward ordinary citizens improving their financial health, gaining new access to opportunity and accessing basic services. At BFA, we see a significant opportunity for inclusive fintech startups to play this role. However, in order to succeed, they require early stage capital, partnerships which can enable pathways for scale, and access to a high potential talent pool. Our mission at the Catalyst Fund is to accelerate these startups and strengthen the inclusive fintech ecosystem, and we look forward to working toward this goal with the support of UK Aid.”

The Lord Mayor who is in Nairobi for a two-day visit had an opportunity to meet with four fintech innovators that recently graduated from the Catalyst Fund portfolio. Among them; Daniel Yu, Sokowatch, Ed Magema, Chipper Cash, Ted Pantone, Turaco, Fausto Marcigot, Paygo Energy.

The Lord Mayor also announced through the City of London Corporation that five startups under the Catalyst Fund will be selected to attend the Innovate Finance Global Summit, taking place during UK Fintech week in 2020, helping to strengthen the links between UK and African fintech sectors.

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