How Mauritius is positioning itself as the next fintech hub for Africa

Authorised fintech testing sandboxes, digital-assets licenses, and rules for peer-to-peer crowdfunding set the stage for a new avenue to growth.

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Launched last December, the Mauritius Africa fintech Hub (MAFH) set its goal on "becoming one of the world's next big fintech hubs" – and it is attracting attention. The continent's mobile-first ecosystem and growing mobile payments infrastructure and uptake make fertile ground for fintech and the large unbanked population is ripe for such innovations. Mauritius is starting to leverage these factors to position itself as a gateway to the continent.

MAFH is supported by the Mauritian government, regulatory authorities and financial service providers. The ambition of the Mauritian government is precisely what the fintech industry should be fueling: growth potential for people and economies with limited traditional financial infrastructure, according to Albert Maasland, CEO of Crown Agents Bank.

"Simply by opening its doors to change and innovation in this space, Mauritius is ahead of many markets, including several OECD countries," Maasland says. "This receptiveness is the largest factor in play when determining whether a country can, in fact, become the next fintech hub."

Fintech evolves to include emerging tech

Fintech is essentially technology that is applied to financial services, or transaction operations in businesses. Fintech has over the last few years moved from back-end data centres to embrace comprehensive transaction processing systems – often involving emerging tech such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and robotic process automation – including services offered via the cloud.

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