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The UK government has pledged £10-million of UK Aid support towards the Catalyst Fund, which will be utilised to invest in fintechs across a number of emerging market economies — including those in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
The announcement was made by London mayor Peter Estlin at Nairobi Garage’s Kilimani Space, last Thursday (17 October) during a two-day visit to Nairobi.
His visit comes ahead of next year’s first UK-Africa Investment Summit, set to take place in January 2020 in London.
The Catalyst Fund will help connect a further 30 fintechs with international investors and mentors
The Catalyst Fund is a fintech accelerator that helps startups create and deliver accessible, affordable and appropriate products for the under-served.
The British High Commission in Nairobi said in a statement last week that with support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Catalyst Fund will help connect a further 30 fintech companies with international investors and mentors, including Kenyan fintech companies.
Tech publication Disrupt Africa reported in an article last week that in addition to helping support Kenyan fintechs, the £10-million will be used by the fund to invest in fintechs from Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico and India.
Amolo Ng’weno, the CEO of BFA Global which manages the Catalyst Fund, said in a statement last week that in Kenya, access to digital financial services is no longer a major issue.
He pointed out however that there is still a 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,” he said.
During his two day visit to Nairobi, Estlin met fintech innovators that recently graduated from the Catalyst Fund portfolio.
These included Sokowatch’s Daniel Yu, Chipper Cash’s Ed Magema, Turaco’s Ted Pantone and Paygo Energy’s Fausto Marcigot.
Estlin also announced through the City of London Corporation, five startups under the Catalyst Fund will be selected to attend the Innovate Finance Global Summit, which takes place during UK Fintech week in 2020.
Featured image: London mayor Peter Estlin (left) pictured at Nairobi Garage’s Kilimani Space (Facebook)