Afro-Asia fintech festival announced
Fintech stakeholders from Africa and Asia are preparing to attend the recently announced Arfro-Asia Fintech Festival. It is the first event of its kind and will seek to connect Africa and Asia to network, exchange ideas and build upon Fintech systems in both countries. The inaugural event, dubbed FinTech in the Savannah, will take place in Nairobi, Kenya on 15-16 July 2019.
The event is being organised by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. (MAS) The CBK is responsible for formulating monetary policy and promotes financial stability to its clients. MAS is Singapore’s central bank which specialises in non-inflationary economic growth through appropriate monetary policy formulation.
Dr Patrick Njoroge, Governor, CBK said, “CBK is honoured to partner MAS in co-creating a unique platform for policy-makers, technology entrepreneurs, financial industry leaders and other players to come together and tap their diverse knowledge and experiences. Cross-border cooperation is increasingly important as global problems cannot be resolved in isolation. We need to come together as a global community to learn from each other and co-create solutions that will improve the lives of our people.”
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Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS, said, “Some of the most exciting developments in technology-enabled financial inclusion are happening in Africa and Asia. The central banks of Kenya and Singapore share a vision to build an Afro-Asia platform to synergise efforts in FinTech innovation. With Kenya and Singapore as the starting points, we hope to bring our two regions closer together to innovate and make financial services more accessible and affordable for our people.”
FinTech in the Savannah attendees can expect a Fintech Conference, exhibition and cultural highlights sharing the best work from the two regions. According to MAS, this years theme is ‘Sustainable Finance: Inclusive and Green.’ Key topics of focus will include: “Technology for Tomorrow”, “Social Impact” and “Spirit of Innovation.”
The event is both modeled after, and in collaboration with the Singapore Fintech Festival, the world’s largest festival, which takes place this year from 11-15. November. The week-long event attracts some 45,000 attendees from acros 130 countries. In their 2018 festival participant demographics, the top ten key influencers, decision makers and investors were from Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan. These are promising statistics when predicting the attendance and outcome to be generated from the Savannah Conference.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.