Nokwary Technologies Wins 2020 Ecobank Fintech Challenge
By Dipo Olowookere
The 2020 edition of the Ecobank Fintech Challenge has been clinched by Ghanaian firm, Nokwary Technologies, after impressing the judges the most from the 10 finalists picked for the event.
With the win, the company, after being inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship programme to explore commercial partnerships with the pan-African banking giant, will get the $10,000 cash prize.
Nokwary is a fintech that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to promote financial inclusion. Its AI-Powered banking solution offers an opportunity for users to carry out transactions in a language to which they are familiar with using popular social media channels like WhatsApp.
At the event live-streamed from Ghana, Ukheshe Payment Solutions and Growth Factor Technologies were the first and second runners-up respectively and received $7,000 and $5,000 apiece for the efforts.
Ukheshe, a South African firm, provides a bridge between the card and the cash economy. It has created the world’s first card acceptance platform that allows unbanked merchants/traders to accept and make digital payments.
For Growth Factor, a company based in Ghana, it provides trade financing solutions designed for Micro-Small/Medium Entities (MSMEs) in order to encourage financial inclusion and growth. Its Nvoicia solution solves cash flow issues caused by delayed payments for SMEs, by enabling them to get paid in 24hrs when dealing with credit clients.
Commenting on the event, the Group CEO of Ecobank, Mr Ade Ayeyemi, congratulated the winners for their innovation and welcomed all the 2020 fellows.
He said, “The quality of the products and pitches we saw in the final this year was amazing. Clearly, it is evident that banking in Africa is moving onto a new dimension with these Fintechs leading the way; that is why we are so proud to have had them in this year’s competition and are excited to engage further with them over the next year.
“It is our expectation that we will build a few lasting partnerships which will help improve the lives of Africans all over the continent.”
On his part, the CEO and co-founder of Nokwary Technologies, Mr Dennis Asamoah Owusu, expressed his excitement for the victory, saying, “I was beyond excited.
“Our company is rather young and to be recognized like this on such a stage was really exciting as well as a validation for our focus on creating inclusive technology right from the start.
“It is also very encouraging to note that a major bank like Ecobank places such a premium on inclusion and is willing to back and promote innovative and cutting-edge technologies towards that purpose.
“We are looking to work together with Ecobank to bring an AI-first digital banking platform over WhatsApp, as well as other innovative solutions to Ecobank’s customers.”
This year’s finalists made it through an extremely competitive pool of over 600 applicants across Africa, Europe, North America and Asia.
All 10 finalists have officially been inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship, a one-year program which will give them the opportunity to explore opportunities for commercial partnerships with the Ecobank Group and to possibly launch and scale products across the lender’s 33-country markets in the continent.