Ghanaian startup Nokwary has been named overall winner of this year’s Ecobank Fintech Challenge, securing US$10,000 in prize money.
10 finalists were selected out of over 600 applicants. Each of the finalists have been inducted into a one-year programme which will enable them to gain opportunities of commercial partnerships with the bank.
Nokwary, the winner, uses artificial intelligence (AI) to promote financial inclusion, hails from Ghana.
Their banking solution offers users the opportunity to carry out transactions in their own languages with the aid of social media platforms such as WhatsApp.
Ukheshe from South Africa, placed second with a US$7,000 prize. They developed a card acceptance platform that allows unbanked merchants to accept and make digital payments.
Another South African company, Growth Factor, took the third position, with a US$5,000 prize. Their innovation provides trade financing solutions designed for MSMEs.
Ecobank Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ade Ayeyemi congratulated the winners and welcomed all the 2020 fellows.
“The quality of the products and pitches we saw in the final this year were 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,” he said.
Nokwary CEO and Co-founder Dennis Asamoah Owusu expressed the excitement of his team on winning this year’s Ecobank Fintech Challenge.
“Our company is rather young and to be recognised 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,” he said.
Tanzania’s Nala and Nigeria’s IroFit, won last year’s edition, which was open to startups and developers from all of Africa’s 54 countries.