Ecobank’s MD champions tech innovation,fintech collaboration

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The 2024 Sierra Leone Innovates – Tech Summit took place at the Bintumani Auditorium, bringing together major players from the technology sector to discuss innovation and the vital role of technology in Sierra Leone. The event was a significant gathering for tech leaders to converge, collaborate, and share insights.

Ecobank Sierra Leone’s Managing Director, Sebastian Ashong Katai , was a distinguished panellist at the summit. In his address, he emphasized the substantial role Ecobank plays in supporting start-ups and advancing tech finance across Africa. He highlighted Ecobank’s dedicated approach to the tech sector, presenting it as a pivotal partner rather than a competitor to fintech companies.

Banking as a Platform

Mr. Sebastian Ashong Katai unveiled Ecobank’s innovative strategy known as “banking as a platform.” This initiative leverages Ecobank’s extensive tech platform, which spans 33 African countries, to support tech firms in testing and developing their solutions. This approach underscores Ecobank’s commitment to fostering a collaborative tech ecosystem.

FinTech’s as Partners

“At Ecobank, we view fintech as partners, not competitors,” Mr. Sebastian Ashong Katai stated. He elaborated on Ecobank’s strategy to collaborate with fintech companies, promoting mutual growth and technological innovation.

Ecobank Fintech Challenge

A highlight of his speech was the Ecobank Fintech Challenge, an annual business competition that began in 2016. Mr. Sebastian Ashong Katai encouraged tech start-ups from Sierra Leone to participate, noting the presence of Sierra Leonean representatives in past editions. The competition is more than a contest; it offers fellowships with mentorship and networking opportunities, connecting participants with peers across Africa and providing access to new markets.

Sandbox Program

Ecobank also offers Sandbox program, a programming space where various entities can test their solutions. This sandbox is particularly beneficial for start-ups developing payment or collection solutions, allowing them to utilize Ecobank’s infrastructure for real-world testing and development.

Innovative Solutions and Support

One of the key innovations that has gained traction among tech start-ups is the Express Account, a digital account or electronic wallet. Mr. Sebastian Ashong Katai explained that Ecobank’s specialist fintech team helps start-ups raise finance, gain loans, and access equity markets. This comprehensive support aims to empower tech entrepreneurs and facilitate their growth.

Conclusion

Mr. Sebastian Ashong Katai concluded his speech by reaffirming Ecobank’s commitment to supporting tech innovation in Sierra Leone and across Africa. He invited all tech start-ups to leverage Ecobank’s resources and participate in the various programs designed to foster growth and innovation.

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