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The Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub (MAFH) is a fast-growing ecosystem where entrepreneurs, corporations, governments, tech experts, investors, financial service providers, universities and research institutions can collaborate to build cutting-edge solutions for the emerging African market. The CEO Michal Szymanski explains how Mauritius has evolved as a FinTech hub and how the Future FinTech Champions Programme has helped build the young minds of the ecosystem.

Michal Szymanski MAFH

Since MAFH set up in Mauritius, how has the island evolved as a FinTech hub to and from Africa? What are the collaborative partnerships that you have witnessed that have benefitted the ecosystem?

As the official FinTech association mandated by Government, MAFH has seen the FinTech ecosystem really come into its own over the past 3 years. We have seen the change of mindsets by all stakeholders, through open collaboration and action. We are also seeing incumbents partner with start-ups, universities preparing the youth for the future of work in the finance sector, and many other impacts being felt on the ground.


Can you share some successful anecdotes from one or two of your members?

The crowdfunding start-up Fundkiss has seen massive growth and success in this space. They have matured and have some massive visions for the future in Africa. Other successes would be the changing of existing regulation, to create a more open and favourable environment for FinTechs to come and grow, which was a collaborative effort from the ecosystem in itself! 


What are the challenges you are seeking to address this year?

Regulation will always be a challenge in any FinTech environment, as the pace of innovation will always outpace that of regulation. This is a natural phenomenon and as such regulation will be a key focus over the next few years. We have numerous other programmes in place, such as the Future FinTech Champions Programme, with Mauritius Commercial Bank as the leading sponsor, where we are working to upskill the youth in various universities in Mauritius. This will hopefully empower the future workforce with the right skills they need and help solve the fundamental challenge existing locally, and abroad, that of not having enough skills and talent in this industry.


What growth have you seen in terms of innovation and incubation, regulation and policy,  deal flow and investment, and capacity and skills building?

These are the 3 out of the 4 (including deal flow) core pillars of what we at MAFH stand for and do in our daily lives, thus we have seen massive changes in this space. We think that the important statement here is that all four of these pillars tie in together, and we cannot see a complete change in any ecosystem, with any of them missing. As such you need the right regulation to foster the right innovation, having the right skills and the money to make it real, in order to create a sustainable and growing ecosystem.


What are MAFH's main goals for this year?

The priority this year would be around Regulation and Skills. These two areas have consistently been highlighted as the number 1 & 2 challenge areas of the ecosystem currently. This ties in with what we are seeing in Africa and brings us to our third goal for the year. Mauritius is a board member of the African FinTech Network, 34 African countries being represented, and as such we hope to drive the African FinTech agenda throughout 2022 and beyond.


How has the Future FinTech Champions Programme helped build the young minds in the ecosystem?

The Future FinTech Champions Programme came to being as a direct result based on the feedback and need of the sector. With the evolution of the financial sector, and the digitisation thereof, we need to ensure that the right skills, knowledge, experience etc. is coming through the universities to meet the demand. With the pace of innovation, universities tend to lag and there is a gap between what the industry needs and what is coming out at from the universities. We are hoping this programme can bridge that gap and create leaders and youth with the right skills for the future and add value from day one in any field they are a part of.