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.
Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek
Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.
Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.
Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.
Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.
As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.
It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.
But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.
As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.
So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.