About the Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub (MAFH)
Accelerate your growth and reach potential by becoming
part of a pan-African network that knows no borders.
The Mauritius African Fintech Hub, registered as the Mauritius Fintech Association, was launched in October 2018 with the objective to promote Mauritius as the Fintech Innovation Hub for the African continent.
This initiative was pioneered by the Mauritian government, through the Economic Development Board (EDB) of Mauritius with a launch grant, alongside the private sector and formally announced during the 2017/2018 budget speech. The association functions as an independent facilitator and is solely funded by memberships and programmes we design since October 2020.
What we do and why we do it
We have a clear purpose of driving positive change through tech disruption by building a sustainable pan-African FinTech ecosystem. If you’d like that said with a little less corporate jargon: our purpose is to improve the quality of life in Africa by bringing together Mauritian, Pan-African and global corporates, start-ups, investors, academia, regulators, and all other stakeholders to collaborate in the Fintech space in a way that will empower African Fintech into the future.
Our vision is to create this Pan-Africa FinTech ecosystem through open collaboration between all key stakeholders, in order to build a successful FinTech Hub attracting and retaining talent, innovations and investment into the African continent. Ultimately MAFH believes that collaboration will lead to cutting-edge solutions for financial inclusion in the emerging African market.
Through market research and the vast experience from an on-the-ground team and board members, the Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub has identified four core pillars mentioned before for daily operations and member support:
- Innovation & Incubation
- Skills & Capacity Building
- Investment & Deal Flow
- Regulatory & Policy Strategy
Using these core pillars, MAFH provides business support and networking opportunities to its members, whilst continuously increasing the scope of its own network in order to connect businesses with the right people and to expand the ecosystem.
Our objectives as a hub are to:
Provide a conducive environment leading to bleeding edge, innovative FinTech innovations that can rapidly change the world
Enable the creation of completely new startups as a result of our Incubation programme
Provide world-class education to members through our workshops and our Incubation lab
Facilitate regulatory applications by members in order to get their solutions out there and operational as quickly as possible
Develop processes that will enable accelerated cross-border FinTech business integration and growth
Provide legal & legislative support for new FinTech businesses or more established institutions who are looking to integrate
Create and strengthen partnerships between tech talents, corporate financiers and investors in a collaborative sandbox
Provide a secure and self-sustaining network where stakeholders can come together to harness the power of FinTech and create wealth for both themselves, the African continent & beyond
Act as a bridge between different African markets & governments as well as external FinTech players to ease the integration of fresh FinTech technology & investment in Africa
Acts as a business support system for smaller FinTech businesses
Mauritius is a small country with big plans for economic growth. The Mauritian government created initiatives such as the Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub to help evolve Mauritius into a thriving FinTech hub for the burgeoning African FinTech economy. Mauritius is known for having a reputation for financial safety, and is also one of the world’s International Financial Centres (IFC). These are attributes that provide a prime foundation for Mauritius to become a breeding ground for innovative financial technologies.
While it’s already a go-to for some due to its highly favourable business tax rates and regulatory sandbox licencing opportunities, the Mauritius African FinTech Hub sees Mauritius as the destination of choice for any business or individuals looking to set up secure and functional FinTech solutions and partnerships in Africa.
- An actively involved government
- Investment protection and existing international agreements
- Corporate governance
- Robust, yet agile legal system
- Building a workforce
- Venues and location
With 80% of the African population being unbanked and mobile money growing, Africa is starting to emerge as a lucrative, untapped market for global businesses to enter while there is still relatively low competition. A promising market open to the opportunities and enhanced standard of living that new financial technologies can bring. Businesses and consumers alike are in need of emerging technologies to help accelerate them forward into the digital age to bring about more economic opportunity to the wider population.
Growth in the African FinTech space has been phenomenal, particularly over the last 5 years, and the market isn’t showing any sign of saturation or slowing. Mobile penetration is at 67% on the continent and growing. While mobile payments have been the predominant FinTech solution used, market share is progressively evening out across more sectors. InsurTech and financial marketplaces are making up an increasingly bigger piece of the pie and there are tons of untapped opportunities that could lead to widespread wealth and economic upliftment.
The challenge faced by the continent is largely however due to the struggle and difficulty businesses face trying to get helpful and life-changing solutions to market, with only 22% of the market having access to traditional financial services. This is a result of outdated systems still being adhered to and – up until now – not being challenged because of a fragmented FinTech ecosystem.
However, government systems, infrastructure and regulations are often obstacles that can make people cautious to invest or bring their technology to new markets or collaborate with African innovators.
A big part of the work that we do as the Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub is to facilitate collaboration and ease the restraints of regulatory red tape for those looking to innovate and integrate in the African market, along with the support of the Africa FinTech Network (AFN), of which Mauritius is on the Board, connecting us to 32 other African associations.
The MAFH team is truly pan-African with a collaboration of members from South Africa and Mauritius, as well as global team & board members.
The hub’s board and team members are not only well respected in the financial industry and the world of business, but also have access to resources that span the financial sector, including legal services, blockchain expertise, business incubation and investment and deal flow.
Michal was involved in the running of one of South Africa’s leading incubators where he personally interviewed, worked with and mentored over 6 000 entrepreneurs. He was also part of a team that set up similar incubators in other parts of the country. Michal has worked with clients such as Vodacom, Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) BHP, VISA, Telkom, Honeywell, Bidvest Bank and also ran his own business in the FMCG sector.
Benazeer has been following the evolution of the media industry for the past decade, and has joined the Hub driven first by her curiosity, but also in her belief of the higher purpose of what we are trying to build here for Mauritius and Africa. She brings with her 10 years of experience covering diverse markets in the digital marketing and communications field, put to use today to develop global partnerships, innovative events and demystify the FinTech space in the African region!
Mike Rees is the Founder of Strategic Vitality, former Group Deputy CEO of Standard Chartered, currently serves as a member of the ING supervisory board, and as Chairman of the board at MAFH. As an experienced global business leader, Mr. Rees is passionate about resolving leadership challenges at an individual and an organizational level. He currently advises, mentors and invests in several technology start-ups and investment fund companies at varied stages of development and is a supporter of The New Entrepreneurs Foundation.
Educated at Cambridge and Exeter Universities, Ian started a successful E-commerce business which was recently sold while he was still at University. He is a contributing writer to numerous publications on FinTech and blockchain and has won multiple awards, including IBM Entrepreneur of the Year 2016, and Gulf Business Top 10 entrepreneurs 2017.
Multi-lingual lawyer with private practice and in-house experience in Europe, Africa and Latin America. Strong track record advising governments, start-ups and corporates with a particular focus on FinTech for emerging markets.
As a multiple time technology entrepreneur (CEO & Founder) and an innovation thought leader, Nicole has gained an in-depth knowledge of Green and Impact FinTech and Sustainable Finance. Passionate about technology business models that are challenging the status quo and providing greater inclusion for people globally and having a positive impact on our environment, she has focused on the innovation intersection of emerging technologies and emerging markets both physical and virtual.
Faraz Rojid is Head of the Financial Services Division of the Economic Development Board. He has also authored and co-authored articles in trade and investment laws in transnational journals and United Nations publications, including the World Investment Report 2012 and the International Investment Agreements Negotiators Handbook.
Why work with a FinTech Hub based in Mauritius?
Entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs interested in joining a hub in Mauritius, the Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub is ideally located, not just because of its proximity to Africa due to timezones, but also for the following reasons:
- Mauritius has a strong reputation for safety with Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) in place with a number of African states so it can act as a protective barrier between local African governments and businesses looking to enter new markets.
- Mauritius has a International Financial Centre, which underpins its reputation for safety.
- The Mauritian business world is well-known for its corporate governance culture as well as it’s stability, it is therefore the ideal sandbox environment for businesses looking to enter more volatile markets in the future.
- A number of African FinTech start-ups have made Mauritius their home, providing a proven template for business that want to enter African markets via Mauritius.
- Mauritius has a strong ICT workforce that’s able to assist in pre-market testing of your products.
What do entrepreneurs & SMEs get as part of the Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub?
MAFH is an ecosystem where entrepreneurs, SMEs, tech business, corporate entities, FSPs and investors can come together and create profitable FinTech solutions for the African market. MAFH knows that in order to do this, particularly as a startup or small business in the FinTech space, you’ll need as much on-the-ground support as possible, which is why, as a MAFH member you’ll have:
- Licensing and regulatory fast-tracking and support in Africa & Mauritius.
- Use of established pan-African networks and connections.
- Free office space in the MAFH building, located in central Mauritius, however you don’t have to live in Mauritius if you want to be part of the hub.
- General business administration support for smaller businesses.
- Free workshops with regulators, government representatives and other legislative decision-makers.
- Be part of innovation labs run by corporates of MAFH itself.
From The Blog
A message from the Chairman of MAFH, Mike Rees, regarding some important structural changes at the Hub.
[Press Release] MCB join forces with MAFH to upskill youth in Mauritius through the Future FinTech Champions programme 2022
The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) becomes the first Mauritian Sponsor for the Future FinTech Champions programme, composed of 24 students enrolled in eight local universities for the 2022 cohort.
What are our Future FinTech Champions learning at the moment? And what are their thoughts on the current development of FinTech? Read through this submission from one of our FFCs, Margaret Maina, currently studying @ African Leadership University.