The first-ever digital economy summit in Africa, the 3i Africa Summit, has established that inter-country collaboration is key to guaranteeing the success of initiatives tailored to boost the payments system in Africa. 

The three days of discussions and other activities at the maiden financial technology (FinTech) summit in Accra also concluded that players in the space must not work in silos if their initiatives must achieve the needed impact.

The only summit in Africa which successfully brought together high-level policymakers, industry experts, business captains and change-makers under one roof brought to the fore, for instance, the need for a digital identification (DI) system and network interoperability across the continent.

Reflecting on the summit in an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Development Bank Ghana (DBG), K. Duker, said, “the 3i Africa Summit exceeded the expectations of the organisers and their partners, setting new standards.”

The Bank of Ghana (BoG), DBG and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), through its subsidiary, Elevandi, organised the summit on the theme: “Unleashing Africa’s Fintech and Digital Economic potential”.

Initially targeted at 2,500, the 3i Africa Summit welcomed more than 8,700 registered participants, with more than 7,500 as physical attendees.

The number included 1,724 policymakers, 4,786 industry experts and 1,230 researchers from 95 countries around the world.

Additionally, the event featured 240 speakers and discussants, 58 sessions, 15 tracks, nine stages and 10 innovator pitches.


Mr Duker explained that the summit, which was targeted at the players in Africa’s digital economy, was overwhelmingly successful in catalysing investments and fostering economic growth across the continent and also generating global partnerships for sustainable development.

He said the summit lived up to expectations as it was not a talk shop, but a vehicle to accelerate economic transformation. “The summit, over the three days, recorded the initiation of progressive policies, the conclusion of key collaborative agreements and the making of key announcements,” the CEO of DBG said. 

Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, African Continental Free Trade Area, speaking at the event

DBG, Proxtera deal

Notable among them, Mr Duker pointed out, was the $100 million deal between DBG and Proxtera, a Singapore-based open and neutral hub which digitally connects Business to Business (B2B) marketplaces, service providers and trade associations to simplify and boost trade for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Explaining, he said the deal signed between the two institutions was earmarked for supporting SMEs via the Ghana Integrated Financial Ecosystem (GIFE) platform. GIFE is a joint initiative of BoG, DBG and MAS to provide a digital journey for SMEs, offer them financial literacy, the creation of trusted credentials through the Universal Trusted Credentials framework, to access working capital and other opportunities for cross-border trade with Asia and the Association of South Eastern Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, comprised 10 countries.

Mr Duker added that GIFE which was launched at the 2022 Singapore Fintech Festival, was operationalised in the first half of last year, with the pilot financial institution partner being the Consolidated Bank of Ghana (CBG).

"GIFE currently is a digital journey for MSMEs, beginning with financial literacy, creation of trusted credentials which leverages the global Universal Trusted Credentials framework, access to working capital, and cross-border trade with Asia and the ASEAN region," he said.

Mr Duker stressed that with the financing support now signed, the upcoming phase of GIFE would see wider participation by more financial institutions with an emphasis on scale and digital access to global trade markets, with local financial and educational support.

At the summit, Proxtera also signed another landmark agreement with Fidelity Bank to empower and provide financial support to SMEs which have signed up on the GIFE programme.

“This is aimed at offering SMEs an unparalleled opportunity to position themselves to become global players”, a statement from Fidelity Bank said. 

Semi-fungible token

Furthermore, BoG also announced the successful completion of the first Proof of Concept (POC) as part of its Digital Economy Semi-Fungible Token (DESFT) project which demonstrates the successful execution of a cross-border transaction payment making use of digital credentials, the eCedi and an approved stablecoin from Singapore.

The project, which was initiated in June 2023, is a collaboration between the Central Bank and the MAS. Project DESFT is aimed at supporting SMEs in Africa, particularly those in Ghana, to engage in international trade by removing significant obstacles they face such as establishing trust overseas with trade partners and obtaining support in cross-border payments and supply chain finance.

Huge boost

“The 3i Africa Summit, aside from the deals and agreements, registered other successes leading to the conclusion that the FinTech sector in Ghana and across Africa has indeed received a huge boost in its forward march,” Mr Duker pointed out.

On the technology side, he recounted that the event registered 2,896 subscribers to the 3i Africa Summit app and trended on X (formerly Twitter) well after the three days of the event.

“As we look forward beyond the 3i Africa Summit, what is very clear is the fact that the fintech sector and its players have received the boldest support ever across Africa. This has been in terms of potential policy change, access to finance and technical collaboration,” Mr Duker stated. 


The 3i Africa Summit, opened by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last Monday, was anchored on the pillars of innovation, investment and impact. It drove an agenda towards transformation for sustainable development across Africa.

The pillars were also aimed at driving conversations to address the key opportunities in the FinTech industry and explore how markets and companies are leapfrogging legacy technologies.

The 3i Africa Summit has proven to be a pioneering platform for change-makers to initiate and execute creative solutions made particularly to handle Africa's unique challenges and take advantage of its wealth of prospects.

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