Introducing: Practitioner Seminars

January 15, 2023

Cape Town, South Africa

This series was created to expose our students to exceptional individuals in the African Fintech space working on innovative solutions to address the large unbanked population on our continent. Fintech in Africa has received the largest share of funding in recent years, and this trend is expected to increase. As the only dedicated Fintech Master's program on the African continent, one of our goals is to connect our students with leading fintech companies across the continent. In the past, we have had speakers from NALA, Stitch Money, Visa, Spoon Money, Consensys, Authentium, Investec and more. 

This seminar series is a joint initiative between the MPhil in Fintech class and the Financial Innovation Hub and as such, also offers speakers an opportunity to recruit from a pool of students in the top 5% of UCT who have completed their coursework in blockchain, finance, and machine learning. Because it has attracted so much interest from students across campus outside the Fintech Masters degree, we've decided to open up attendance to all students interested in fintech and related topics.

The 2023 first quarter line up

The theme of this quarter is "payments" and we delve into three related but very different ways of operating in the system.

The first being cross-border payments by Nala, the brainchild of Tanzanian Wunderkind Benjamin Fernandes, which hit another milestone by launching in the EU in December 2022. It has since been enabling multilateral cross-border transactions between the European Union, the UK, the US and African countries. All through the Nala Money app.

Next: Jesse Mina is a former Bain management consultant who specialises in strategy consulting. Which is great, since he's the head of strategy at Dubai-based Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) firm, PostPay. Despite the downturn in the economy and a global consolidation of the BNPL sector, Postpay still made the 2022 Forbes top 50 most-funded startups in the Middle East and Africa. Perhaps, what gives them that resilient edge is how they've made strategic moves to capture the whole buying experience rather than just being part of the last leg. And what better brain is there to pick about their strategy than the head of Strategy himself.

Lastly, Sabine Schaller, the current Engineering Lead at the Interledger Foundation. The goal of the Interledger Foundation is an open global payment network that connects everyone. The system they envision is currency-agostic and frictionless, such that even micropayments (a few cents) have negligible fees. This is a structural change to how payments are made through the web. Which is why it makes sense they're proposing the Interledger Protocol as a web standard to the W3C consortium (they basically governs the internet). And that's just the surface of their plans.

Benjamin Fernandes - Founder and CEO of NALA. 18th of January.

Jesse Mina - Head of Strategy at PostPay. 10th of March.

Sabine Schalle - Engineering lead at the Interledger Foundation. 22nd of March.

See more details on the events below, including more information on each of these speakers and additional resources regarding their companies.