Ecobank Group announced the pilot launch of its Pan-African Banking Sandbox on Monday, January 27, 2020. This launching of banking sandbox will allow partners and fintechs across 33 African countries to gain access to its Application Programming Interface (API) to develop innovative financial solutions.
Launching this sandbox, Ecobank wants to express its commitment to working with fintechs across Africa to bring more innovation in Africa’s banking sector.
Ecobank’s Group CEO, Ade Ayeyemi emphasized this move with a statement, “The sandbox is yet another indication that Ecobank firmly believes that digital banking is the future and the future is now. Hence our commitment to lead Africa into the new age of banking.”
Senior Fintech Advisor, Djiba Diallo also added that the sandbox will be an avenue for collaboration between Ecobank and fintechs and could further develop the fintech ecosystem in Africa.
A number of fintechs reportedly pre-selected for the pilot launch. They are Flutterwave (Nigeria), Africa’s Talking (Kenya), Callme2Work (Kenya), and Esicia ltd (Rwanda).
Strangely, the launch has been done with quiet publicity, and with a number of details available on the Ecobank website or its social media handles. However, Flutterwave CEO, Olugbenga Agboola stressed that the company is indeed amongst the fintech platforms chosen for Ecobank’s sandbox.
According to a report on fintechs in Africa by International Monetary Fund (IMF), it is pointed out that platforms such as regulatory or industry sandboxes could be used to close the ever-increasing divide between fast-paced innovation and slow-moving regulations.
Other African countries like Kenya, Mauritius, and Sierra Leone have some form a regulatory sandbox and while Nigeria does not have a regulatory sandbox, last year, Financial Services Innovators announced the launch of an industry sandbox.
if successful, Ecobank’s initiative will cut across the 33 African countries where it has branches and could be a gamechanger for Africa’s financial sector.