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FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS

StanChart sets aside Sh10 billion for innovation

The eXellerator lab, the first in Africa, adds to the bank’s other fintech hubs.

In Summary

• The eXellerator lab will provide fintechs in Kenya and across Africa an environment to develop their products for market use

• Kenya is the first African country to establish an eXellerator lab 

Standard Chartered.
Standard Chartered.
Image: MONICAH MWANGI

Standard Chartered Bank has launched its Africa eXellerator lab aimed at providing financial solutions by collaborating with fintechs in the country.

Through the lender’s innovation, ventures and investment units, small firms in Kenya and across the African region will be provided with appropriate tools and business environment to develop their products for market use.

“As banks, we know we missed some steps and we want to bridge those gaps through innovation. Some innovators have good ideas but lack market access,” SC Ventures chief executive for Africa Kennedy Mubita said.

The bank has set aside Sh10.06 billion ($100 million ) to focus on developing solutions in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and digital banking to meet clients’ needs.

“We are a connector bank, connecting clients, markets and products with networks and facilitating trade and investment across our global footprint across some of the fastest growing markets,” Standard Chartered Kenya chief executive Kariuki Ngari said.

The eXellerator lab, the first in Africa, adds to the bank’s other fintech hubs located in Singapore, Hong Kong, London, and San Francisco.

“Kenya is the ideal location for this business venture because of the country’s increased uptake of mobile phones,” Mubita said.

Data by the Central Bank and Financial Sector Deepening Kenya shows overall access to financial services and products improved to 82.9 per cent in 2019.