20 May 2019

Africa: Enhancing Financial Inclusion in Africa Through Technology

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Johannesburg — A NEW partnership has been launched to boost financial inclusion in Africa by utilising modern technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science.

Medina Islamic Finance, an Africa-focused digital Islamic microfinance platform, announced the partnership with United Labs, a New York-based data science venture studio that focuses on social impact in Africa.

Announced at the 44th Annual Meeting of the Islamic Development Bank Group in Marrakesh recently, it follows the realization that a majority of the African population (total population estimated at over 1,3 billion) is impoverished and only more than 20 percent has a bank account.

Through the partnership, Medina Islamic Finance will leverage machine learning and data science to further enhance its microfinance digital banking platform.

United Labs will initially provide Medina Islamic Finance with access to AI technology and automated local language customer support systems that will accelerate Medina's underwriting while improving customer support.

"We are excited to collaborate with United Labs and to bring next-generation technology to Islamic finance customers," said Wagane Diouf, founder and CEO of Medina Islamic Finance.

He added, "Seventy-five percent of the African population live on less than $10 a day and only 24 percent of Africans have a bank account. Medina Islamic Finance aims to address these challenges through innovative and ethical solutions."

Medina Islamic Finance plans to roll out its suite of ethical banking solutions in key targeted African countries in partnership with several established financial institutions later this year.

Its microfinance digital banking platform will support microfinance customers, especially the youth and women, with ethical banking solutions such as interest-free loans, equity-based financing and housing.

Bachir Diagne, Chief Investment Officer and co-founder of United Labs, said Medina Islamic Finance had created a unique ecosystem including mobile network operators and banking and payment infrastructure.

"We are proud to support this inclusive ecosystem with our data science technology solutions and to boost financial inclusion in Africa," Diagne said.

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