Payments, e-Commerce & FinTech on High Agenda at Seamless West Africa 2018

Seamless West Africa 2018 promises to bring together the greatest international innovators from the payments, fintech & e-commerce industries for 2 days of keynote presentations and roundtable discussions.

The payments, banking, and financial sectors are currently at the height of change, defined by innovation and development in technology and regulation.

As consumers, businesses and governments adapt to a digital world, the desire for tech-enabled solutions that improve traditional transaction methods and financial services is growing rapidly.

West Africa, in particular, is ripe for disruption with it being home to one of the 3 fastest growing economies in Africa. With a massive unbanked population, West Africa offers an abundance of lucrative opportunities.

Seamless West Africa is a multi-brand event, with 500+ attendees and a world leading the strategic conference. The event will welcome market-leading industry players from central banks, commercial banks, insurance, e-tailers, telcos, merchants, government, fintechs, and tech startups, all looking to procure and collaborate with the latest tech and services on the market.

The conference is a C-level platform that will focus on global trends and disruptors, how market players can capitalize on the opportunities and best respond to the threats. Addressing the big issues from fintech disruption to financial inclusion, blockchain, and regtech, we will host over 70+ world-class thought leaders and welcome hundreds of conference attendees.

With keynote addresses, interviews, roundtables, panels, pre-event workshops and track sessions that focus on challenges and opportunities within the industry, the content has been designed to educate, inspire and empower commerce leaders to improve their innovative strategies and integration – effectively cultivating their bottom line.  

With a thought-provoking, dynamic agenda and a wide variety of engaging and forward-thinking topics, this globally attended event promises to push the boundaries. This is made evident with the first ever regional Central Bank Panel which discusses the importance of creating partnerships that safeguard financial stability while working with disruptors and promoting the adoption of fintech innovation.

Combining our history and our passion for innovation, we are committed to bringing you the most exciting event for this brave new world of commerce and build essential connections to drive businesses forward in 2018 and beyond.

We look forward to welcoming you to Seamless West Africa, Ghana.

Amazon is building data centers in South Africa. Photo – AP – Michel Spingler

Amazon To Build New Data Centers In Cape Town, South Africa

Amazon plans to build new data centers in Cape Town, South Africa to speed up cloud services and reducing costs for Amazon’s local corporate clients.

U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon has announced plans to construct new data centers in South Africa, establishing the company’s first infrastructure region in Africa.

The data centers will be launched in the country at the start of 2020, speeding up cloud services and reducing costs for Amazon’s local corporate clients, according to BusinessInsider.

The data centers, which are essentially large, highly-secure server and data-hardware warehouses, will be used to store large amounts of data while enabling African businesses to leverage advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things and mobile services to empower their own innovation.

Set to be constructed in Cape Town, the data centers will consist of three “availability zones”, according to Businesstech. Amazon have come under fire in the U.S. for replacing many jobs with automated solutions, such as in their 3,000 AmazonGo locations that will be cashier-less.

While much of infrastructure in the centers will be automated, in line with Amazon’s typical data center strategy, jobs will likely be created for those running the complex operation and maintaining important elements such as security.

Amazon Web Services, the cloud division of Amazon, already built data servers in Cape Town and Johannesburg earlier this year, following the launch of its AWS Direct Connect service in the two major cities at the end of 2017, according to Techcentral.

This latest development will make South Africa Amazon’s first infrastructure region in Africa.

Cloud computing technology allows for storing and accessing of data and software over the internet rather than a particular computer hard drive, with applications for Africans spanning across entrepreneurship, education, government and various other fields.

South African companies will be able to benefit from the Direct Connect service by establishing a dedicated network connection to Amazon Web Services. The infrastructure points of presence in Cape Town and Johannesburg, enable the Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Route 53, AWS Shield, and AWS WAF services throughout the continent.


Entrepreneurs chart a new course for African E-Commerce With Jack Ma

African E-Commerce Entrepreneurs from seven different countries selected to participate in the eFounders Initiative with Chinese Billionaire, Jack Ma

For Henry Cobblah, fashion is his business, the internet is his tool, and a Jack Ma-led initiative for budding entrepreneurs is the perfect conduit to help him realize his dream: letting the world see what Africa is truly made of.

I want others to know Africa has no shortage of talents, and I want Africans to tell the Africa story,” said the 27-year-old co-founder and the chief technology officer of, a start-up online marketplace that features fashion products from over 70 African designers.

Cobblah, from Ghana, is one of the 24 Africa-based entrepreneurs participating in the inaugural “eFounders Initiative,” co-spearheaded by Alibaba Business School and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The two-week intensive course, which takes place at Alibaba’s global headquarters in Hangzhou, offers capacity-building on all things e-commerce, from inventory management and rural commerce to logistics and mobile payment systems, as well as how to use data to best capture consumer preferences.

As part of his commitment as the UNCTAD Special Adviser for Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Alibaba’s Executive Chairman, Ma has pledged to help empower 1,000 entrepreneurs in developing nations over the next five years.

During his Africa trip in July, Ma announced as part of his pledge, 200 of the continent’s young e-commerce pioneers would be invited to visit Hangzhou to learn from China’s experience in building an e-commerce ecosystem.

The program includes on-site visits to China’s wholesale hub in Yiwu and Cainao’s logistic campus. Participants also had the rare opportunity to attend this year’s annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival and experienced the excitement when Alibaba notched a record-breaking performance.

To top it off, the participants had a private meeting with Ma and a series of senior executives who lead the company’s key businesses.

Entrepreneurs from Africa tour Hema Supermarket to see how technology and data can be leveraged to merge online and offline shopping.

Hailing from seven different African countries, the two dozen participants were selected from over 700 applicants via a rigorous application process.

All participants are current pioneers in their respective fields, varying from mobile payment, big data, retail, logistics, and others. Many of them are already the forerunners of e-commerce in their country.

Cobblah’s passion for showcasing Africa’s rapidly growing commerce sector on a global level and helping his fellow entrepreneurs to “push ourselves up to a higher standard” is precisely why Alibaba is undertaking this effort.

The goal of the initiative is to empower the African entrepreneurs by sharing our story and the new economy story of China,” said Brian A. Wong, vice president of Alibaba Group who heads the Global Initiatives program.

By coming to Hangzhou, these young entrepreneurs can see firsthand the impact of e-commerce on people’s daily lives in China and pick and choose what they think they can use and apply in their own countries.

These participants are identified as “future architects of the New Economy” who will become game changers, educators, enablers and opinion leaders as they promote the digital transformation of their economies through the creation and adoption of e-commerce.

Such a mandate is in line with the Alibaba’s mission of helping small businesses around the world to be self-sufficient and self-reliant in expanding capabilities and become part of the mainstream economy through the power of e-commerce and the latest technology.

Alibaba’s global strategy is not to globalize Alibaba’s business,” said Ma in a lecture to the participants. “Our wish is to globalize e-commerce, making sure every country joins forces in building up the infrastructure.

WATCH: Shaping Champions for the New Economy