Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


Eyeing pan-African prize, Ecobank gives fintechs a sandbox

Article Image
Pan-African banking giant Ecobank took its African Banking Sandbox live, in a significant move which will open up the bank's services to collaboration from fintechs.

Fintechs can now access Ecobank's API (application programming interface) and use it to devise better mobile money, card payment and merchant terminal applications, interfacing with Ecobank accounts.

Partnerships between banks and fintechs have expanded globally, and can benefit each side.

Digital ambitions: Ecobank – this is a branch in Dakar, Senegal – is taking pan-African ambitions to the digital space with its fintech sandbox.  (Source: Serigne Diagne on Flickr CC 2.0)
Digital ambitions: Ecobank – this is a branch in Dakar, Senegal – is taking pan-African ambitions to the digital space with its fintech sandbox.
(Source: Serigne Diagne on Flickr CC 2.0)

They follow on from "Open Banking," a worldwide phenomenon where banks and other financial services providers open up their accounts and data for trusted other third parties.

Banks offer regulation-compliant accounts, and a body of customers. Fintechs, for their part, can contribute attractive new features and a fast pace of technological innovation, not something for which banks are typically known.

They can also access users' accounts, if users give them permission, through the banks' APIs.

Fintech for the masses
Ecobank has 20 million consumers across 33 African countries.

It is one of several banking groups aiming to establish a pan-African foothold.

They include Morocco's Attijariwafa with its chief base in the Francophone north and west, and South African rivals like Standard Bank, attempting to claw up from the southern tip.

Technology has played a large role in each bank's attempts to operate on a continental scale, and deliver services in places where they may not have physical branches.

Kenyan banks in particular have used their IT advantage in mobile banking to push their footprint out through east Africa.

And the Togo-headquartered Ecobank has largely kept up with rivals.

It has connected 34 African countries in a common cash management system, which helps the bank automate tasks more efficiently across the countries where it operates.

It also won an award for innovation in financial services in late August's African Banker magazine awards.

Ecobank has the highest geographical coverage currently, while Standard Bank is the largest group by assets.

Ecobank Group has a banking licence in France, while its parent, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, is listed on the Lagos, Accra, and Abidjan stock exchanges.

Related posts:

— Padraig Belton, contributing editor, special to Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Orange Ventures, Digital Africa promise more funding for startups

Orange Ventures and Digital Africa are teaming up to invest more in tech startups in Africa and the Middle East through Digital Africa's Fuzé program and the Orange Digital Center network.


Hot startup of the month: Rwanda's Ampersand

Connecting Africa's hot startup this month is Rwanda's Ampersand, which designs, builds, and manufactures electric motorcycles and battery packs for motorcycle taxis.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Follow us on X

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: April 2024

By Omdia Analysts

April 2024's telecoms highlights in the Middle East and Africa included a license for Starlink in Ghana, new mobile termination rates in Ethiopia, and 6G trials in Bahrain – that and more in the latest Omdia View.


Leveraging agritech to build resilience against climate change

By Francis Hook

ICT analyst Francis Hook discusses agritech in Africa and how the agricultural sector is using technology to build resilience against the negative effects of climate change and to ensure food security.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id test-002