By Anthony Nwachukwu
Ecobank Group, partnering the African Media Agency (AMA) Academy, has announced a maiden five-module fintech training for African journalists in the field of business, finance and technology.
The training modules, aimed to equip journalists with the skills to compete favourably with peers across the globe, will be available in English and French languages, and are part of Ecobank Group’s quest to develop and support fintechs to transform digital finance and banking in the continent.
In a statement, AMA said the five-module curriculum will be taught online by industry experts on topics including history of financial services in Africa, its transformation, blockchain, AI in fintech and open banking, as well as security, regulation, governance, inclusion and future trends of the fintech market in Africa.
The partnership aims to provide a deeper knowledge and understanding around the fastest-growing industry on the continent and to improve quality of reporting, with more impact on public awareness, while an award awaits top participants at the end of the training.
Commending the Ecobank Group as pacesetter in fintech transformation and progression in Africa, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of AMA Academy, Eloine Barry, said the academy “is equally committed to enhancing the skills of journalists by creating access to experts and training.
“Journalists are often faced with several beats to cover, and our aim is to help support the quality and effectiveness of their reporting.”
The statement credited Africa with 45.6 per cent of global mobile money activity, a phenomenon it attributed to the rapid growth in access to the Internet and smartphone devices, and further accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Citing tech industry researchers, it stated that fintech companies received 60 per cent of the over $4 billion investments in the tech industry in 2021, surpassing total investments into the broader tech start-up ecosystem in previous years.
It further estimated that six million young Africans gain access to the Internet every year, which delivers ripe growth prospects in budding fintech sectors like agriculture, insurance, healthcare, clean energy and education, apart from such relatively unexplored areas as crowdfunding, blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and augmented reality.
However, Barry lamented that “in the midst of all the positivity around growth in the African fintech industry, there is a deficiency and imbalance in how this story is told and understood. The narrative today is driven by international media sources.
“We lack a strong home-grown narrative with in-depth analysis of what is really taking place in Africa, by Africans.
“This course will give journalists the confidence, skills and understanding required to become as relevant and competitive as journalists operating within the same space globally.”
Similarly, Senior Fintech Advisor at Ecobank Group, Djiba Diallo, noted that the continent has seen the rise of “challenger markets” outside the traditional strongholds of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa to include Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda, among others.
“These are countries in which Ecobank is present and where the fintech media training course will have a real impact,” he added. “As a pan-African banking group, we are committed to growing local fintech solutions, many of which have the potential to become global solutions, and to empowering our local media partners.”
Participants who take the full training modules stand the chance of being awarded the top Anglophone and Francophone fintech journalist at a ceremony following the training. Journalists based in Africa covering business, finance and technology should visit https://amacademy.io/ecobank to register for the fintech masterclass.