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2020: A Breakout Year for Fintech in Emerging Markets?

Will 2020 be the year of emerging markets fintech? From major investments in fintechs in Latin America and Africa to the challenger banking “space race” in Singapore, 2020 could turn out to be a breakout year for fintech in many growing economies around the world.

And while attention is deservedly shifting to exciting news in fintech in countries like Mexico, Brazil, and Nigeria, it is also worth considering which regions might have interesting fintech developments which, while flying under the radar now, could end up dominating international fintech headlines by mid-year.

With this in mind, we turn to Europe in general and the Central and Eastern Europe region in specific. Here’s a look at our conversation with Krzysztof Pulkiewicz, founder and CEO of the Belgian-based and “proudly developed in Poland” fintech innovator banqUP. We talked with Pulkiewicz on the latest developments with his company, as well as his outlook on open banking and the differences between business inside and outside the CEE.

This week on we also featured news about American Express and China, looked at the new partnership between Ripple and Thailand’s biggest bank, and reported on a nine-figure investment in a Latin American real estate marketplace.

Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Ziraat Participation Bank, headquartered in Sudan, to deploy the iMAL Islamic core banking system from Path Solutions.
  • Emirates NBD announces completion of the third phase of its core banking systems upgrade.
  • Abu Dhabi Investment Office leads Series A funding round for blockchain-based regtech firm, Securrency.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Netherlands-based payments company PayU acquires majority stake in Indian fintech PaySense, plans to merge company with Indian consumer lender LazyPay.
  • Royal Bank of India announces new rules to enable companies to participate in remote customer onboarding.
  • Two U.K.-based credit unions, Voyager Alliance CU and Retail CU, go live on TCS Bancs, a core banking solution from Indian technology company Tata Consultancy Services.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • IBM partners with Argentina’s Chamber of Fintech to support digital transformation projects in the country’s fintech and banking sector.
  • Central Bank of the Bahamas to launch digital version of its currency.
  • Business Insider calls Mexico “a top neobank market to watch in 2020.”


  • What trade war? China unveils new regulations that make it easier for foreign lenders to access the Chinese market.
  • Horizons Ventures leads Series A+ round for Hong Kong-based financial data and analytics provider MioTech.
  • Lightnet, a Thailand-based blockchain company operating in the remittance market, has raised more than $31 million in new funding.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • fin24 features, The People’s Fund, Isiduli, and a non-profit, blockchain pilot program in its look at four South African fintechs to watch in 2020.
  • Chipper Cash, a U.S.-based fintech that offers no fee, mobile P2P services in six African countries, raises $6 million in funding.
  • Ventureburn lists 10 ways Africa’s fintech sector boomed in 2019.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Qonto, a challenger bank for SMEs launched in France two years ago, announces expansion to Germany.
  • Lithuania’s biggest postal service provider extends cooperation agreement with payment card authorization firm Ashburn International.
  • Insurance software solution provider Sapiens International acquires German-based insurtech firm, sum.cumo.

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

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