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Finovate Global: Ant Financial’s Big Buy; Neobanks Ready for Takeoff

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Ten African subsidiaries of Societe General to benefit from enhanced payment processing capabilities courtesy of new partnership with HPS.
  • South African challenger bank TymeBank moves toward a formal launch in late February.
  • The IMF blog reviews the prospects for fintech innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Fintech Futures interviews Pavel Novak, CEO of Czech Republic-based P2P lender, Zonky.
  • iSignthis acquires Lithuania-based banking software provider, Baltic Banking Services (BBS).
  • Partnership between Yandex.Checkout and Tinkoff Bank supports direct payments to online stores by way of Tinkoff’s app and online banking offering.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Abu Dhabi Commerical Bank (ADCB) goes live with its PFM app, MoneyBuddy, which uses technology from Strands.
  • Dubai-based neobank Xpence prepares for launch.
  • Saudi Arabia banking regulator opens regulatory sandbox to test fintech solutions.

Central and South Asia

  • State Bank of India to help finance digital invoice discounting marketplace, Invoicemart.
  • The Daily Star considers the “promise of fintech” for Bangladesh.
  • Reliance Realty announces plans for a fintech center in Navi Mumbai, India.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • looks at the Mexican government’s efforts to leverage fintechs to help make it easier and less expensive for Mexicans living abroad to send money home.
  • Brazilian SME lender Adianta raises $2.18 million ($8 million reals) in round led by DGF Investimentos.
  • Colombian fintech Open Vector signs memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support development of open banking in South America.


  • Ant Financial to acquire UK currency exchange firm, WorldFirst in $700 million deal.
  • Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) to debut its digital bank, TMRW, in Thailand.
  • Visa announces plans for an innovation center in South Korea.

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