Microsoft, SmartStream, Oracle, Backbase, Network International, Zentity, Freshworks and Sybrin joined the foremost virtual edition of the second Annual Finnovex Southern Africa Summit to foster the development of strategies for steering the digital disruption era of the banking and financial services industry of the region with sturdy agility.

The Leading Summit on Financial Services Innovation and Excellence, which was held from July 27 to 28, 2021, on the host’s virtual platform, witnessed the attendance of over 300 C-suite individuals, senior vice presidents, vice presidents, directors and heads of departments from the banking and financial services industry.

The phenomenal and insightful event, which was organized by Exibex, took place virtually as a part of the Finnovex Global Series in its recently concluded seventh edition.

This year’s edition was themed “Adapting Reinvention to a Rapidly Changed World” to reiterate the requirement for banks to build up their digital identity by leveraging technologies to stay relevant in the current digitalization era.

The conference chair, Cornel Dixon, head of Africa at Backbase, highlighted how timely the conversation was in relation to his regional experience and the current digital disruption era.

Backbase is currently a fast-growing financial technology software provider that empowers financial institutions to accelerate their digital transformation and effectively compete in a digital-first world. It was founded in 2003 and privately funded, with headquarters in Amsterdam (HQ Global) and Atlanta (HQ Americas). More than 120 financials around the world have standardized on the Backbase omnichannel banking platform to streamline their digital sales and self-service operations across all digital touchpoints.

Still in alignment with the event theme, Servaas Venter, sales director of financial services at Microsoft, highlighted how we have seen 10 years of digital transformation in the past two years. He also laid emphasis on how new, intelligent and open technologies are transforming the industry via artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things and blockchain technology, among others.

Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, which is grounded in both the world we live in and the future we strive to create. Microsoft currently does business in 170 countries and consists of 144,000 passionate and dedicated employees.

In leveraging AI for the overall future of finance, Roland Brandli, the current strategic product manager at SmartStream Technologies, talked about how to use AI to check data to ensure its quality is correct. He also laid importance on how AI plays an important role in transforming the entire banking and financial services industry.

SmartStream Technologies is a recognized leader in financial transaction management solutions which enables firms to improve operational control, reduce costs, build new revenue streams, mitigate risk and comply accurately with regulations. It also helps its customers through its transformative digital strategies.

The format of the Summit consisted of speaker presentations and panel discussions, among them being the Deep Dive CXO Panel, which was moderated by Karabo Moloko, CEO of Sybrin. They deliberated on how banking and financial institutions are evolving and their adaptation to digital disruption.

Sybrin is one of the most preferred strategic technology partners and has over 25 years of experience in creating business value by applying technology to business problems, with a primary focus being to ensure excellence in customer experience.

In addition to the brilliant contributions made by over 25 eminent speakers present, Hamish Houston, regional president of Southern Africa at Network International, echoed the impact of modern technology in accelerating digital payments within the African context. He also highlighted how every payment needs to be connected and completely seamless.

Milan Malenak, head of delivery in the African region at Zentity, portrayed a true exemplary demonstration of the effectiveness of collaboration between fintech and banking institutions in resolving digital banking challenges by making a duo-presentation with Ravi Moodley, head of product, pricing and channels for Africa at Nedbank, to deliberate on these challenges and map out a revolution.

Zentity is currently one of the leaders in the world of integrated digital channels solutions. Its solutions and products strive to motivate your customers to interact with you frequently and increase the flexibility of your digital channels. With branch offices spread globally across the Czech Republic, the U.S. and Slovakia, Zentity has delivered over 110 active complex digital solutions to more than 40 customers all over the world.

An active member of the Future Focus Panel discussing innovation and the overall financial services system was David Adams, senior vice president of Network International for acceptance and digital solutions. 

Network International has delivered innovative solutions that drive revenue and profitability for its customers for over 20 years. Its philosophy has witnessed growth into the largest acquirer in the United Arab Emirates and the leading enabler of digital commerce in the Middle East and Africa region. 

It provides a robust suite of payment products and services that are on the cutting edge of technology development to more than 80,000 merchant partners and 200 financial institutions across over 50 countries.

Aarti Mohan, director of business development of enterprise resource planning (ERP) at Oracle ECEMEA (Eastern and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa), highlighted how Oracle Enterprise Performance Management would help you outperform with agility, and also make your organization more agile.

Oracle is a cloud technology company that provides organizations around the world with computing infrastructure and software to help them innovate, unlock efficiencies and become more effective. Oracle also created the world’s first and only autonomous database to help organize and secure its customers’ data.

Oracle Cloud’s infrastructure offers higher performance, security and cost savings. It is designed for businesses to move workloads easily from on-premises systems to the cloud, and between cloud and on-premises and other clouds. Oracle Cloud applications provide business leaders with modern applications that help them innovate, attain sustainable growth and become more resilient.

In addition, the Finnovex Awards took place on the sidelines of the first half of the event to recognize and appreciate the effort of over 10 individuals, institutions and service providers within the field of the banking and financial services industry. The awards seek to honor the pioneers and visionaries who have transformed the overall banking and financial services industry.

The Finnovex Awards winners include:

  • Excellence in Mobile Banking — Absa Africa
  • Excellence in Digital Banking — FNB South Africa
  • Excellence in Payments — Network International
  • Excellence in Fintech — Zentity
  • Excellence in Customer Experience Enhancement — Standard Bank, South Africa
  • Outstanding Contribution to Fintech Initiatives — FirstRand Group
  • Finnovator of the Year — Karabo Moloko
  • Finfluencer of the Year — Agrippa Mugwagwa
  • CEO of the Year — James Scott
  • COO of the Year — Munyaradzi Kavhu
  • CDO of the Year — Oswin Zulu
  • CIO of the Year — George Mensah
  • Outstanding Contribution in Digitalization of Banking — Rod Poole
  • Outstanding Contribution in Technology Development — Dr. Bongani Andy Mabaso
  • Outstanding Contribution in Data Analytics of Banking — Dr. Mark Nasila

The Finnovex Global series, which is organized by Exibex, examines the future prospects of the overall financial services industry and how disruptive innovations are reshaping the way they are structured, provisioned and consumed. The Finnovex series of Global Summits highlights thought leadership on cutting-edge issues with long-term implications to the industry. This lays a concrete foundation for multi-stakeholder dialogues that explore the potential of these innovations to transform the overall financial ecosystem, as well as the risks and opportunities that could emerge from shifts in the way financial services are designed, delivered and used in the future.

For more information on the Finnovex Summit editions coming up globally in the Middle East and West African region in 2021, visit

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About Exibex

Exibex is an excellent market leader in producing knowledge-based conferences, managing events and in-depth business consulting. The team provides innovative and engaging networking platforms to create and engage the principal C-level communities of global corporations. The platforms enable acceleration of both individual and organizational performance to benefit global business leaders. Exibex comprehends the challenges organizations face in this volatile and uncertain market and will help your core revenue generation teams by building a complete 360-degree package tailored to your business strategies, goals and needs. 

For more information:

Tolulope Folaranmi | Regional marketing manager — Exibex