August 23— Financial technology as an important driver for Africa’s services industry has been highlighted by the introduction of a new degree course being offered by the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa.
Better known as ‘fintech’, this is the segment of business that provides financial services by making use of software and modern technology.
The new degree is a Master of Data Science with a specialisation in financial technology, and will be offered for the first time in January 2018. For several years now, UCT has been consistently ranked as the best university in Africa. The deadline for applications is October 31st, 2017 and other details can be found on the UCT website.
“We are in constant and close contact with the financial services industry and know that it is facing a shifting demand for skills,” Dr Co-Pierre Georg, a senior lecturer at the African Institute of Financial Markets and Risk Management (AIFMRM) at UCT, said early this week.”
Today, fintech companies directly compete with banks in most areas of the financial sector to sell financial services and solutions to customers. Mostly due to regulatory reasons and their internal structures, banks still struggle to keep up with fintech start-ups in terms of innovation speed.
Dr. Georg said, “In the past, companies were mainly looking for advanced mathematical and modelling skills. There still is demand for these skills, but by far the largest demand now is from students who have a thorough understanding of finance, combined with a mastery of modern data analytics and software development skills. Our students will be able to develop these skills in the two most exciting areas of fintech: machine learning and block-chain technologies.”
According to Disrupt-Africa, a research and technology consultancy, more than 300 fintech start-ups are active across the African continent, disrupting the financial services landscape with innovative solutions that are attracting the attention of banks and investors. Since the fintech start-up boom began in earnest in 2015, the research finds the continent’s fintech start-ups have secured $92,679,000 in investment.