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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Voice IT wins 48-hour African Fintech hackathon


An information technology start-up, Voice IT, has emerged winner of Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF) 48-hour ReCode Nigeria hackathon sponsored by Access Bank, reports ITRealms.

The software developers got cracking with access to Access Bank’s Application Programming Interface (API) to build their solutions during the event.

This, ITRealms gathered, was the first time the bank would open its API to external software developers via its PayWithCapture.

The prize for the winning team include N1.5 million cash from Access Bank, 1 year access to IBM Bluemix artificial intelligence platform worth over N10 million, 1 year access to Microsoft BizSpark developer toolkit worth over N6 million plus mentoring from the AFF team.

To win these prizes, Voice IT designed an Android application that helps temporarily or permanently disabled bank customers to carry out transaction with the aid of a natural voice interface with artificial intelligence.

Packaged to address challenges of customer experience and value creation opportunities beyond payment in Africa, the competition received 18 teams and 70 participants who are developers, start-ups and fintechs. The objective was to develop innovation that could help shape the future of banking.

Speaking at the event, Group MD and CEO of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, commended the contestants for their resilience, saying that, “Access Bank is the first Nigerian bank to fully support the hosting of a fintech hackathon. We are committed to giving our customers the best value and to supporting the fintech community in Nigeria”.

AFF spokesperson, Victor Okigbo said the participants were subjected to 48-hour intense burst of ideation and execution with teams of bankers and programmers co-creating working prototypes and experimenting with innovative customer-centric approaches to old challenges.

“The message to investors, analysts and the public is that Nigerian banks can lead financial technology ecosystem to secure future growth while creating real value for stakeholders”, he added.

Okigbo informed that hands-on solutions and APIs from IBM’s Bluemix artificial intelligence platform, Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing infrastructure and Access Bank’s digital financial services platform were available to the teams of ethical hackers.

Entrepreneur-in-Residence for AFF, Olugbenga Agboola, stated that the gesture demonstrated how the bank has shifted its focus to innovation for the benefit of their customers, adding that the “Nigerian financial services can be reshaped by leading the way with technology and creating the next generation solutions”.

Other winners are Paysense and Creative Jar. Paysense studies bank customers’ behaviour based on withdrawal, savings, spending, investments habits and frequency for effective credit scoring, financial solutions streamlining, insights and decision making with segmented data received through artificial intelligence. Creative Jar is a financial assistance that manages money, track expenses and make payments.


Held at Lagos office of Access Bank and new AFF hub on Victoria Island, the hackathon witnessed 18 prototypes with three winners. All 70 participants got affiliate membership of the AFF.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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