”Payments & FinTech industry is a fascinating industry that continues to grow at such a tremendous pace. Even though there are many women working in this industry, there is no African-wide platform created solely to celebrate and recognise women contributing to the industry. There is also no platform that offers that intimate woman-to-woman networking day where women could connect, learn, share and celebrate each other.
We do business cross-border; we shop across continents; we are living in a global village; yet we still have our own little corners where we feel more comfortable in. We are women in the industry, facing the same challenges across the border regardless of which part of the world we are located. The challenges might slightly differ, but they are very similar in so many aspects. We ask ourselves over and over again: where are the women in the top layer of the financial industry? Why are we not fully represented? Why are we getting stuck somewhere in between? What is holding us back? But then we still go back to our own local chapters and try to solve global issues instead of talking to each other on a global level. I want to go down to the root cause and try to figure out why we are so under represented.
I longed to have a platform where women within the industry can freely converse, forget about the level of career they are and just have a heart-to-heart conversation while we figure out how women who have been lucky to get to the top can nurture other talented women starting up or stuck somewhere in between. This is something that I personally missed after years of working in payments industry. So I thought, why not create the platform myself? So I started European Women Payments Network (EWPN) in 2015! In 2016, we concentrated on creating our programmes, building our network and creating our partnerships and in 2017, we fully launched. My connection and love for my home country Kenya and the African continent as a whole, left me with a strong desire to expand and create the same network in Africa. Knowing first hand that women in African countries still lack opportunities when it comes to decision making levels, just like our counterparts globally, gave me more drive to launch an African wide network like we have in Europe. In 2017, African Women in FinTech & Payments (AWFP) was born.
Until we realise that we are stronger together instead of handling the challenges in smaller groups; we shall continue to be under represented. We transact cross-border, let’s converse cross-border as well!”
Martha Mghendi-Fisher brings on board years of experience in merchant acquiring, e-commerce, card-present, processing and payments in general, having worked first for a processor and currently for an acquiring bank.