”Payments & FinTech industry is a fascinating industry that continues to grow at such a tremendous pace. Even though many women are working in this industry, there is no African-wide platform created solely to celebrate and recognise women contributing to the industry. No platform offers that special 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 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 problems 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 adequately represented? Why are we getting stuck somewhere in between? What is holding us back? But then we still go back to our local chapters and try to solve global issues instead of talking to each other on a worldwide 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 have a heart-to-heart conversation. At the same time, 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. I missed out on mentorship after years of working in the payments industry. So I thought, why not create the platform myself?
So I started the 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 a Pan- African 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.