“The essence of technology is to make our lives better,” Dr. Patrick Saidu Conteh, the CEO of Africa Fintech Network, tells CoinGeek Backstage reporter Claire Celdran on the sidelines of the Digital Pilipinas Festival 2023.

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In their CoinGeek Backstage interview, Dr. Conteh remarked that technology cuts across boundaries and shared his insights about the festival and how he sees the Philippines adapting to emerging technologies.

“The beauty about technology is that it cuts across boundaries,” he said, noting that what technology does for everyone is “change the way we access finance” as well as give digital services not accessible to many before.

“The technology is here, and the technology that we have seen over the last 10 to 15 years is redefining how we live, how we conduct ourselves on a day-to-day basis,” Dr. Conteh said.

Dr. Conteh says that Africa embraces technologies like Web3, AI, and blockchain: “Generally, in Africa, we’re open to it. But like all other jurisdictions, these technologies have benefits, have opportunities, [and] they have risks as well.”

In Africa, blockchain continues to make an impact on the day-to-day lives of millions of marginalized and underbanked residents. A Chainalysis study in September 2023 saw African countries like Nigeria adopt digital currencies to protect themselves against inflation. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently lifted its ban on digital currency transactions.

Dr. Conteh believes that Africa, the Philippines, and the ASEAN have similar challenges to overcome due to their large population and high illiteracy levels. The CEO of Africa Fintech Network also sees a silver lining in this—he believes these regions have a significant advantage because of their young, intelligent, and tech-savvy population.

Dr. Conteh said his experience at the Digital Pilipinas Festival 2023 was a great eye-opener as he gained valuable insights through the panel discussions. He notes that he will be using this experience as a benchmark for what they need to improve in Africa in terms of how they can use emerging technologies in finance, payments, and even agriculture.

“ASEAN is powerful. ASEAN has talent. ASEAN has opportunities. So too is Africa,” he said.

Watch: Digital identity for digital Philippines—Here are some use cases

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