Tapfuma Musewe, Founder of Afrifursa
Tapfuma is a trade and investment executive who is dedicated to increasing the connectivity between African markets and other regions of the world. Having grown up as Canadian citizen, his passion led him to live in and spend most of his working life in several African countries.
Having lived 11 years in Africa and the rest in Canada, I connect advanced and emerging economies through strategic business development. I am experienced in developing market intelligence in data-scarce environments across various sectors including clean technology, infrastructure, agriculture, mining, oil and gas, and communications technology. As a dedicated leader and skilled consultant, I focus on research and data-driven decisions to provide deep market analysis, expertise, and advice for clients.
WiredUp had a Q & A interview session with Tapfuma Musewe, founder of Afrifursa
Who is Tapfuma Musewe? What is your background?
I am a husband, father, brother, son – I’m very much defined by my closest community, which is my family. As an African Diasporan, I am passionate about seeing Africa take an equitable seat at the global table. While I grew up in Toronto, Canada, most of my working life has been on the continent – mainly in South Africa and Ghana. I’ve worked in various sectors from community development to market intelligence and now in private equity; the consistent thread in all of my work has been my desire to play a role in facilitating integration between African communities and other global communities. I do this because I am a strong believer in shared values and inclusive growth – without African communities growing socio-economically, the rest of the world cannot realise its full potential and vice versa.
When I came back to Canada four (4) years ago, I immediately studied the economic activity between Canada and African markets. I realised very quickly that there were vast synergies that were untapped and decided to start a consultancy to address the gap, called Eschaton Solutions. Through my firm I’ve had the privilege of working with various levels of government here in Canada, and global investors and businesses wanting to work with or in African markets. In the course of my work, I realised that misinformation and underinformation dominate the narratives around Africa; this has been detrimental to African Diasporans and the work of those in an Africa-facing space. I decided I would take on the challenge of changing this narrative so that it reflects the opportunities for exchange with Africa much more accurately and Afrifursa was born.
I launched Afrifursa during the pandemic and shortly after graduating from a Global Executive MBA at the Rotman School of Management. I felt the timing was right and with the focus on the right sectors for engagement, we really could generate impactful conversations. I am also a Managing Director of a private equity firm, Raygan Mills, that invests in growth companies across the continent. Working in the investment space brought me closer to financial services and fintech in Africa, which made it clear that this is an industry Afrifursa needed to focus on. As this demonstrates, most of what I work on is very synergistic, which has helped me grow my impact at various levels and has created a virtuous cycle where each activity feeds another.
Tell us about the Afrifursa Fintech Summit 2021?
The Afrifursa Fintech Summit or #Afrifin2021 is a platform that my team and I have created, to facilitate Canadian and African fintech integration. We are taking an ecosystem approach, because we want to create as much of a holistic community around this initiative as possible. For that reason, Afrifin will bring expert economists, investors, media personalities, educators and of course, fintech entrepreneurs together, to identify synergies between Canadian and various African fintech ecosystems. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in thought-provoking conversations, network with other global stakeholders and connect with amazing organisations through their exhibition booths. We will also be providing an exciting giveaway to attendees from one of our event partners, Fintech Cadence, which is Canada’s fintech hub – your readers are invited to register for the event to find out more!
You stated in the press release, “The fintech industry has grown astronomically under the pandemic and global partnerships are going to be key in realising the industry’s full potential. Collaboration between Canadian and African fintech stakeholders is still largely untapped, so we are offering the Afrifursa Fintech Summit in order to reduce the barriers and forge direct linkages.” Explain how the offering process will work in the Afrifursa Fintech Summit in order to reduce the barriers and forge direct linkages in Africa?
We have chosen a very robust event platform, called Pheedloop, that is all about facilitating connections between event attendees. It allows attendees to build a profile, to set up a personal agenda for the summit and reach out directly to other attendees. It also provides organisations with an opportunity to share the type of material they would typically like to get in front of a physical audience during an in-person event and even get on spontaneous virtual calls with visitors at their exhibition booth. The technology will go a long way in reducing the barriers to connecting between global attendees in this new normal. We are also very intentional in our programming to ensure audience engagement. We have expert speakers representing both asymmetric regions and moderators, who will be very intentional about highlighting the synergies.
The whole summit will be focused on identifying areas of alignment between African and Canadian fintech stakeholders, so that we can present tangible ways forward to our attendees. For some this will be helping them build a distributed workforce, for others it will be connecting with potential investors; it may be creating a channel for the sharing of best practices or connecting with an incubator that can support entrepreneurship.
We also encourage attendees to come ready to share their thoughts and questions, and come ready to network. We recognise that for many, they will be learning about a new geography and how the fintech ecosystem functions there, so we expect people to be curious. We anticipate that there will be strong person-to-person connections formed, but that there will also be strong business-to-business and business-to-government connections formed. We have carefully curated the organisations involved in a way that presents an opportunity for them to add value to one another. The organisations that we also have represented as attendees who have registered so far, are also very impressive and will come with their own objectives for connecting with stin that they may not have previously had an opportunity to learn about or connect with.
How will the Afrifursa Fintech Summit 2021 connect the African and Canadian Fintech Ecosystems and offer value to build the economic value within this field across Africa?
Apart from the unique objectives of participating organisations, Afrifursa has its own objectives for Afrifin. We are breaking new ground and in order for us to make a lasting impact, we are very intentional about allowing a process to unfold that cannot be rushed. It would be fantastic to come away from the summit and say that there were “x” amount of deals closed at the summit; however, we are really at an “awareness” phase in the process. As we are able to create significant traction through this phase, we can then pursue the following phases which build on top of it. What I can say is that by bringing ecosystems to the table, we are setting up an environment that will have the right support to create meaningful economic value in the Canada-Africa fintech space sooner rather than later. This is an industry that is growing exponentially and we aim to keep pace.
When and where will the Afrifursa Fintech Summit be held? How can people register to attend?
We have tried to accommodate time zones in these two (2) regions, although for some it will be early and for others it will be late. It will also be conducted in English, but we have multilingual speakers on every panel, so comments and questions in other languages are welcome – we will do our best to accommodate everyone who shows up. Hope to see you there!