Highlights Africa Money DeFi Summit Mento Labs.jpeg

Mento Labs at Africa Tech Summit and Africa Money & DeFi Summit

February 27th, 2024Behice Uzun

By Behice Uzun

Jambo, Mento friends! Fresh off our journey to the Africa Tech Summit in Nairobi, we're full of inspiration and thrilled to keep building together with the community in Africa. If you're curious about our takeaways from the event, join us for today’s blog because we've got some exciting updates straight from beautiful Nairobi.

The Africa Tech Summit and Africa Money & DeFi Summit events held on February 14 and 15 in Nairobi were a great success this year, with record attendance of 1,700 delegates from over 800 companies. The audience was diverse, ranging from major payment providers to tech solutions, tech enthusiasts, developers, politicians, regulators and journalists. The event's main focus was finding practical solutions to real problems across the continent, with attendees driven by a strong mission to contribute to Africa's tech ecosystem.

Day 1: Opera MiniPay announced a monumental milestone – over 1 million users across Africa!

The conference took place shortly after the MiniPay dollar stablecoin wallet, built on Celo and powered by Mento stable cUSD, achieved the milestone of surpassing 1 million users across Africa. Mento Labs collaborated with teams from Celo, MiniPay, cLabs, Celo Kenya, and Celo Africa DAO at the booth, aiming to introduce Opera MiniPay wallet to users in Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana facing challenges such as high inflation, high cross-border money transfer costs, and difficulties in saving money in their local currencies. The MiniPay wallet will be rolled out to other countries in Africa soon.

On the first day, Mento Labs' CEO Markus Franke, Celo Foundation's Head of DeFi Isha Varshney, and Opera MiniPay's Head of Product Marketing Tosin Onikosi participated in a panel titled: "Onboarding Millions of Users Across Africa,'' moderated by Felix Macharia from Kotani Pay.


After a long day at the booth, participating in the panel, and meeting with prospects, partners and press, we decided to treat our team to a delicious feast at Carnivore restaurant with our booth dream team, celebrating a successful first day of the event with a Valentine's Day dinner. The traffic around the booth and the stimulating and engaging conversations we had with attendees throughout the entire day reinforced our belief that we are building real-world use cases with digital currencies for real people!

Mento Labs team dinner Nairobi
Mento Labs team dinner on Valentine's Day

Day 2: Connecting, collaborating and inspiring

Equipped with our booth kit to soothe our tired legs, Day 2 was about connecting with our ecosystem partners and bridging the gap between investors and innovative founders. We co-hosted a happy hour event themed "Growing Web3 in Africa'' alongside Credit Collective, Celo, cLabs, HaloFi, and Fonbnk. It was an excellent platform to mingle, exchange ideas, and brainstorm plans for the future. During the event, we had the opportunity to meet some of our partners in real life who have integrated Mento stables on their platforms, such as Hurupay and Bingtellar, both payment solutions and wallets based in Africa.


We also participated in the Celo Kenya Codejam event organized by Celo Africa DAO at the Technical University of Kenya. We had the opportunity to spend time with over 100 bright developers who are working on dApps built on Celo and MiniPay, and who were eager to get hands-on experience with Mento's stable cUSD. A big shout out to Celo Africa DAO and Celo Kenya for organizing this jam session. We were truly impressed to see so many talented students learning about Celo blockchain and Mento stables, and actively building for the future of Africa. We left the event feeling enthusiastic about collaborating further with this community and offering our support wherever possible.

Mento Takeaways

A few learnings from the event:

  1. Africa is home for mobile-first Web3 solutions thanks to its youthful population that is digitally savvy, with high mobile phone usage, and the absence of traditional payment railways.
  2. Stablecoins are truly promising in Africa, as a means of storing value as well as cross-border transfers in regions plagued by high inflation.
  3. Both dollar stablecoins and local currencies should coexist on the continent, benefiting not only savers but also borrowers who seek access to credit in local currencies.
  4. The variety of payment solutions and infrastructure should be taken into account when designing Web3 products across the continent. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The Mobile Money market in Africa is highly fragmented, therefore building on open-source Celo infrastructure can benefit new and existing solutions.
  5. There is a wealth of young and talented developers across the continent who are self-educating themselves through the internet and eagerly await support from the ecosystem to create value for their home countries. So, it's imperative for us to have a stronger presence on the ground and provide them with the necessary support.

What's next for Mento?

Following this intense conference in Africa, Mento will be hitting the ground running, engaging with wallets, stablecoin and local currency issuers, on and off-ramp providers across the continent, as well as developers in need of support. You can expect to see us at numerous African events in the near future. A heartfelt thanks to all of our ecosystem partners for their incredible collaboration.

p.s. As the author of this blog post is a woman, I also want to express my gratitude for being surrounded by incredibly creative, fun, and inspirational women throughout the entire event. It was truly life-changing in many ways. A big Mento heart to all. 🩵

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