Successful Women in IT&C Gala – May 26, 2016


Mrs. Sorina Bera, CEO Allevo, was awarded for her professional activity in the IT field by the Financial Market Magazine within the “Successful Women in IT&C Gala”.

The Gala awards the performance of the women with executive positions in the industry of IT&C, with outstanding results. The event, organized by Finmedia, took place at Ramada North Hotel from Bucharest and it brought together representatives from the highest executive level of the IT&C companies.

It is extremely difficult to focus on FinTech when SWIFT organizes its largest event for the African market in Mauritius. SWIFT chose an amazing venue and attracted around 500 participants from 40 countries.

But it’s only fair to start with the obvious and  state that Mauritius is beautiful and it makes  going to the conference exhibition and sessions a lot less attractive. However, I successfully survived the temptations all  around.

The highlight of the conference was the  Innotribe Startup Challenge. It had a huge  success in its second year focusing on the  African FinTech ecosystem. It attracted about  90 applications, most of the companies coming from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. It is interesting to see the evolution of problems these companies have been addressing over the last couple of years. Initially, FinTech startups focused a lot on online payments, mobile wallets, financial education and gamification, personal financial management solutions and a couple of other. The main focus of the companies that applied for the 2016 African competition was around areas like payments, new banks, big data, lending, settlement, e-commerce and cross-selling, compliance, messaging.

9 great companies pitched on stage for 6 minutes sharp, explaining what they do and the top three won a USD 10,000 USD prize and have been invited to Sibos Geneva to showcase their offering to the 9000+ Sibos audience.


Hello Paisa from South Africa is a low cost international money transfer solution for remittances.

The Sun Exchange from South Africa as well is a peer-to-peer lending platform for investors to fund solar energy projects across the globe.

WeCashUp from Cameroon has created a cross border mobile money platform, enabling users to make secure payments via their mobile phones all across Africa.

The theme of this year’s SWIFT ARC was “Facing Global Challenges” and there was a great focus on compliance, financial inclusion and the role of disruptive new technologies.

An interesting figure released at the event is that SWIFT’s messaging traffic grows by 12.5 percent in Africa. Africa remains the fastest growing region for payments traffic, showing good economic growth in the region. Still, to quote Ike Williams from Heritage Bank, there is only so much that banks are currently doing in many countries over the African continent. They usually serve urban areas and stop at these boundaries, not being able to reach rural areas where money is needed. Even MPESA fails to address the problem of cash, which is still king, as people often cash out the money received in their wallets.

Bottom line is that countries in Africa are a very interesting playground for both banks and technology providers with a sense of creativity and many surprises are expected to emerge from this restless environment. The Innotribe Startup Challenge is there to look for novel FinTech products and services and select the best to bring them in front of the banking community and make the link between them, to better serve people who benefit of their offerings.

One very interesting event where we were invited to speak was Retail Banking. It was more like a debate than a classic conference with long presentations. The event was organized by FinMedia and Allevo was one of the partners together with BCR, Samsung, Telekom, EY and Keba Automation.

Banks, IT&, technology and telecommunication companies gathered to talk among others about the economic situation and the influence in the banking system, strategies and trends on the retail banking, the development of the electronic payments under the pressure of the new European directives, banking products in the era of multi-channel marketing, new partnerships between banks, IT&C companies and retailers, the future of banking cards, new consumer mindset & behavioral trends.

Our CEO, Sorina Bera was invited to speak in the second panel about how can corporate customers comply with the EU Regulation No.260/2012. She mentioned that it is very important for banks to take into consideration this regulation and the October 31 deadline for implementing it.

Allevo makes a management changes as of March 1st 2016, by naming Mrs Sorina Bera as CEO, thus replacing Ms Corina Mihalache. Sorina joined the Allevo team beginning of 2003, has coordinated the services team as of 2006 and became one of the designated Administrators of the company 3.5 years ago.

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