Aneth: Bespoke regulations for tech may be the solution for local innovators


Dar es Salaam. For women in the technology space, the representation dwindles as you climb higher up the ladder. The general pool of thought is often that one is either building hardware or coding and scientifically, these left-brained tasks are often seen as male-centred.

Where technology is concerned, we can no longer afford to look at it as simply building and coding. Technology has taken on a life of its own and has created so many avenues for people of all walks to tap into.

Women are now afforded better chances of growth and success in technology because of how multi-faceted this industry has become. With entry points ranging from education, law, retail, logistics and so much more, the doors into technology keep revolving and evolving into wider spectra.

As such, it was no wonder that when technology found Ms Aneth Kasebele, her skillsets and expertise proved to be the perfect fit for that particular door.

An economist by qualification and now a policy specialist at the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Aneth’s journey into technology, particularly in fintech, has taken her across borders.

Straight out of university, Aneth began work in economic consulting with boutique consulting firms that were looking to support different clients in both the private and public sector, essentially looking at economic estimations of different cases such as anti-competitive behaviours in the market and trying to estimate damages around that.

“Given the nature of the business, this was the kind of work that thrived in countries where you have a better-developed legal system because it involved a lot of litigation cases,” she shares.

This was in the United States and for about two to three years, Aneth did this before deciding to move back home to Tanzania where she joined Deloitte Consulting.

For the three to four years she spent at Deloitte, she focused on strategy and operations, serving different types of clients from different industries – finance, telcos, health, etc. Aneth then decided to go back to the US for her two-year masters programme at Harvard University in Massachusetts.

After her master’s programme, she hit a pivotal moment which led to where she is today when she joined a boutique consulting firm that focuses on inclusive finance in developing markets. The company, formerly known as Bankable Frontiers Associates, which evolved to BFA Global was in Boston where she stayed for a year after which she moved with the same company to Nairobi.

“I was with them for about three years and covered a number of countries within the continent, supporting them on either policy design, policy evaluation and reviewing regulatory documents among others,” she says.

“I then moved to UNCDF and was in Rwanda for about two years, then moved to Tanzania in 2021. I continued to do much of the policy work, but also touched on other aspects of UNCDF work.”

Aneth Kasebele speaks at a PesaTech Accelerator event.

UNCDF is a technical agency with people who offer a range of technical skills and works to promote local economic development and financial inclusion, and enhancing local government alternative sources of funds to finance local infrastructure.

“We have three main ways of operating in markets. These are the inclusive digital economies, which is where I sit. Then we have the local transformative finance team that focuses on local financing. The last is the local, least developed countries investment platform through which we offer our financial instruments,” she explains.

“We have a global strategy that supports countries as they transition to digital economies, or as they embark on digital transformation.”

“We look at policy and regulation in terms of ensuring that they are enabling different market players to participate fairly and equally. We also support infrastructure development, particularly payment infrastructure, because we believe that if you transition to the digital economy, you need to have digital payments and we have zoned into payment infrastructure,” she explains.

At BFA Global, she worked on a project that supported financial authorities such as central banks and regulators of the financial sector in different countries to help them accelerate the adoption of technology in how they supervise and regulate the ecosystem.

“We were looking to build a data stack for how they extract information for supervision and for me, managing that project was an interesting learning moment because it exposed me to a lot of technological terms. I began to understand the potential and power that technology has to change things,” she shares.

This project was called Regtech for regulator accelerator and once implemented, it meant cost saving came out of it, improved accuracy of the works delivered, and people began to find meaning and usefulness in their work once the tedious tasks were removed.

“Regtech, a play on words, was coined to refer to technology for regulations. The structuring meant we brought in innovators such as programmers, data scientists and more, then helped them navigate the central banking system to help build a prototype and eventually, build a full solution of a product, follow-up on how that changes things before they could scale it,” says Aneth.

“I continue to do such, even at UNCDF. At the moment, I’ve been leading some projects in Malawi, Ethiopia and in the Pacific, where they are looking to adopt technology solutions from the regulator side.

Due to how highly-regulated the financial sector is, fintechs need very tailored support compared to what they can access from a number of hubs and accelerators that are already in the market.

“We partnered with Sahara Ventures, which came with a consortium of other partners that they had in the background who provide different types of services, and created an accelerator called PesaTech,” Aneth Shares.

It is designed to support early-stage companies that already have a minimum viable product, or are already in the market with some revenue tractions and are taken through an investor-ready programme.


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