Akshay Grover is the Group CEO at Cellulant responsible for driving the strategic direction and expansion of the business across Africa.
Cellulant is a leading Pan-African payments technology company that provides locally relevant and alternative payment methods for global, regional and local merchants. Guided by the goal of empowering global and local businesses operating in Africa with the ability to accept and make payments seamlessly, Cellulant is building the continent’s most extensive payment platform with integrations into 250+ banks and 60 MNOs - and growing each day.
Over the last 2 years, Akshay has led the business’s transformation into a merchant-focused payments business championing the productization of its services and a complete revamp of its technology stack, all of which have led to a quantum leap in service levels for customers.
During this time, Cellulant has significantly expanded its footprint from 10 countries to 18+ in Africa resulting in a 100% YoY growth in revenue and key business KPIs.
Prior to Cellulant, Akshay held multiple C-level positions at iSON, a diversified group with a presence in 30+ countries and 25000+ employees in the MEA and Asia Pacific region. During his stint at iSON, he led the restructuring of its technology business, enabled multiple rounds of private equity capital raise for the BPO business and drove the expansion of the group into the Middle East, and North and South Africa regions via acquisitions. He also played a vital role in evangelizing iSON tower – a newly created digital infrastructure platform in the Southeast Asia region.
Prior to ISON, Akshay spent 10+ years in investment banking at Ernst & Young and leading investments at the USD4bn+ TMT investment arm of Dubai Holding. During this tenure, he closed transactions in excess of USD 5bn.
A management graduate with a specialization in Finance from one of India’s premier business schools, Akshay was selected by a leading credit rating agency as the 'CRISIL Young Thought Leader' and was identified amongst the top 15 'Leaders' across the country by the Indian Institute of Management.
He is deeply passionate about being able to contribute to the growth of entrepreneurship in Africa and heads the African chapter of TiE, a global organization with the objective of promoting and supporting entrepreneurship across the globe. Akshay describes himself as spiritual; believing in the law of karma and in the naivety that Good will eventually triumph over Evil.
In his free time – Akshay loves reading, playing lawn tennis and spending time with friends and family.
According to the World Bank “Financial inclusion means that individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs, delivered in a responsible and sustainable way”. Current estimates show about ~55% of Africa’s population is unbanked and ~40% are living in poverty. Fortunately, novel financial technologies and innovative banking systems have begun to revolutionize this dynamic in recent times. This panel will explore three main themes: 1) What does financial inclusion mean in Africa, who exactly has been excluded historically and why is it important to bring them in? 2) What is the responsibility of industry participants to drive financial inclusion and help lift the continent out of poverty? 3) What does the future of Financial Inclusion in Africa look like?