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Virtual Research Fellowship to work on African Knowledges of FinTech


Dr. Scott Timcke is among the cohort of African scholars holding a virtual research fellowship with Leeds University Centre for African Studies / Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute. Scott is a Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Social Change. Awards like the virtual research fellowship can strengthen ties between the University of Leeds and the Centre for Social Change to help the wider public to think about alternative futures.

Scott will be working with Chris Paterson (School of Media and Communication) and Jörg Wiegratz (CGD) to further critical scholarship on how African knowledges like neocolonialism aid in the analysis of contemporary FinTech in Africa.

Leveraging their respective strengths in media and political economy, Scott, Chris and Jorg will assess the political character of FinTech platforms that undertake credit extending and reporting in Kenya and South Africa. One key question that will be explored is whether in their current configuration FinTech designed abroad may subtly perpetuate neocolonialism. Given the value in fair financial services, the main outputs can help regulators and firms ensure they do not inadvertently replicate errors of the recent past.

“It has been a pleasure to meet regularly with faculty like Chris and Jörg,” Scott says. “In addition to receiving quick and timely feedback to iterate my project, I’ve found the Leeds University Centre for African Studies to host excellent speaker series, events and otherwise maintain a community in these trying times. Furthermore, the welcoming climate helps signal that there is value in undertaking critical projects on matters of urgent public concern. It has been a wonderful experience that I would highly recommend for other scholars on the continent.”