Financial Stakeholders Emphasise on Financial Inclusion at Nigeria Fintech Week

It was a gathering of regulators, innovators, disrupters and operators, at the 4th Nigeria Fintech Week, held at the Landmark Event Centre, VI., Lagos on Tuesday, October 29, 2019.

The 2-day National Fintech Conference, which is part of the week’s activities, saw the coming together, of stakeholders, in the fintech ecosystem.

These stakeholders included financial regulators, Bank CEOs, fintech associations, fintech start-ups and other financial institutions, as well as fintech enthusiasts.

The week-long event, with the theme; “Surviving With Fintech Innovation. What Are The Sustaining Factors?”, is aimed at discussing the opportunities and challenges, of fintech and how businesses and government can, sustainably, benefit from fintech.

Cross section of guests and participants

Delivering his welcome address, Dr. Segun Aina, President, Fintech Association of Nigeria, gave a background of, how the fintech conference grew, into a week-long event.

He stated that, the Nigerian fintech gathering, started as, a one-day National Fintech Conference, in 2017, but the response from stakeholders, had demanded that, the platform be metamorphosed, into the Nigeria Fintech Week, with the 2-day National Conference, being a prominent part of the week.

“Significant milestones have been recorded, for the Nigerian and African economies and the fintech ecosystem, specifically, as the Fintech Association was created, during the d 1st National Fintech Conference”, Segun stated.

“With the quality, diversity and comprehensiveness, of the Nigeria Fintech Week, this annual event, has obviously, received an overwhelming market acceptance and endorsement, as the main fintech and digital stakeholder platform”, he emphasised.

“We, therefore, expect all stakeholders, to use the Nigeria Fintech Week, as the main, annual platform, to showcase Nigeria’s creativity and remarkable exploits, in value-enhancing fintech products and services”, Segun concluded.

Giving the keynote address, Patrick Akinwuntan, CEO, Ecobank Nigeria, acknowledged that, there is significant growth, in the fintech ecosystem, over the years and it has attracted an increased level of funding.

Financial inclusion - cfamedia

official launch of the Fintech Adoption Roadmap Policy for Nigeria

“When we talk of fintech, we talk of financial institutions, bringing every Nigerian, into the financial system, so that, they can participate, actively and create value, in the financial ecosystem”, Patrick stressed.

“The latest figures, indicates that, we are in the range of 62-63%, of financial inclusion and we have made significant progress, in the last two years, primarily, from the determined efforts, of the CBN and the participation of banks, fintechs, financial service providers and organisations like, Fintech Nigeria that is, doing significant advocacy, to ensure its actualisation”, he opined.

He mentioned that the most pervasive gadget to reach out to an average Nigerian is a mobile phone and the discussion is on how the Nigerian population can all be financially included using the mobile phone.

Patrick, also, stated that, there is a need, out there and people want to participate, in financial transactions, in an orderly, safe, reliable, easy to use and sustainable manner.

“What do we do here, in Nigeria? The most pervasive is, the mobile phone and the discussion has been around the use of USSD. It is possible for us, collaborating, to offer every Nigerian, zero cost, for using short codes, to do financial services”, he declared.

According to Patrick, Ecobank has taken a decision, to put a zero charge, on the use of its USSD platform, going forward. This is to increase the narrative on the issue of financial inclusion.

He, also, reiterated that, the best way, to ensure that, both banking and telco services, gets to every Nigerian is, to make the USSD financial service short code free, for everybody.

Speaking at the Fintech Conference, also, Aishah Ahmad, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria, stressed the importance of, having a collaboration, in the fintech space that will ensure, a platform for dialogue.

According to her, platforms like this, give policymakers, traditional banks, payment service companies and all the new payment companies, an opportunity, to have dialogue that will open new and diverse perspectives, on driving the financial inclusion narrative.

“The Central Bank has been, at the forefront, of some innovations, which has enabled the payment space to thrive and also, ease of merchant acquiring. The CBN has ensured guidelines and licenses around, electronic payment and agency banking”, Aishah concluded, on how financial regulators would foster financial inclusion dialogue.

The Conference, also, saw the official launch, of the Fintech Adoption Roadmap Policy for Nigeria, by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria.

Featured Image: Dr. Segun Aina, President, Fintech Association of Nigeria

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