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YDFS CEO Usoro Usoro, Flutterwave’s Gbenga Agboola, others discuss Fintech Innovation, Inclusion

“There is a strong role that regulation plays and will to a large extent determine how this space will evolve, whether it succeeds or fails…” – Usoro Usoro

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Usoro Usoro at BBC Insder webinar
BBC Insider webinar

Usoro Usoro, the chief executive officer, Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS), says Fintech is creating equality by bringing financial services to the last mile, through multi-channel approaches.

Usoro shared this perspective during a panel discussion at the BBC Insider Webinar Series to discuss “Fintech – Innovation & Inclusion”.

Usoro, a well-decorated Fintech strategist, who led MTN’s Mobile Money and Mobile Financial Services Units for many years, before joining YDFS as Chief Executive Officer, says that if Fintech is to succeed, regulators and legislators have a part to play in making processes easier for Fintechs in the start-up stage.

According to him “There is a strong role that regulation plays and will to a large extent determine how this space will evolve, whether it succeeds or fails. Access to licenses, creating an enabling playing field for all players, and the clarity of policies across Africa is required.”

Other members of the panel were the CEO/Founder, Flutterwave, Gbenga Agboola, Division Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard Advisors, Bola Ashiru, and Managing Executive, Transactional Banking, Absa Corporate and Investment Banking, Yasmin Masithela.

The panel discussion was moderated by the renowned presenter Zeinab Badawi.

A game-changer for Africa, Fintech has improved financial inclusion, made financial services more accessible and banking more convenient. It has created jobs, developed innovation and skills whilst diversifying economies.

Speaking on the positive impact of Fintech in society and its benefits, Usoro Usoro said “There is an interesting convergence of Fintech, in the sense that it is commercially attractive for investors and also does a lot of social good. With the kind of services we offer to customers, from the micro-loans which helps SMEs access inventory, to trade, a lot of these services transform the lives of our customers, leading to social impact.”

Apart from the commercial attractiveness of financial technology, Usoro believes Fintech players and platforms are driving social good and if technology is the key to unlocking financial inclusion, innovators are the ones with the power to turn the key.

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Implementing fintech solutions takes a supportive enabling environment as well as innovators working in the trenches.

Bola Asiru commenting on the important role Fintech plays in gender said “Majority of SMEs and micro-businesses are led by women. Unfortunately, they are disproportionately excluded from accessing finance. What Fintech has done is to put the power back in the hands of SMEs particularly women. At Mastercard, we have developed solutions that are focused on enabling and empowering women SMEs as well. This is one sector that has benefitted from Fintechs and will continue to grow as more investments come into that particular segment.”

Flutterwave’s Gbenga Agboola whose company recently partnered with MTN Group to increase mobile money penetration says “Fintech is a very interesting sector because of the ability to transform a niche market and create value for the ecosystem. I do not see Fintechs disrupting banks; I see Fintechs complimenting the banks and the combination of Fintechs and Telco Fintech are the catalyst for growth in Africa.”

Commenting on the regulatory challenges faced by Fintech organisations in addition to the lack of faith in digital payments, Usoro Usoro emphasized the importance of coordinating Fintech regulations at the African level, allaying the fears of consumers and increasing consumer confidence in Fintech offerings.

“Fintechs should be provided with an enabling environment for scalability,” he said.

Usoro Usoro is the Chief Executive Officer of Y’ello Digital Financial Services, the Fintech subsidiary of MTN Nigeria.

Creating opportunities for the unbanked is his major preoccupation and with a super-agent license, a growing agent network, expertise, infrastructure, and an extensive distribution model, YDFS is ensuring that financial services are made accessible for the unbanked and underserved in Nigeria.

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