In order to promote and achieve the targets of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS), Financial Services Innovators (FSI), a non-profit organisation committed to enabling startups within the technology and financial space, will hold a Hackathon.
Themed: ‘Financial Inclusion for All’ the Hackathon is in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Flourish Ventures, AXA Mansard, as well as NIBSS and will be held during the NACOS annual conference taking place in Abeokuta, Ogun State from August 16-18, 2022.
As part of pre-event activities, a webinar was held on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, and attended by students of 30 tertiary institutions from the six geo-political zones of the country.
However, while the Hackathon will begin on August 16, with several teams building their solutions, the pitching of Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) will take place on August 18, 2022. Already, over 60 teams have registered for this challenge.
In her opening remarks at the webinar, Mrs Aituaz Kola-Oladejo, Executive Director, Financial Services Innovators (FSI), traced the history of financial inclusion hackathons in Nigeria. According to her, it began in October 2021 as a means of discovering Tech talents in tertiary institutions, and to change the current narrative in the nation’s digital ecosystem.
“The objectives of this hackathon is to change the lifestyle of Nigerians from cash to cashless transactions, and to encourage seamless conduct of business via digital platforms,” she said.
Delivering a paper at the webinar, Mrs Njideka Nwabukwu, Head, Strategy Coordination Office, Financial Inclusion Delivery Unit, Central Bank of Nigeria, disclosed that the targets of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy have not been met due to the hiccups afflicting stakeholders in the industry.
Nwabukwu, who represented Dr Paul Oluikpe, Head, Financial Inclusion Delivery Unit, CBN, identified the impediments on the path of NFIS to include inadequate infrastructure by banks in rural areas, poor mobile telephone network penetration in some parts of the country, and high operational cost by service providers.
According to her, other factors hindering the resolution of this problem in Nigeria are lack of innovation by operators, limited competition, and unsuitable business implementation.
Proffering solutions to the challenges, Nwabukwu said the CBN would keep churning out forward-thinking regulations that will guide Financial Services Providers and innovators in the financial inclusion space.
“The financial inclusion targets can only be attained with effective collaboration of stakeholders,” she concluded.
In his paper, IT expert and CEO, Electronic Settlement Group, Olaolu Awojoodu, rendered an overview on Financial Inclusion Challenges in Nigeria. He said lack of access to affordable technology, religious and cultural beliefs, as well as barriers created by lack of trust from consumers, were some of the factors hampering financial inclusion in the country.
Awojoodu stated further, “Although, the Financial Inclusion Strategy is targeted majorly at the banked and unbanked in the society, with all the banks in Nigeria having less than 6,000 branches, it is not surprising that the target of the NFIS has been slow.”
NACOS president, Comrade Olamilekan Toheeb rounded off the webinar with a vote of thanks. He commended the facilitators and urged the participating teams to work hard for success in the hackathon.