The hybrid event highlighted the dynamism and potential of the Nigerian fintech sector, addressing critical issues such as resilience in the face of cybersecurity threats, innovation as the lifeblood of the industry, and diversification for long-term sustainability.
In a welcome address, Ade Bajomo, the President of FinTechNGR, explained that the Nigeria Fintech Week emerged as an opportunity to shed light on novel ideas, solutions, thought leadership, and products from Nigeria’s fintech ecosystem.
The choice of the theme, “FinTechs: Resilience, Innovation, and Diversification,” was particularly fitting in a world marked by rapid socio-economic and political changes.
While Innovation remains the lifeblood of fintech, Ade Bajomo emphasized the programme’s commitment to pushing boundaries and improving customer experiences reflects the sector’s dynamism.
“Innovation is the lifeline of our ecosystem, probably its very basis for existence, driving financial inclusion, payments, customer experience, scales and competitiveness to unprecedented heights and today, I am really delighted to have so many of our fintech firms showcase their products in some 50 booths”
Diversifying product offerings and exploring strategic partnerships were encouraged to ensure long-term sustainability. Fintech firms looking to expand beyond Nigeria demonstrated the industry’s growth potential.
Despite economic challenges, Nigeria’s fintech sector continues to thrive, attracting substantial foreign investments. Opportunities for financial inclusion remain significant with millions of unbanked individuals.
“Fintech Global Research, as at Q2 2023, Nigeria attracted 42% share of the fintech deals in Africa, making it the most active destination on the continent. There are now some 250 active fintech firms and over 6,000 startups registered with various acceleration/incubation hubs and Financial Services Institutions.”
Exploring new sectors like AgriTech, InsurTech, and Blockchain adoption was encouraged. Nigeria aims to nurture the next generation of unicorns, driving socio-economic development. The vital role fintech played during the cashless period was recognized, ensuring economic stability and providing services to the last mile.
As the world embraces the 5th industrial revolution, Nigeria’s fintech sector is focusing on developing key verticals, addressing talent shortages, and reducing foreign exchange demands.
Philip Ikeazor, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability (FSS), CBN, acknowledged the promotion of innovation in the fintech sector. However, he also highlighted the need for cautious consideration of regulatory and cybersecurity risks. In his analogy, he compared regulators to the “brake system” of a car, emphasizing the importance of regulatory oversight to ensure the industry’s safety and stability.
Regulation was a central theme of Ikeazor’s speech, reinforcing the critical role it plays in guiding the fintech industry and protecting consumers and the financial system.
Will Stevens, the U.S. Consul General, commended the fintech sector’s vital role in Nigeria’s economy and emphasized the sector’s strong ties to American businesses. Stevens encouraged Nigerian fintech companies to consider themselves as American companies and join the American Business Council, highlighting the advocacy, networking, and access to resources it provides.
Stevens pointed out the immense potential for networking within the fintech sector, drawing parallels between Nigerian fintech firms and major U.S. companies. He emphasized the value of partnership and mutual support between the U.S. and Nigerian fintech sectors, reflecting the Biden administration’s broader goals.
The Consul General also touched on the importance of fintech in advancing digital transformation, infrastructure investment, training initiatives, and climate-related efforts. He urged Nigerian fintech companies to think globally, highlighting the need for African solutions to global problems and international collaboration.
These addresses highlighted the need for a collaborative approach to address global challenges and promote innovation in the fintech sector.