The future of Financial Technology was at the front burner at the AFF Disrupt Conference 2017, a FinTech industry stakeholders gathering organized by the newly set up Africa FinTech Foundry (AFF).
Stakeholders at the event, which has the strong backing of Access Bank Plc, highlighted the need to ensure that all the relevant challenges that could hamper the growth and future of financial technology are addressedat an early stage.
Some of these issues are broadband penetration, skilled manpower and legislation.
However, according to the governor of Lagos State, Mr. AkinwunmiAmbode, there exists vast opportunities in the FinTech sector, opportunities that will be predicated on the right technical skills and growth in capital investment, among others.
The Governor, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Science & Technology, Mr. OlufemiOdubiyi, pointed out that the inter-ministerial collaboration between the Ministries of Education and Science & Technology which brought about the “Code Lagos initiative was part of the State’s efforts at furthering the cause of technology in Lagos State.
He challenged governments at all levels to provide the necessary regulatory framework and grow their internally generated revenue (IGR) through technological drive.
Deputy Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Roosevelt Michael Ogbonna who represented the Managing Director, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, reiterated the need for innovativeness by FinTech Startups and noted that Access Bank has been driving innovations which was a bedrock for setting up AFF.
He stated the Bank’s readiness to partner with any organization or company that is ready to further the cause of FinTech in Nigeria.
Also speaking, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group, AlikoDangote, who spoke through the company’s Group Head, Human Resources, UsenUdoh acknowledged the role of FinTech saying that digital transformation has continually dictated how people work, socialize and act.
“Dangote Group has embraced technology and FinTech. We share the same passion with Access Bank in this vision,” he concluded.
In her presentation, Former Minister for Communications Technology and presently, Lead General Partner, TLcom Capital Nigeria, Omobola Johnson observed that Digital transactions is the future of financial services and that opportunities in FinTech in Nigeria is gigantic.
According to her, $5 billion has already been invested FinTechs across the world, “…and Africa has taken a big chunk of this.”
Outlining what Nigeria needs to in the next few years to consolidate on its FinTech drive, Johnson said there is a need for Nigeria to tell good stories about the viability of the industry and then raise the capital needed.
Furthermore, Policy and regulation, Skilled manpower and more entrepreneurs are also needed to grow the FinTech industry in Nigeria.
Other stakeholders that spoke at the event said FinTech Startups should look at the specific needs that need to be addressed in Nigeria, and tailor their Applications towards solving those needs.
In his Keynote address on ‘FinTech Growth and Public Policy Implementations’, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Trans-Saharan Investment Corporation, Nigeria, KyariBukarnoted that the country needs a regulator that will not necessarily invest, but make the environment good for local and international investors to come in and invest.
In his opinion, Director, Systemspecs, DeremiAtanda cautioned FinTech startups to shun focus on competition, create value and never stop to innovate.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh challenged governments to put up structures and legislature in place for effective control of FinTechs.
Johnson, further in her address explained that her company, TLcom Capital is on the lookout for FinTech companies for investment. While noting that there is a growing need for many more Foundries, she said that a good regulatory environment and policies that should grow the industry and attract more investment and key to the future of FinTechs in Nigeria.
Managing Partner, Grand Central Nigeria, ChinenyeMba-Uzoukwu said disruption is a product of innovation, not just about Apps aiding services.
In the viewpoint of the Managing Director, Accenture Financial Services, TolulekeAdemosu, noted that the opportunity to leverage IoT, Analytics among others to move forward is the core of the fourth industrial revolution.
The Africa FinTech Foundry, which is a concept by Access Bank Plc, is a full-fledge, independent foundry supported by Microsoft, IBM, SAS and other technology firms. The AFF will provide African FinTech start-ups seeking to launch their products, with the capacity building and training in business development. It will also provide connectivity to global innovative grid, facilitate access to capital, create opportunities for partnerships and showcase best practices successes in African-led innovation solutions.
With the setting up of the Africa FinTech Foundry (AFF), App developers and entrepreneurs in the FinTech ecosystem will find a platform to work with and set their financial applications for global competitiveness.