- Bank, Fintech, Telco Partnership’ll Drive Financial Inclusion – Experts
Telecommunications companies have been advised to play an active role in fintech industry in order to drive the financial inclusion of the unbanked population in Nigeria.
Experts in the telecoms sector and fintech space gave this advice during a panel session moderated by the Founder, Computer Warehouse Group, Dr. Austin Okere, at the second fintech conference held in Lagos.
Speaking on the topic ‘Developing and sustaining unique digital finance solutions for Africa and infrastructure implications’, the Chief Executive Officer, Systemspecs Remita, Mr. John Obaro, said going into the future, there would be more collaboration between FinTechs and other organisations in the financial services sector.
According to him, telcos through their infrastructure will play a crucial role in providing the convenience customers seek when making financial transactions.
“The problem we want to solve is that we want people in the different nooks and crannies of this country to easily join the financial industry. Banks, by their nature, have been able to accomplish this for us. As of the last count, there were 160 million phones in the country. People want to make payment irrespective of whether banks, telcos or fintechs are behind the initiative,” he added.
Obaro said the role regulators would play in such collaboration should not prevent operators from achieving the objective of such partnership.
He said, “Rather than say because we have multiple regulatory bodies, we will not solve the real problem; we should agree on what is best to be done. If we need to create a special purpose vehicle of the government to be responsible for the regulation of this particular one, so be it. The real objective is for more people to come onboard.”
On her part, the Chief Executive Officer, MainOne, Ms. Funke Opeke, dispelled the notion that fintech would displace the banks in the future, adding that more banks had started embracing the disruption created by technology.
She added that the inclusive nature of technology had allowed more participation in the financial services sector, saying improved infrastructure would drive increased participation in the future.
“There is not much understanding as to why fintech will replace banks when you look at what is taking place today in which banks are employing fintech for financial transactions. When you look at cash movement electronically, you will certainly recognise that banks have embraced technology.
“A good thing is that the disruption that fintech brings allows new companies to participate in the value chain.
“We now need infrastructure development to bring in more people into the financial services sector.”
In order to replicate the success of M-pesa, a mobile payment system in Kenya, in Nigeria, the CEO, Soft Alliance and Resources Limited, Mr. Tunde Badejo, urged stakeholders to channel their efforts into advocacy and improve the level of awareness of mobile payments systems available in the country.