- 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.
Jeff Bezos Sets a New Record as Net Worth Hits $172bn
Jeff Bezos Breaks His Own Record, Now Worth $172bn
Jeff Bezos, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Amazon Inc, on Wednesday broke his own record to set a new all-time record of $172 billion net worth.
Bezos’s previous record was $167.7 billion attained in September 2018. However, the billionaire broke the record on Wednesday after Amazon shares gained 4.4 percent to close at $2,878.80 per share.
This is despite the billionaire parting with 19.7 million Amazon shares in July 2019 as part of his divorce settlement to his wife, Mackenzie Bezos.
Mackenzie Bezos’s 19.7 million shares now worth around $56.9 billion, making her the second richest woman and the thirteenth richest person in the world.
Jeff Bezos’s net worth has now risen by $57.4 billion from the year-to-date, according to Bloomberg Billionaire Index.
Opay Pauses Some Business Operations as COVID-19 Bites
OPay Halts Some Business Units Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Opay, a seamless mobile money service provider, has announced it would be putting some of its business units on hold as COVID-19 pandemic bites.
In a statement released by the Chinese owned mobile money start-up on its official twitter page @OPay_NG, the company said “We can confirm that some of our business units including the ride-hailing services, ORide, OCar as well as our logistics service OExpress will be put on pause.”
This, it said was largely due to the tough business environment brought about by COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown and government ban of motorbikes in Lagos.
The statement read “Globally, ride-sharing businesses have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. But several months ago, foreseeing this issue, OPay had already taken preemptive steps to restructure our business focus away from rides. It is worth to note that this final restructuring has minimal impact on OPay as a whole business.”
“It is important to clarify that ride-sharing had always been only one part, and not a major part of OPay’s diversified business in Nigeria. In fact, OPay had been investing more and seeing accelerated growth in its commitment to Nigeria’s financial and technology inclusion.
“During the pandemic, we have seen continued demand for our offline mobile money agency, and online digital payment, which remains the core of our business.
“From January to April 2020 for example, we witnessed a 44% growth of offline and online transaction value even in the midst of pandemic and lockdown. This is a testament to the high demand for flexible and easy financial services by Nigerians. OPay remains one of the most well-funded and profitable mobile money platforms in Nigeria, and we will continue to do more for our customers.”
Below is the company’s official statement as published on Twitter.
Facebook, Google Earn 80% of Annual Digital Ads Spend – Report
Facebook, Google Earn 80% of the £14bn Spent on Digital Ads in 2019
A recent report from the United Kingdom’s competition watchdog has shown that Facebook and Google earned 80 percent of all the money spent by advertisers on digital platforms in 2019.
In the 440-page report, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), UK said Google and Facebook market positions are having a “profound impact” on newspapers that now receive almost 40 percent of all visits to their sites through the two platforms.
“This dependency potentially squeezes their share of digital advertising revenues, undermining their ability to produce valuable content,” the watchdog said.
This is coming two weeks after Investors King called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to protect Small and Medium businesses against Facebook and Google activities or watch the nation’s SMEs die. Investors King had posited that “Nigerian startups can not compete with Facebook and the recent tax announced by the Federal Government through the ministry of finance would not be enough to stop these giant tech companies from taking advantage of Nigeria’s young growing market.”
According to the CMA report, out of the £14 billion spent on digital advertising in the United Kingdom in 2019, Google with more than 90 percent share of market search earned £7.3 billon while Facebook with more than 50 percent of display market earned £5.5 billion. Representing 80 percent of the total digital ads spent in 2019.
While the report admits that the two platforms help small businesses reach customers and are valued by users, it also said they have “developed such unassailable market positions that rivals can no longer compete on equal terms”.
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive at CMA, said: “What we have found is concerning – if the market power of these firms goes unchecked, people and businesses will lose out.
“People will carry on handing over more of their personal data than necessary, a lack of competition could mean higher prices for goods and services bought online and we could all miss out on the benefits of the next innovative digital platform.
“Our clear recommendation to government is that a new pro-competitive regulatory regime be established to address the concerns we have identified and regulate a sector which is central to all our lives.”
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