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Nigerian fintechs receive $500m in five years, says Emefiele

Nigeria’s financial technology (fintech) firms attracted an investment of $500million between 2015 and 2020 owing to improvement in the ecosystem.

Nigeria’s financial technology (fintech) firms attracted an investment of $500million between 2015 and 2020 owing to improvement in the ecosystem.

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele stated this yesterday at the bank’s 31st seminar for financial correspondents and business editors in Enugu.

In his keynote speech at the event themed ‘Trends in Nigerian Payments System: Regulating the Fintech Digital Playing Field’, Emefiele said the sector has recorded tremendous growth in the past few years and that the apex bank would continue to ensure timely regulatory intervention to protect consumers and the industry.

He said Nigeria’s demography and technology adoption favoured accelerated growth of fintech.

He added that new working cultures and practices would facilitate growth in the coming years.

“Studies have already shown that only one per cent of fintechs have been critically affected by COVID-19 and two per cent severely affected. By comparison, around 17 per cent of other high-growth companies fall into these categories. It is therefore unsurprising that many fintechs have experienced a surge in demand as working practices and customer banking habits changed.

“As a country with one of the largest millennial population in the world – an estimated 62 per cent of the Nigerian population below 25 years of age, fast smartphone growth driven by increasing affordability and increasing mobile penetration and fast transition to 5G technology – Nigeria remains primed to be an active playground for digital transformation and cannot afford to ignore,” he said.

The CBN boss, whose address was presented by the Deputy Governor (Corporate Services), Edward Adamu, observed that the payments system, being the channel through which financial resources flow from one segment to another, plays a pivotal role in its economy, hence the need to pay special attention to its regulation.

He explained that the post COVID-19 economy would be dominated by radical changes in the financial industry landscape and that the accelerated shift towards digital financial services would attract more fintech investments.

This, he said, would increase competition in the financial market, stressing that this called for an increased and intensive regulatory scrutiny.

He reiterated the apex bank’s commitment to floating the e-naira, noting: “In a couple of days from now, the CBN will be unveiling its digital currency, the eNaira, making Nigeria one of the first countries in Africa and, indeed, the globe to adopt the digitisation of its national currency”.

In his remarks, the CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, assured participating journalists that the various sessions would enrich their knowledge in digital financial services.

During the panel, fintech experts and CBN officials examined new trends, opportunities and risks in the fintech ecosystem vis-à-vis the responsibilities of users and operators. They noted that threats would continue to grow neck-in-neck with the scale of growth of the digital space.

A professor of capital market, Uche Uwalake, urged operators to work to minimise the downtimes during attacks.