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‘Telcos, banks should partner to drive cashless economy’

By Adeyemi Adepetun
10 March 2021   |   3:03 am
The partnership of the telecommunications sector, financial technology companies (Fintechs) and banks, if well leveraged, can drive Nigeria’s cashless economy programme.

The partnership of the telecommunications sector, financial technology companies (Fintechs) and banks, if well leveraged, can drive Nigeria’s cashless economy programme.

This was the view of Mastercard Market Product Management, Digital Payments, and Labs, West Africa, Azuka Mordi, who stressed that the growth of the digital technology sector in Nigeria is an indication that the system could serve as a catalyst for advancing the digital economy and enable economic recovery.

Speaking at the Nigeria Finance Forum (the virtual edition) themed ‘Partnerships and Infrastructure to Support the Cashless Economy’ Mordi said the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report underlines the significance of the ICT sector as the driver of the non-oil sector growth in 2020.

He said the World Bank’s Nigeria Digital Economy Diagnostic Report also highlights that Nigeria is uniquely positioned to reap the benefits of the digital economy as the country accounts for 47 per cent of West Africa’s population while half of the country’s population is below 30.

He said the report acknowledges Nigeria as the largest mobile market in Sub-Saharan Africa, supported by a strong mobile broadband infrastructure.

He added: “At the same time, minimal fixed infrastructure and connectivity in rural areas can leave the most marginalized people behind. Partnerships with government, fintech players, telecom companies and other strategic partners to provide digital solutions and support the cashless economy, offer the greatest potential to overcome infrastructure barriers to accelerate financial inclusion and drive economic growth across multiple sectors.”

The MasterCard chief said digital innovations are important for advancing financial inclusion. He stressed that they are the big equalizers, enabling and spearheading financial inclusion for individuals and small businesses.

According to him, the foundation to enabling payment technologies for a robust digital economy is being laid.

He said recent frameworks issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Sandbox, QR, open banking, and others are expected to galvanize and accelerate the digital economy agenda by allowing more innovation.

He said MasterCard as a trusted partner, that has developed its secure, innovative payment technology over many years, is driving growth in digital financial services through digital partnerships, solutions, and technology, extending acceptance infrastructure and aiming to connect one billion people to the digital economy by 2025, including 50 million micro and small businesses with a direct focus on 25 million women entrepreneurs.

Chief Executive Officer of Innovative Group, Emmanuel Agha, said the collaboration would profitably deliver last-mile services in digital payments.

“The financial needs of those at the bottom of the financial pyramid varies and no single operator can provide the solutions that will address the myriad of financial needs of the people.

“Lack of collaboration will not only lead to the high cost of operation but will also lead to poor service delivery. Research has shown that collaboration will discourage a single operator to build and deliver end-to-end digital payment solutions, which is always very expensive to accomplish and it will encourage combined value proportions from different operators that will serve the end-uses better,” Agha said.