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Nigeria produces five of seven unicorns in Africa

By Adeyemi Adepetun
26 January 2022   |   3:57 am
The Nigerian FinTech ecosystem maintained its growth trajectory within the African continent with three more unicorns – Flutterwave, OPay and Andela – joining Interswitch and Jumia as five out of the seven unicorns on the continent.

• Flutterwave, Opay, Andela join Interswitch, Jumia

The Nigerian FinTech ecosystem maintained its growth trajectory within the African continent with three more unicorns – Flutterwave, OPay and Andela – joining Interswitch and Jumia as five out of the seven unicorns on the continent.
    
According to FinTechNGR, Nigeria’s fintech association, which disclosed this, noted that Nigeria’s FinTech ecosystem’s stronger and improved brand appeal to global investors, showed that the country is an economy positioned for growth, financial inclusion and a narrowing poverty gap.
   
FinTechNGR, in a document, said Nigeria was ranked as sixth in real-time payments by Finshots, and also as one of the top crypto trading countries in the world by Statista, amongst other ground-breaking feats, which attest to the value of the country’s ecosystem.

   
Also, FintechNGR said it will continue to develop robust venture capital and private equity channels to support innovators that have significant growth potential, stressing that simplifying and optimising the process for raising capital would give more investors the opportunity to benefit from the growth of these companies and create wealth for the economy.
    
The document, signed by President, FinTech Association of Nigeria, Ade Bajomo, revealed that in the year under review, Nigerian FinTech startups raised $1.37 billion out of $4 billion total raised by African startups, despite the effects of the pandemic.
    
According to the document, Nigeria raised the largest chunk, followed by other key FinTech hubs – South Africa ($838 million), Egypt ($588 million) and Kenya ($375 million). Outside the big four, other proactive markets were Senegal and Tanzania whose startups raised $222 million and $96 million respectively, according to Connecting Africa. One of the biggest success stories was Ghanaian FinTech Chipper Cash, which raised a total of $250 million in 2021. Without Chipper Cash, Ghana would have raised $48 million

FinTechNGR noted that the launch of eNaira by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showed that innovation is not limited to FinTech firms alone  – rather, regulators are now also actively taking part in the next digital wave, thereby opening up more opportunities for entrepreneurs to innovate.

      
On the feat achieved in Nigeria, the association said it played a key role as an enabler, providing direction and support in various ways such as the formal launch and graduation of the maiden cohort of the DigiStuds project, a Digital Academy Project aimed at equipping 500,000 students of public tertiary institutions in Nigeria with relevant digital skills.
    
The association said the launch of the Nigeria FinTech Census, an aggregated data on FinTechs in Nigeria done in partnership with EY, aimed at helping stakeholders to make informed decisions on the ecosystem.
      
According to the body, deepening of collaboration and technical skills through various training and knowledge events such as the Nigeria FinTech Week (NFW), World FinTech Festival (in collaboration with Singapore FinTech Week), Intercontinental Webinars and various ad-hoc interventions on regulations, also contributed to the success of the ecosystem
    
“Therefore, it is no surprise that FinTechNGR membership grew by 24 per cent, as we attracted new strategic members such as Facebook and many others, who are keen to take part in the critical role we play and the impact we have on the ecosystem as an Association. We also experienced the renewal of existing memberships and several upgrades of membership plans to a higher category,” Bajomo said.
    
For 2022, FinTechNGR said it will consolidate its gains and sustain the momentum as an ecosystem. “I would like to urge everyone to leverage the platforms created by the Association in scaling the Nigerian FinTech ecosystem and further increasing our visibility on the global scale, having earned a worthy seat on the table when it comes to advancements in FinTech related matters in our country and beyond,” Bajomo stated.