By OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos
Stakeholders have canvassed for utilisation of the financial technologies (FinTech) sector to create opportunities, good jobs and great wealth in the country.
With the huge economic potential in FinTech in Nigeria and the prospect for growth in the industry, notwithstanding the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said Fintech remains the realistic way out of the escalating unemployment rate in the country.
Beyond facilitating core financial transactions and increasing financial inclusion amongst the underbanked and unbanked, they noted that FinTech is fast penetrating several sectors such agriculture, transportation, healthcare, education, insurance, asset acquisition and other basic consumer needs.
The stakeholders stated these at the third edition of the Grow Nigeria Conversation (GNC) held in Lagos, with the theme, ‘Using FinTech to create opportunities, employment and wealth.’
Former governor of Kwara State and past senate president, who is the patron of GNC, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said: “With over 33.3 per cent or 23 million of Nigeria’s working-age population out of work, we must begin to look into how we can create more job opportunities for more young Nigerians using FinTech.”
He added that, “We must discuss the strategic interventions that the government and the private sector can embark on to enable financial technologies expansion across the country.”
According to Saraki, “as we do so, we must learn what other countries are doing. We must look at how Fintech companies in Asia-Pacific pulled in $2.35 billion in investment during the first three months of this year alone, more than the total amount raised in the first half of 2020.”
Investment Lawyer at Nigeria’s Office of Trade Negotiation, Tola Onayemi, said the government needs to do less of throwing money on issues and look more at underwriting risks.
“Rather than throw a billion into the tech space, the government can underwrite risks at the same amount so tech companies can compete in a more favourable environment,” he stressed.
He noted that the reason why credit is expensive and financial tools cannot get to some places in Nigeria is because of the risk involved, adding that a robust insurance system in Nigeria means that tech companies would be encouraged and the cost of products and service in the country will reduce greatly.
Also, the chief executive officer of Risevest, Eke Urum, stated that the sector will create an opportunity to address unemployment among the youths, saying the youth can play in this sector.
Founder of Verdant AgriTech, Nasir Yammama, believes FinTech is the most relevant infrastructure in the digital age, adding that it has transformed the way things are done, especially in the financial sector.
According to him, FinTech has unleashed the talent of young Nigerians, however, there exist huge untapped opportunities in the FinTech space.
The Grow Nigeria Conversation was organised and hosted by the Africa Politeia Institute (TAPI) and the Adopt a Goal for Development Initiative (AAGI).