The President, Fintech Association of Nigeria, Dr Segun Aina has expressed assurance to make Nigeria’s FinTech companies compete with world best in providing access to cheap credit and innovations. Speaking with OLABODE JEGEDE at the Annual General Meeting of the Association, the president says, the association in the last two years has attracted global attention
Can you tell us an overview of FinTech Association of Nigeria for last year?
We are happy that the association we started in 2017 is now two years and we are having the second general meeting which was attended by our members and also by the guests invited.
It is quite appreciating of the fact that the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) which is also a member is hosting us at the Exchange which says a lot about the regards or recognition given to the association given a short life span that the association has existed.
In 2018, as we listened to the report that was read, it was very exciting and a lot of activities that were conducted in line with our three core objectives of Connect, Advocate and Accelerate.
We did a lot of advocacy with regulators- the Central Bank of Nigeria, the National Insurance Commission, the Security and Exchange Commission.
We recorded very great outcome particularly in the Capital market where it was recommended and it was approved by the Commission and the Capital market committee that a roadmap should be drawn up for the adoption of FinTech in the Capital market.
That Committee has been formed and the Vice President of this Association is the chairman of that committee and some of our members are also serving in that committee. We are quite excited about that. There is lot of other initiatives that we are working with the capital market operators.
The CBN for instance, to the fact that they are represented here by a top official shows the type of partnership and leadership that exist between the association and the CBN. They would always involve us in anything that has do with FinTech regulations, policies and we also provide our own inputs and this is continuous to see how we can support the great works that the CBN is doing towards improving digital, encouraging innovation, and promoting FinTech in Nigeria.
We also involve in knowledge event as we have done series of it. In 2018, we have two great knowledge events.
We had the National FinTech Conference in January, well attended by a lot of people from more than 20 countries and then, we followed that up by hosting the Maiden edition of the African FinTech Festival where we had FinTech people from African and non-African countries during which time the African FinTech Network which was an initiative was from Nigeria. The African FinTech Network was created and inaugurated in Nigeria.
In 2018, we were privileged to serve on the UK/African FinTech Network by the UK government which was instituted by the prime minister and of course, we did a lot of things for our members particularly the start-ups through the various hubs that we work with and some of them who were members also provided a lot of support, guidance for them, including student because as we very well know, we have a numbers of Universities that are members of this association in the like of University of Ibadan, Federal University of Technology, Akure, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Lagos Business School, Babcock University and a lot more through whom we are able to impact on the growth and development of our young innovators in the Universities so that by giving the exposures and the guidance, mentoring that is necessary towards ensuring that we contribute to the technology development in Nigeria.
Is funding a great challenge that the association is actually facing?
Well, our experience has shown that with a good product, funding will not be an issue and it has never been an issue for FinTech and you can see a lot of FinTech companies in Nigeria in the last two years have raised a significant amount of funding both from outside Nigeria and a lot of private equity firms are coming into Nigeria, a lot of money that are ready to be deployed towards growing start-ups. I think what is important is the ability to generate great ideas and for the opportunity to be mentored, guided and incubated to be able to meet the request and requirement of this start-ups. So, with that, funding should not be an issue. We want to create a platform where we will be able to do creative funding for the start-ups in which case that the things that are peculiar to Nigeria will understand the institution and be able to support them.
What do we expect in 2019?
Well, 2019 is good as we have a three-year roadmap from 2019 to 2021. Where we are going to look at the issue of values to our members, the kind of new members we will have, and we are also looking at much more broader funding base. We are looking at how we can give much more value to the Nigerian ecosystem so that Nigeria can continue to be leading in FinTech.
In Africa, the three countries that are leading in terms of FinTech investment to Africa are Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. We want to be on top of that and make sure we lead Africa, and also compete with the best in the world in terms of FinTech developments.