Africa has more opportunities for Fintech growth – ​Efenure (Flutterwave)

Flutterwave’s Head of Risk, Africa, Emmanuel Efenure said despite the pandemic-driven growth recorded by the Fintech industry across Africa, there’s still more opportunity for growth in the continent.

Efenure advocated innovative contactless services as a major way to break the dominance of cash in Africa and drive growth in the sector.

The risk expert was a panelist at the 8th edition of the Nigerian Bankers Clearing System (NBCS) conference themed Digital Transformation and Innovation in the Payment System.

“With a population of more than 200 million people trying to move around everyday, implementing contactless payment would revolutionize the ecosystem starting first with the transportation system.

“Without doubt, most people would most likely appreciate alternative payment that does not involve them exchanging money or words with the cashier”, he said.

Efenure also spoke on Flutterwave’s effort to support small businesses by helping them receive payments globally through Flutterwave Store.

NBCS is an annual gathering of players in the banking and financial industry to examine the changing dynamics of the Central Bank’s regulatory and payment system in Nigeria.

The event, which was held at Civic Centre on 19th November, is organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as part of its effort to engage the private sector.

In the keynote speech, Samuel Okojere, CBN Director of Banking Services, highlighted the apex bank’s efforts to solve payment-related issues, ensure a swift clearing and settlement system.

Other panelists were CBN Branch Controller, Bariboloka G. Koyor; Chief Conduct and Compliance Officer, Access Bank, Pattison Boleigha; Chief Information Security Officer, First Bank, Harrison Nnaji, and Head of Business Operations, NIBSS, Ekeoma Chidi-Ugorji, represented by Tauhid Abdulkareem.

The moderator, Chika Okeke asked questions on initiatives, trends and systems that would become the next big thing when introduced into the payment system in Nigeria.

In response, Efenure noted that cash-based transactions still dominate the Nigerian payment ecosystem but pointed to the emerging potential of digital payments innovations like tokenization.

“By replacing card details with information that becomes useless to non-cardholders and hackers, tokenization is a key initiative that could reduce risk of fraud and help gain consumer trust,” he said.

On adoption of e-cheque and including USSD while maintaining security of funds, Nnaji cautioned that e-cheque is not a mass-market solution.

“The bulk of USSD transactions across the country are usually below N20,000. There are even transactions as low as N200. On the other hand, cheques are largely for large transactions as high as N10,000,000.

“There is no way you would be capable of performing such a transaction and not be able to afford a smartphone that would help you carry out seamless digital payments with multi-factor authorization.”

Explaining CBN’s role to strengthen payments, Koyor assured that the apex bank was passionate about payment systems and innovation in Nigeria.

“The separation of the banking services into two different departments focusing on banking services and payment systems was a starting point. The regulatory sandbox is another major initiative.

“We are up and running in our quest to regulate and provide the platform for our payment system to thrive and for consumers to be safe and secured in the ecosystem.”

In his remarks, Abdul-Kareem reiterated the importance of digital transformation to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS).

“Digital transformation is customer-centric because it is the use of technology to drive our services and systems towards providing better, seamless and efficient payment services to our customers.

“It entails continuous iteration and improvement on services we roll out for Nigerians in terms of payments, identification, and security.”

The event ended with all participants highlighting opportunities for growth in the payments sector across Africa, and in Nigeria particularly.