For Nigeria to onboard its 40million unbanked population and meet the Central Bank’s 95 percent financial including target by 2024, Africa’s most populous nation needs to accelerate the Fintech industry growth, the General Manager, Mobile Financial Services, MTN Nigeria, Usoro Usoro, said.
This was made known during a recent virtual session by The Economist Intelligence Unit based on a report entitled: “State of Play: Fintech in Nigeria”, sponsored by MTN Nigeria and Mastercard.
Hosted by Camelia Oros, Managing Director, CT Productions, Usoro said during the webinar that Fintech and financial inclusion is an important area for MTN Nigeria.
“We always see ourselves as a company that drives economic growth and development everywhere we operate.
Working with The Economist team and similar stakeholders to produce reports, such as this stimulate debate and conversation around the challenges in the sector and how we can work together as an industry to drive our desired objectives,” he said.
Meanwhile, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) set up in 2012 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was revised in 2019, and in the new strategy, the apex bank increased its inclusion target to 95 percent by 2024.
Although, the 2018 data by EFINA put Nigeria’s exclusion rate at 36.8 percent, meaning the central bank would have to bridge the current 16.8 percent gap in order to achieve its 80 percent inclusion target of 2020.
Responding to the new target by the CBN, Usoro said: “It is barely five years from now and we need a collaborative approach by stakeholders in the industry to ensure that all players can leverage their various assets to meet that target.”
According to him, Nigeria relatively has more sophisticated products than many other countries on the continent.
“The challenge is in accessibility and how these products will not only improve convenience for the already banked but further drive inclusion while addressing how we can bring this last batch of 40 million customers that are traditionally excluded into the fold,” he said.
The general manager, however, expressed optimism towards a broader financial inclusion breakthrough in Nigeria.
“I think we are in the right direction, and studies, such as this, serve the purpose of stimulating conversation that will provide solutions to the challenges we face as an industry,” Usoro said.