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Association of Digital Finance Practitioners opens Lagos chapter to drive financial inclusion

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The Association of Digital Finance Practitioners (ADFP) Nigeria, on 11 December 2021 officially launched its Lagos State Chapter and sworn-in newly elected executive committee that would steer the ship of the association for the next year.

Formulated by the Alumni of the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) Community of Practice (COP) members, the ADFP Lagos was created to catalyze the capacity of Nigerian Digital Finance Service (DFS) practitioners towards ensuring a greater level of financial inclusion and digital inclusiveness for all.

It also seeks to promote digital transformation, ethical work culture within the DFS ecosystem, and contribute to sustainable development.

“I think digital finance is really important. What can we make and that’s where the journey to the concept of the association came from. If we truly believe that digital finance is a profession, then it’s not just about having banks in one corner and microfinance regulators in another. We’re all part of the same peer group, the same ecosystem that includes researchers and think tanks in the development sector,” Sarah Corley, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance of Digital Finance Associations said.

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ADFP is a professional association of industry experts with professional training and certification in digital financial services from the Digital Frontiers Institute, The Fletcher School at Tufts University, USA, and other global reputable institutions offering certifications in digital finance.

ADFP Nigeria started as an approved DFI Alumni Community of Practice in 2016 with less than 20 members which have now grown to over 300 members with more than 150 members in the Lagos Chapter.

As a professional association, ADFP is on a mission to become a dependable industry driver for deepening the digital financial system education and professional development ecosystem in Nigeria through expansive and inclusive professional membership development opportunities.

Nigeria has two chapters of the alumni network (Lagos and Abuja) under the Association of Digital Finance Practitioners (ADFP), Nigeria. It is the vision of ADFP to be a world-class professional association that will contribute to the evolution and development of the DFS ecosystem.

“We are all part of a big ecosystem that includes researchers, bankers, product managers, etc. We all know that the banking and finance industry will not remain the same in the next 20 years. So, if we are saying Digital Finance is a profession, then we need a professional association to belong with. We should have associations that practitioners can be part of to make an impact and that is the role ADFP would fill,” Corley said.

Through this launch, ADFP seeks to provide a platform for continuous education, and the exchange of knowledge and industry best practices through workshops, conferences, and seminars, as well as support, promote innovation and ethical work culture among its members across the DFS ecosystem.

With a keen interest in financial inclusion for all in Nigeria, ADFP will contribute to the promotion of digital finance and increase financial inclusion in alignment with the CBN’s national financial inclusion strategy.

Before the inauguration of the new executives, an interactive panel session was held on “The Role of Country Association in Capacity Building for DFS Design and Delivery”.

The panelists – Folasade Femi-Lawal, AGM, Card & Messaging Business, FirstBank Nigeria, Stanley Jacob, Director, Country Business Development, MasterCard Nigeria, Kayode Olubiyi, Head, Physical Digital Bank, UBA, and Kayode Kalejaiye, Head, Digital Products & Innovation, International Digital Financial Services at Essex, UK during the session emphasized the importance of having a community of practice for exchange of knowledge, collaboration and networking in the DFS ecosystem.

According to Kayode Olubiyi, investing in capacity building should be encouraged by all institutions and regulators as the financial sector continues to evolve.

“The entire world is struck by digital transformation and is becoming more interconnected by the day using digital technologies. Digital finance has brought together people from different fields. To build sustainable financial products, design policies, and provide appropriate regulation, we need stakeholders’ engagement and this includes capacity building and knowledge sharing”, he said.

Similarly, Folasade Femi-Lawal, stated that one of the major ways to bridge the talent gap in the industry is to upskill employees. She said “export of talent is happening all over the world especially and it is important to build a pool of talent that would quickly fill the industry gap. Despite the export of talent in Africa, many organizations across the world are still looking forward to extending their footprint in Africa. So, we need the ADFP to be at the forefront of talent development for the future.”

Undertaking the Certificate in Digital Money (CIDM) and the Leading Digital Money Markets (LDMM), and other Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) qualifications certified by the Fletcher School at Tufts University, USA should be encouraged by all institutions especially for those in the financial sector and other related job roles.

Abubakar Shehu, Director VAS, Gateway, and Broadband Sales, Globacom who was elected as the President of the ADFP, in his remark, commended the electoral committee for a free and fair election and the event organizing committees for hosting a successful historic event.

“As we consult with the board of trustees to fulfill the objectives of the ADFP, we promise to do our best to make the association a force to reckon with in the industry as we promote financial inclusion and advocate for more stakeholders’ policies and regulations that would deepen the DFS ecosystem in Nigeria,” he said.

Other elected members of the committee include Adedoyin Samo, Group Head, HR & Admin., Zedcrest Capital Limited, elected as Vice President; ‘Nifemi Oluboyede, Product Manager – credit, Kuda Digital Bank elected as Secretary, Lukmon Oloyede, Head, Product Marketing and Brand Communication, Zedvance Finance Limited emerged as Publicity Secretary, Yemi Kehinde, Group Head, Zedcrest Capital Limited as Legal Officer and Amarachi Wogu, Head, Channel Delivery, Inclusive Banking at Heritage Bank Plc as Welfare Officer.