• Saturday, December 02, 2023
businessday logo


Future of finance in focus as Open Banking confab opens

Open Banking Conference-2

Policy makers and financial industry operators will be looking at the future of financial innovation in Nigeria at the maiden edition at the Open Banking Conference holding on Thursday, February 4.

The conference is being organised by BusinessDay Media, Nigeria’s foremost business intelligence media, in partnership with the Open Technology Foundation (Open Banking Nigeria), a non-governmental organisation backed by a group of industry experts across banking, fintech, risk management, and other financial services verticals working towards building a common standard for Open Banking APIs in Nigeria.

The high-impact virtual conference sponsored by Wallets Africa, Capital MetriQ, and eTranzact, has the objective to positively influence and develop the future of financial services in Nigeria.

Open banking which raises the discussion on the nature of competition, privacy, and security, envisages that bank customers have the power to access and manage transactions on their accounts across various third party providers and apps.

To make that happen, the third party requires access to an application programming interface, that provides a standardised means of communicating with the bank or payment platform’s server to call up information necessary to close the transaction loop. Proponents of Open Banking believe that APIs can only become effective when banks, regulators, fintech companies, and security specialists agree on common, universal principles that should guide authorisation, access, and use of the customer’s information.

This is said to be behind the issuing of the June 2020 Exposure Draft of Regulatory Framework for Sandbox OPerations by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The draft which was issued to banks, mobile money operators, and payment service providers details the requirements for the conduct of live tests on innovative products, services, and other solutions in a controlled environment.

While explaining the framework, the CBN said it is to define the establishment, rules, and operations of a regulatory sandbox for the Nigerian payments system in order to promote effective competition, embrace new technology, encourage financial inclusion and improve customer experience, with a view to engendering public confidence in the financial system.

The relative ease of entry for third party providers has seen a surge of players, business models, and use cases. It has also sparked interest in Open Banking’s potential to unleash benefits that would translate to greater economic productivity and national GDP thereby enhancing Nigeria’s global competitiveness.

At the BusinessDay Open Banking conference speakers will in two-panel sessions examine issues around Nigeria’s journey in the Open Banking landscape; where should the country be? Attitudes of traditional banks to open banking; challenges to adoption; competition shakeup: a hypothesis on who the winners and laggards will be; pathways to formulating a regulatory framework that works for Nigeria: lessons from other jurisdictions, peculiarities of the domestic environment; business models and security.