Flutterwave’s Head of Risk, Africa, Emmanuel Efenure, has said that despite the pandemic-driven growth recorded by the Fintech industry across Africa, there’s still more opportunity for growth in the continent. He advocated for innovative contactless services as a major way to break the dominance of cash in Africa and drive growth in the sector. This was while participating as a panelist at the 8th edition of the Nigerian Bankers Clearing System (NBCS) conference themed Digital Transformation and Innovation in the Payment System.
He said, “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 also spoke on Flutterwave’s effort to support small businesses by helping them receive payments globally through Flutterwave Store.
NBCS is an annual conference that brings together players in the banking and financial industry across Nigeria 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, 2022 is organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as part of its effort to engage the private sector. The keynote speech was given by Samuel Okojere, the Director of Banking Services at CBN, who highlighted the critical efforts the apex bank put in place to solve payment-related issues, ensuring a swift clearing and settlement system.
Other panelists at the conference were Branch Controller, Central Bank of Nigeria, Bariboloka G. Koyor; Chief Conduct and Compliance Officer, Access Bank, Pattison Boleigha; the Chief Information Security Officer, First Bank of Nigeria, Harrison Nnaji and Group Head of Business Operations, NIBSS, Ekeoma Chidi-Ugorji– ably represented Tauhid Abdulkareem.
During the panel session, Chika Okeke–the moderator, asked questions on initiatives, trends and systems that would become the next big thing when introduced into the payment system in Nigeria.
In response, Emmanuel 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.
Reacting to the moderator’s remark on adopting e-cheque and including USSD while maintaining security of funds. Harrison Nnaji cautioned that e-cheque is not a mass-market solution.
“The bulk of USSD transactions across the country are usually below NGN 20,000. There are even transactions as low as NGN 200. On the other hand, cheques are largely for large transactions as high as NGN 10, 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,” he added.
Bariboloka G. Koyor spoke on the role of the CBN on strengthening payments in Nigeria, “The Central Bank is 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.`
Tahuid Abdul-Kareem reiterated the importance of digital transformation to the 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 in general, and in Nigeria, particularly.