The FinTech Association of Nigeria says Financial Technology (FinTech) operators accounted for 63 per cent of the 1.37 billion dollars funding raised in Nigeria in 2021. President of the association, Mr Ade Bajomo said this on Saturday in Lekki, Lagos, at a dinner held at the FinTech Platinum Awards ceremony. Bajomo noted that Nigeria had been well-positioned in Africa and in the global FinTech ecosystem. He said that Africa could currently boast of 10 unicorns out of which seven – Jumia, Fluttwerwave, Andela, Chipper Cash, Airtel Africa, OPay and Interswitch – are Nigerian. “In a similar light, Nigerian start-ups raised 1.37 billion dollars of the four billion dollars raised in Africa in 2021. Of these, the FinTech space alone accounted for about 63 per cent of all total funding, compared with just 25 per cent in 2020.
“The growing investor confidence in African FinTech reflects the continent’s huge potential due to deepening mobile and internet penetration, a youthful population, increasing consumer sophistication and income, amongst many other factors. When you think about how far FinTech in Nigeria has come, you should thank the incredible entrepreneurs who envisioned, pioneered and executed strategic moves that have now crystallised into strong and growing companies,” Bajomo said. According to him, in spite of the enormous achievements, there is always the need to look back and appreciate how far the FinTech ecosystem has come in the country. He said FinTech in Nigeria raised about 600 million dollars in funding between 2014 and 2019, compared to more than one billion dollars raised in one year alone. Bajomo said that few years ago, real time payments and digital (quick) loans were almost impossible. He added that Nigeria is now home to about 250 FinTech companies, in spite of huge infrastructural, regulatory and financial challenges.
The association’s president said the trajectory was not set to slow down by any means as by 2025, Africa would be home to 1.5 billion people, most of who would have grown up with the internet. He said that the continent’s demographics would include a vast group of digitally-literate but under-banked customers, who could be tapped by home-grown and foreign FinTechs. Bajomo said the FinTech Platinum Awards was to create a world class award ceremony which would raise the standard of the top global awards within the sector. He said the association was strongly positioned to play strategic, critical and unbiased roles in creating an enabling environment for FinTech to continue to thrive in Nigeria. This, he explained, would be by providing leadership for FinTech ecosystem evolutions in the country and across the continent. The award for the “Female FinTech Trailblazer” was worn by Ms Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-founder, PiggyVest, for starting something ground-breaking and at the same time, a strong force in the industry. The award for “Ground-breaking Achievement” went to Carbon Microfinance Bank, as one of the first organisations to do something innovative in their space, while adhering to ethical standards.
The “Ecosystem Enabler’’ award was received by Banwo & Ighodalo Firm for providing significant resources and support for the Nigerian FinTech ecosystem. Leadership Award” (organisation and individual categories) were awarded to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Mr Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director of Interswitch. This is for paving a pathway on how things should be done in the FinTech space and consistently raising the bar. Mr Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Founder, Future Africa got the “Tech Advocacy” award for being at the forefront of pushing for increased technological advancement in the ecosystem. He got the award also for fostering opportunities, networks and inclusion to make it a reality. (NAN)