EFInA, British High Commission give $2m to FinTech winners

The Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) and the British High Commission to Nigeria have given $2 million grant to CredPal, Capricom Digital, RIBY, SmartTeller, ExtraMile Africa and Social Lender for winning the FinTech Challenge.

The winners were announced during an event  on Power Financial Inclusion in Nigeria,  attended by representatives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other stakeholders in the FinTech industry. The event, with theme: Powering Financial Inclusion through Fintech focused on ways to attract more funding  and better regulation to grow the ecosystem.

EFInA’s Board Chairman, Segun Akerele, highlighted the challenges faced by the industry in Nigeria. He  explained that understanding global market trends and other success factors remain important in improving the national ecosystem.

He said with over $250 million in cumulative funding and about 200 active FinTech ventures operating in the digital retail payments, lending and payments infrastructure spaces, the Nigerian industry is one of the most active in the world. However, 36.8 per cent of Nigerian adults are still excluded from the formal economy and basic financial services, even though they have access to mobile phones.

Emphasising the importance of collaboration, the Chief Executive Officer of EFInA, Esaie Diei, commended the industry stakeholders for their commitment to expanding access to financial inclusion in Nigeria. He explained that several organisations are working to ensure that CBN’s 2020 Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) plan to reduce financial exclusion to 20 per cent is achieved.

He explained that the  EFInA Fintech Challenge Fund was created to provide financial services that are accessible to everyone especially the low-income segment, improve customer experience, enhance the transparency of financial services and increase the adoption of financial services with reliable, valuable and affordable products.

“The CBN’s NFIS is intended to create a level playing field that focuses on driving collaborative activities among actors while also adopting a risk-based approach”, Head, Digital Financial Services at the CBN, Stephen Ambore, said.

Head of Innovation, EFInA, Dayo Ademola, explained that successful FinTech industries across the world have focused on product innovation, strategic partnerships, physical and digital mix, and also lowering barriers to services.

“The industry witnessed a big boom in 2015. While investors were a little skeptical about the market in 2017, we are currently witnessing a resurgence”, she said while unveiling EFInA’s Global and Nigerian Fintech Landscape Survey.

Chief Executive Officer, EFInA, Esaie Diei, explained that recommendations from the Global and Nigerian Fintech Landscape Survey have been shared with the CBN.

CBN’s Head, Digital Financial Services, Segun Ambore, disclosed that opportunities should be provided for start-ups to access funds without collaterals.

British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Laure Beaufils, lauded EFInA for its commitment to financial inclusion, adding that Nigeria is central in United Kingdom’s objectives to accelerate financial inclusion in Africa.

She further explained that Fintech is clearly part of the solution to Nigeria’s low levels of financial inclusion and should help in building partnership between Nigeria and UK businesses.

She said aside providing the grants and incubation support, the FinTech grant beneficiaries will be sent to UK Fintech week later this month.