MoMo Payment Service Bank (PSB), an electronic service provider, and various financial technology stakeholders gathered on Wednesday in Lagos to mark the first anniversary of MoMo and discuss the theme of “Driving Financial Inclusion and Cashless Payments.” During the event, industry leaders emphasized the importance of collaboration to extend financial services to all Nigerians and improve their quality of life.
Mr. Eli Hini, CEO of MoMo PSB, stressed the need for industry collaboration to provide financial services to every Nigerian. He pointed out that the electronic payment volume surged by 298% in the first quarter of 2023 due to the cash crunch, highlighting the necessity for robust infrastructure capable of accommodating such transaction volumes. Hini also emphasized the inclusion of more women in the financial system, particularly those in the retail value chain, to ensure they have access to financial solutions.
Hini envisioned a Nigeria where every adult can access formal financial services, such as keeping, sending, receiving, spending, or investing money through a trusted financial service provider. He noted that exclusion from financial services has hindered individuals from meeting their basic needs, consequently impacting their overall quality of life. Hini called on businesses to prioritize addressing the challenges that impede financial inclusion in Nigeria, taking advantage of existing government policies in this regard. He acknowledged the cultural barriers that require constant sensitization and emphasized the importance of improving access to financial inclusion for the rural economy, as well as building trust in financial services.
Mr. Michael Ajukwu, Chairman of the MoMo PSB Board, expressed the company’s commitment to bringing the unbanked population into the formal financial system. He expressed gratitude for the extent of internet penetration, as it has significantly contributed to a more fulfilling life.
Ms. Odunayo Eweniyi, co-founder of PiggyVest, emphasized the importance of deeply understanding the needs of the unbanked population in achieving the target of a 95% financial inclusion rate in Nigeria. She stressed the need to address infrastructural deficiencies in rural areas and employ measures to bridge the gender divide, ensuring that financial inclusion is accessible to both women and men. Eweniyi highlighted the significant impact of women’s inclusion, as they tend to contribute more to actual development. She called for the provision of social interventions and affordable services targeted at the unbanked population, along with the pursuit of financial gains.
Mr. Agada Apochi, CEO of Unified Payments, advocated for a shift from solely pursuing financial inclusion to pursuing digital financial inclusion. He envisioned a system where individuals, including artisans and retail salespersons, could utilize their mobile phones as money devices instead of relying on cash or Point of Sale machines. Apochi emphasized the need for a larger ecosystem built on collaboration and cross-system alliances to drive inclusive financial technology adoption.
Mr. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, co-founder of Andela, stressed the importance of expanding inclusion beyond financial dimensions to encompass economic, social, and global dimensions. He urged payment service providers to facilitate the flow of money and empower human capital, turning individuals into agents who can serve their communities in tangible ways. Aboyeji emphasized the need to move individuals from income level zero to income level plus one, fostering a productive nation.
Mr. Henry Obiekia, Managing Director of Fairmoney, called on industry players and regulators to address barriers to financial literacy. He emphasized the importance of educating people about the significance of financial inclusion and developing products that cater to consumers’ needs and enhance their standards of living. Obiekia acknowledged the cash crunch experienced in February and March, which reinforced the need to implement cashless policies. However, infrastructural deficiencies hindered the successful execution of these policies. He emphasized the need to tailor mindsets and approaches for urban and rural areas and emphasized infrastructure development, cybersecurity, and consumer trust as essential elements for a sustainable and inclusive financial ecosystem in Nigeria.
Mr. HoHakeem Fahm, Commissioner of Science and Technology, Lagos, reiterated the state government’s commitment to providing an enabling environment for business growth. He highlighted the deployment of over 3,000 kilometers of fiber across the state to improve technological access in public institutions, marketplaces, and businesses. Fahm emphasized the adoption of a multimodal transportation system and the use of the Cowry Card as a payment system in Lagos, providing a significant market for the private sector to drive the desired financial inclusion. He emphasized the need for continued efforts to address infrastructure, cybersecurity, and consumer trust to foster a sustainable and inclusive financial ecosystem in Nigeria.
The MoMo first anniversary and stakeholders forum showcased the commitment of industry leaders to drive financial inclusion, bridge the digital divide, and improve the lives of Nigerians. By collaborating and addressing barriers, these stakeholders aim to extend financial services to all segments of the population, foster economic growth, and enhance the overall well-being of the country.