On 11th of November 2021, the Fintech Association of Nigeria, (FintechNGR), hosted the World Fintech Festival (WFF), Nigeria, in partnership with the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF). The event was one of the breakout events held by key FinTech hubs across the globe and was themed, TechSpark 3.0; Leveraging Emerging Technology for Digital Economy.
Giving the opening address, Ade Bajomo, President, FintechNGR, emphasized the essence of the theme and its potential to scale the fintech ecosystem as the digital economy is being embraced globally at record speed. In his own words, “The emergence of Nigeria and indeed the rest of Africa fintech communities is showing the forces of economics at play… and leveraging emerging technology for the digital economy would determine where Nigeria sits in the global financial spectrum for now and many more years to come.”
Some of the speakers at the event were Michale Natusch, Chief Science Officer, Prudential Plc, Nkem Nweke, Innovation Lead, Microsoft, Ini Akpan, CEO oPay, Simon Chantry, CIO Bitt, Toju Duke, AI Program Manager, Google, Ray Youssef, CEO, Paxful, Dr. Abdourahmane Faye, Chief Data Officer, Access Bank, Elizabeth Rosiello, CEO Bitpesa, and a host of others.
The event, sponsored by Access Bank Plc and Africa Fintech Foundry, also featured presentations from regulators; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on The eNaira and the Nigerian Economy and Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on The Nigerian Digital Architecture. Delivering the presentation on the eNaira, Uhmar Ahmed Bello, Director, Currency Operations, CBN, expressed optimism that the eNaira launched by the CBN would improve monetary and financial stability. He also addressed the various challenges the apex bank had faced since the launch of the eNaira and mentioned other phases in the pipeline. Talking on the Nigerian Digital Architecture, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, Director- eGovernment Development & Regulatory, NITDA, spoke extensively on the processes and key factors an organization had to consider before embarking on a digital transformation journey, he also touched on the subsidiaries of the agency that innovators in the fintech ecosystem could leverage on.
- Impact of money laundering and features of eNaira that can help combat money laundering
- The Digital economy thrives on data, and NITDA has come up with NDPR to protect data privacy. It also supports the development of a National Digital economy policy
- Data, algorithms & managing data are critical for transiting into the emerging economy
- Africa specific training data is key for the emerging economy e.g. Kenya which has become a strategic data leveler
- Compliance with international standards, cloud security and development of appropriate policies to guide operations are very important in building a resilient cybersecurity program
- Stakeholders should rally round using the platform of the Association to accelerate the ecosystem
- The thrust of the Central Bank Digital Currency is empowerment, poverty reduction and financial inclusion, and four phases of the eNaira are expected to be completed by September 2022
- Youthful population, increasing smartphone penetration, and enabling regulatory frameworks are increasing the activities in the digital economy
In his closing remarks, Dr. Babatunde Obrimah expressed appreciation to the sponsors, attendees and speakers and the SFF for choosing to partner with the Association in bringing the 2021 edition of the World Fintech Festival to Nigeria. He rounded off by saying, “the analog generation cannot implement the digital economy, it is up to you: the youths”.
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