The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has said that there is need for continuous advocacy of fintech in order to sustain growth in Nigeria’s digital economy.
Abdullahi who was speaking at the 2nd Africa Cashless Payment Systems Conference with the theme: “Building Cashless Africa” in Abuja, described fintech as an important sector that needs to be passionately embraced while noting that fintech is one of the outstanding sectors where the impact of digital technology is felt in Africa.
He commended the Foreign Investment Network (FIN) and its partners for organising the event which brought together professionals from the financial, technology, judiciary and government sectors.
“The collaboration through this conference allows fintech companies, vendors of financial solutions, consumers, government, and academia to meet and deliberate on how Africa can develop and promote safe, secure, and seamless digital financial transactions across the continent with minimal disruptions” said Abdullahi. He was represented Dr. Ayo Bakare of the agency’s Digital Economy Department (DED).
Abdullahi expressed confidence that digital financial solutions, cyber security, e-commerce and digital retail banking amongst others would give new insights into strengthening the country’s cashless economy.
“Negative social vices such as theft, corruption, illegal transactions, money laundering, financial crime, and the like are reduced as the availability of cash in circulation reduces. The authentication of all transactions in a cashless payment system has brought transparency and built trust in the ecosystem”, said Abdullahi.
He said cashless payment system in Africa will further promote the actualisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of eliminating poverty, empowering women and ensuring citizens have access to credit services.
According to Abdullahi, “Africa’s revenue from Fintech alone hit between $4.5bn and $6bn in 2022 and Bloomberg report shows that Fintech in Nigeria accounted for $439m in the year 2021. And it is projected to increase by 23.69% in the year 2022. Furthermore, many Fintech Unicorns have emerged in Africa, of which 6 of them are from Nigeria”.
He said Africa’s huge unbanked population is a major concern that requires urgent intervention and urged the government and fintech companies to intensify efforts in absorbing them into the trending bandwagon of financial independence and growth.
While reiterating NITDA’s support to the fintech industry through developmental regulations with a focus on cyber security, data strategy, data protection, cloud computing and emerging technologies, he expressed confidence that a cashless economy would bring development to Africa and the world.
His words: “It is important for this gathering to note that cash is still a major dominator in African transactions. However, I have a strong conviction that Fintech has the ability to eradicate cash dominance in Africa. Having a secured cashless system will enhance faster and more effective African trade within the region and globally.”