The Financial Technology Association of Nigeria (FinTechNGR) has announced that it’s targeting one million students and other individuals over the next five years, toward boosting the fintech sector.
The President of the association, Ade Bajomo, made this known in Lagos at the fifth edition of the Nigeria Fintech Week.
Bajomo said that the association would develop digital talents in university students, hence, its unveiling of the ”DigiStuds Programme”.
He said that the programme was aimed at developing technical expertise among the students, so as to ensure their employability in the Nigerian fintech ecosystem.
”The target is to reach a million students, individuals, over the next five years, and we have started with a handful of universities to put a process in place that is robust and repeatable and, then, we can expand on it,”
”Nigeria retains her place as one of the top four fintech hubs in Africa alongside Kenya, South Africa and Egypt,”
“Already, Nigerian fintech startups have raised over $321 million in 47 deals as at half-year 2021, compared with $307 million raised doing the whole of last year, 2020,”
”We are proud that Nigeria is also one of the 38 countries that have produced unicorns such as Interswitch, Flutterwave, Jumia, Airtel Africa, oPay and, most recently, Andella,”
”Innovation has not been restricted to fintech alone, as we are seeing regulators such as the CBN introduce a digital currency ”eNaira” into the economy,” he said.
Bajomo, however, said that in spite of the achievements, 40.1 million Nigerian adults, representing 41.6 per cent of the total population, were still financially excluded.
“This means that there is still a very vast opportunity for innovation,” he said.
Bajomo said that the association was working to address the challenges of fintech startups in the country so as to ensure a robust ecosystem.
He identified a lack of access to finance/funds for fintech startups as a challenge, noting that a lot of funding for fintech was coming from abroad.
”That is not a bad thing by the way; that shows that if we can’t find the funding here, the funding is coming in dollars, which the country needs, but we have to ginger up more structures within the country to actually get fintechs’ access to funds,”
”FinTech Nigeria is setting up as a group, which is actually working with entrepreneurs to see what needs to be done, and to bring together investors to actually target that; there is a lot of work going on across the industry,” he said.
According to him, some Nigerian entrepreneurs are now in the fintech space and putting together capital locally and internationally to make sure that fintechs would be funded.
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Bajomo said that the lack of desired regulation in the sector was also a challenge, adding that fintechs kept requesting for a regulation “where one size will fit all.”
He said that capital requirements from a regulatory perspective had been high.
Bajomo said that the fintech ecosystem needed talents, hence, the reason for the DigiStuds Programme.
”It is not just talents, it is not just numbered, it is talents that actually can deliver and develop durable, quality, scalable solutions, technology solutions, not the start-and-stop, break-and-fix type of solutions. That is the level of talent we need to develop,”
“We need to go deeper in talent development and, quite frankly, start doing fundamental science and engineering that will take us into building robots and things like that, because that is where the world is going,”
”We can’t be at the receiving end, we have to go deeper in our science and research; that is really where the industry comes in,”
“That is where collaboration with universities comes in, that is where the Digistuds initiative comes in,” Bajomo said.