Expert says growth in FinTechs necessary for sustainable ecosystem in Africa

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By Olawunmi Ashafa

Lagos, June 15, 2022 A financial expert, Dr Segun Aina, says policy makers and financial regulators need to evolve with the growth in financial technology companies (FinTechs) space to establish a sustainable ecosystem and financial inclusion in African countries.

Aina said this at a two-day virtual forum of the 2022 Maiden CABS FinTech, organised by the Community of African Banking Supervisors (CABS) in partnership with Africa Fintech Network (AFN) on Wednesday.

The forum had the theme: “Opportunities and Challenges of FinTech Development in Africa.”

Aina, former President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), said the future was bright for the continent, especially for the growth of FinTechs.

The banker said the AFN was committed to making contributions that would positively impact the growth of the ecosystem.

He noted that there was need to work directly with the Association of African Central Banks, particularly the committee of African banking supervisors to achieve such impact.

Aina said the financial subsector had recorded an unprecedented growth with huge investment, mostly by foreign investors.

He said FinTechs were trending with presence in different countries and also contributing to their Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“As people continue to embrace digital banking, FinTech startup became bigger in terms of valuation (market value) amid challenges of corporate governance.

According to him, this is evolving despite the opportunities that abound across the entire FinTech ecosystem in Africa.

Aina, however, noted that regulators were attempting to catch up to FinTech as they had realised the need to play in the digital innovation space.

He also said FinTechs and startups in the same space had gained prominence in the last 10 years, which was driven by advancement, enabled by internet and mobile phones.

This development, he said, had made banks to set up FinTech subsidiaries, while their former senior regulators serve on the boards of fintech companies.

The former CIBN boss said mobile money indicator showed that 500 million people subscribed to mobile phones in Africa and 245 million use mobile internet.

Aina also said the continent continued to record the highest year-on-year growth in internet penetration and with the support of funding from outside Africa.

According to him, market capitalisation of Nigerian top five banks is less than the valuation of top three FinTechs as at June.

According to him, Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) (977 billion dollars), Zenith Bank (717.41 billion dollars), Stanbic IBTC (440.54 billion dollars), First Bank of Nigeria (FBNH) (425 billion dollars) and Access Bank (364.64 billion dollars).

On the other hand, Flutterwav, Opay and Interswitch recorded 1.245 trillion dollars, 830 billion dollars and 415 billion dollars respectively.