The Deputy Governor in charge of Financial Systems Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, has tasked stakeholders in the financial sector to ensure the development of a robust, inclusive and actionable National FinTech Strategy that is fit-for-purpose.
Mrs. Ahmad gave the charge recently at the kick-off virtual meeting for development of the National FinTech Strategyin Nigeria in collaboration with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), urging all stakeholders to invest time and needed resources to the development of the National Fintech Strategy for the overall benefit of users of financial services, the financial system, and the nation at large.
Recalling that the development of a National Fintech Strategy was a resolution of the National Financial Inclusion Steering Committee, she said the committeesought to provide a concerted approach to leveraging fintech and innovative approaches to drive financial inclusion amongst the underserved population.
According to her, Digital Financial Services (DFS) were at the core of FinTech strategy that would be used to drive broader development in the financial ecosystem, adding that these services were key in driving financial inclusion by reducing cost to serve, increasing transaction efficiency, and improving security and transparency of financial services.
Highlighting the efforts of the CBN in this regard, Mrs. Ahmad said the Bank had made efforts in evolving legal and regulatory frameworks, as well as the development of enabling infrastructure such as payment systems to support Digital Financial Services in the country. She added that the development of payment service bank guidelines, the Bank issuance of three licenses, supervisory and open banking framework were designed to broaden the range of financial products and enable the sharing of data across the banking and payment ecosystem.
The Deputy Governor, while appreciating the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) for its continued support for financial inclusion, particularly across jurisdictions, urged full commitment of participants to ensure the success of the project.
In his remarks at the virtual meeting, the Executive Director, Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), Dr. Alfred Hannig, commended Nigeria for its role in pushing for the attainment of financial inclusion goals.
Dr. Hannig said since the CBN became a member of the AFI in 2010, it had demonstrated leadership, innovative spirit, capability, pioneering activities, participation and knowledge exchange.
The Executive Director congratulated CBN and stakeholders for moving Nigeria forward in its inclusion target by an additional 5.2 million adults, from 48.4 million to 53.6 million, representing 50.5 per cent of the adult population who are now formally included in the financial system.
On the global context, Dr. Hannig said that the Sochi accord in 2018, now known as Inclusive FinTech, had paved way for AFI engagements to attract all who are disproportionately excluded financially into some form of financial system.
The AFI Boss therefore pushed for the application of what he called a strong relevance to financial inclusion filter as Nigeria considers ways to harness FinTech and innovation for the benefit of the excluded or unserved.
Dr. Hannig also pledged to support CBN in the development of its National FinTech Strategy, noting that a collective and collaborative approach with all stakeholdersin the design, development and implementation of the National FinTech Strategy would deliver the best results.
Earlier, in her welcome address, Head, Financial Inclusion Delivery Unit CBN, Mrs. Amina Umar noted that the National Target set out in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy document two, recognized financial technology as a vital catalyst to accelerate financial inclusion as captured in Sochi accord.
Mrs. Umar said the CBN, with support from Alliance for Financial Inclusion and in collaboration with key stakeholders, was taking forward its commitment to build an inclusive digital financial sector that ensures the expansion of meaningful access, facilitate responsible usage and guarantee the quality of digital services to the underserved and unserved market segments.
Participants in attendance in the virtual meeting were departmental directors including Mr. Musa Jimoh (Director, Payment Systems Management Department), Mr. Philip Yila Yusuf (Director, Development Finance Department) and other stakeholders from finance and telecommunication sectors.
Other speakers who made presentations on the National FinTech Strategy focal points. included Mr. Stephen Ambore, (An Assistant Director, the Development Finance Department), Mr. Adeyemi Omotoso (Policy Specialist, Alliance for Financial Inclusion) and Prof. Olayinka David-West (the Principal, Olayinka David-West Consulting).