The Chief Product Officer, Nibox, Brain Manuwuike, has said fintech companies can only serve about 35 percent of the Nigerian population.
According to him, the country’s smartphone penetration is at 35 percent, which suggests that the market value of financial technology companies is the same. He explained that this and lack of infrastructure slowed economic inclusion in the nation.
He disclosed this to our correspondent in an interview and said that access to digital payments could only be driven by digital financial services that were determined by access to smart devices.
Manuwuike said: “Access to digital payments is driving the adoption of digital financial services. When consumers use the service for the first time and have a good experience, they will always come back to convenience.
“The problem with inclusion in Nigeria is not only a lack of infrastructure, but also a relatively low smartphone penetration. Currently, it is about 35 percent, which means that most fintech products are limited to 35 percent of the population at best.
“These barriers continue to drive the economy’s reliance on cash, with 9/10 of transactions in Nigeria still settled in physical currency.
“Nigeria needs more investment in the offline infrastructure where consumers can access financial products/services with cash and without a smartphone. Offline distribution will drastically really drive financial inclusion.”
The CPO said although wallets and mobile money were the future of payments, Nigeria still has a long way to go in terms of adoption. He also stated that the entry of telecommunications firms into the payments space was positive for the ecosystem as it would ensure that players already in the space created new products and innovated.
Reports show that there are over 200 fintech companies in Nigeria that operate digital payments and provide financial services.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the fintech industry is one of the bright spots in the tech ecosystem motivating investors to take positions or stakes in the country’s growing youthful and tech-savvy population, increasing smartphone and Internet penetration, large unbanked population, among other factors. .
In 2021, fintechs in Nigeria and other African countries raised about $3 billion of the nearly $5 billion raised by startups on the continent.