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Banks, PSB and Fintechs Collaborations is Important to Drive Financial Inclusion in Nigeria – Eli Hini

Eli Hini, CEO, MoMo PSB Nigeria, says Nigeria has a better opportunity than other African countries to excel in financial and digital inclusion if traditional banks, PSBs, and fintechs can work together.

Eli made these remarks during a fireside chat at the 4th edition of the MSME and Startup Summit, which was hosted by Vanguard and the Economic Forum Series. The summit took place on Thursday, August 24, 2023, at the Civic Centre in Lagos.

When queried about what was impeding Nigeria from achieving financial inclusion success on par with countries like Ghana and Kenya, despite being Africa’s largest economy, Eli pointed out three areas where improvements were needed to attain financial and digital inclusion in Nigeria. He explained, “Considerable efforts have been invested in agent banking, and there’s a substantial presence of POS (Point of Sale) devices and financial service outlets. The next step is to leverage these assets to drive innovation and encourage the adoption of digital payments. It’s noticeable that many people primarily use their cards to withdraw cash, which they then use for subsequent transactions. We need to explore ways to encourage cardholders to use digital payments instead of just making cash withdrawals.”

“Another crucial aspect is enhancing collaboration between traditional banks or deposit money banks, Fintech companies, Payment Service Banks, and other payment service providers. This collaboration needs to be more extensive. Traditional banks face limitations, as the costs associated with establishing bank branches can’t be justified in certain communities due to their economic conditions. In contrast, setting up agent networks doesn’t require as much investment. Additionally, Fintechs and payment service operators bring advanced technologies that can reach more people at a lower cost.”

“The third area to focus on is education and information dissemination. We need to evaluate how much information is available and how many people are educated about the solutions and services accessible to them. This knowledge will empower them to embrace these services and solutions. Once we address these three factors, I believe Nigeria has a greater opportunity than other countries that have excelled in this area, primarily due to our large population and ongoing transformations.”

Discussing how MoMo PSB contributes to financial inclusion in rural areas, Hini explained that MoMo has effectively utilized the extensive retail networks of its parent company, MTN. By enlisting the retail network as agents, MoMo PSB has managed to extend its reach to even the most remote parts of Nigeria. He also mentioned that at the community level, MoMo collaborates with small businesses interested in providing agent services, enabling them to serve communities engaged in various forms of commercial or informal activities. “Our focus isn’t solely on Lagos; it’s wherever you find Nigerians in need of financial solutions, and we’re delivering those solutions through MoMo PSB,” Hini emphasized.

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