While Stakeholder Honest Active Participation, Improved Identity Management & Data Validation as well as Active Legislation and Law Enforcement are critical to driving credit in the economy (as discussed in the first part of my article), there are yet several factors that should be addressed to create the ideal environment for achieving a credit-driven country.
Niche Market Specialization
To improve credit inclusion in the country, we must encourage market segmentation and specialization while also ensuring that key areas are not abandoned. We need to promote the study of different markets, what differentiates them and also create the framework to support businesses in such areas. For example, the market dynamics in Mile 12 market in Lagos may vary from that in Onitsha main market or Alade market in Ikeja.
Improved Borrower/Credit Education
Beyond having access to financial services, borrowing has been considered a mystery especially among small businesses across several sectors like agribusiness, manufacturing, education, etc. Research has shown that low access to credit and poor loan management are largely caused by inadequate borrower education which is often reflected in the quality of credit applications, engagement with providers as well as loan management. We need to adequately enlighten existing and prospective borrowers on how to access credit and manage the process carefully using multiple engagement strategies that speak to different strata of society.
[READ MORE: Three reasons why the naira is depreciating]
Promote Acceptable Technology and Process
When the process for accessing credit is simple and seamless, there will be a leap in the number of borrowers. Despite the influx of new technology and increase in Fintechs offering credit services, the number of unique borrowers has not grown at the expect loaned rate owing to the difficulty and the friction applicants face when requesting for loans. While some will prefer platforms such as mobile apps, others will favour USSD, web, social media or even paper. Hence, measures need to be put in place to provide credit to borrowers through the most suitable means for them.
Consistency of Support Services Providers and Vendors
We easily remember the credit providers and borrowers without considering the role of those that supply what the money is used for. For instance, asset finance, auto finance and mortgages depend largely on the quality of goods supplied. Quite often, people who purchase home appliances or equipment for business have an emotional connection to the performance of the item. If a vendor supplies a refrigerator purchased through a finance company and the appliance performs below par or packs up within a few months of purchase, the borrower will most probably “punish” the financial institutions by refusing to service the loan as agreed.
We need to always remember that people leverage the credit system to meet a need and credit is most impactful when borrowers can easily access goods and repay over a period. This system can only be supported by financial institutions and credit providers partnering with departmental stores, auto manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers or authorized dealers but the real success can only be recorded when the items are durable, of the highest quality and come with adequate warranty.
Culture Shift and National Orientation
If we want a credit-driven society with reduced emphasis on ‘cash only’ transactions, we must be open to the idea as a nation and educate ourselves. A situation where some have benefitted from the credit system in the country and lead a campaign against loans without properly educating the people is selfish. How do we expect genuine business owners to grow in the midst of dwindling opportunities? This is a collective effort and must be championed at all levels of government as well as the private sector and informal economy.
Provision of false information is also a predominant issue within the small business space which often leads to wrong assessments and defaults. Our economy will do better if the right information is shared.
Ensure Provision of Value
As a credit provider, if I am unable to improve your current situation, I will not extend the credit. We must be seen and confirmed to have delivered value to everybody we provide financial solutions or give loans to. This is especially important for prospective borrowers who are over-leveraged and still request for loans to meet a pressing need. It is advisable to counsel such customers and provide the best financial solution that will ultimately ease their financial burdens. Building a working credit system should not increase the burden on borrowers or lenders but ease the pressure on an already over-stretched society. Let us always ask, “What value am I bringing to the table?”
At the forefront of making Nigeria a credit-driven society is Zedcrest Capital Ltd. Led by Adedayo Amzat, CFA, the company through a range of subsidiaries including Zedvance and Zed Cap Partners, is redefining the nation’s financial landscape by providing cutting edge services to its teeming customers nationwide. Currently a top-three player across the brokerage, investment and consumer lending spaces, Zedcrest Capital is championing the financial inclusion thrust with a technological approach.
[READ FURTHER: CCNN Plc leads this week’s gainers as losses mount on the NSE]
Develop Homegrown Solutions, Human Capacity and Invest in Agriculture to Rebuild Africa; Experts say at UBA Africa Day Conversations
•Prioritise SMEs Development
•Advocate Partnerships between Private Sector and Government
African thought leaders and great minds have noted that the development of homegrown solutions and adequate investment in human capacity building and agricultural expansion are key steps that will help to rebuild Africa and put the continent on a stronger footing post Covid-19.
Analysing the theme ‘Domestic Policies, Regional Development and a Global Agenda: SDGs and African Development at Crossroads; the speakers collectively gave this submission during the second panel session of the 2020 edition of United Bank for Africa (UBA) African Day Conversations.
The virtual session, which was moderated by Veteran Journalist and Media Consultant, Eugenia Abu, was made up of thought leaders from across Africa, including the Regional CEO, UBA West Africa, Abiola Bawuah (Ghana); Senior Program Coordinator, Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes, Dr Nalishebo Meebelo (Zambia); Leadership Coach and Chairman, Go Ahead Africa Ltd, Roland Kwemain (Cameroon); Founder and Executive Director, Social Change Factory, Sobel Aziz Ngom (Senegal); Special Assistant to the President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi (Nigeria); and Social Entrepreneur and Founder, LEAP Africa, Ndidi Nwuneli (Nigeria).
Abiola Bauwah who emphasised how Africa should rely less on foreign donors, said, “There are five areas we should work on more for us to reach the SDG goals; the private sector; rapid industrialization; institutions and the rule of law; develop our human capital; remove the barriers across Africa. We should institute Africapitalism which is an economic philosophy that says that the human and capital resources of Africa are the only ways in which we can develop Africa.”
Nalishebo Meebelo noted that there’s a lot that young people can do along the value chain of manufacturing, transporting, technology and marketing, adding that, “Government cannot do it alone, they need to work with other stakeholders. Cut and paste solutions do not work for us here in Africa, we need to have our own homegrown solutions to fight this pandemic.”
Eugenia Abu, who focused on the huge role that women and youth must play in rebuilding the continent, said that Africa had to work together to provide solutions to its numerous challenges. “Women, entrepreneurial champions, young people and collaborations between African countries are very key to developing Africa,” she stated.
Ndidi Nwuneli who was saddened that the agricultural sector remained hugely untapped, emphasised the need for a change of mindset where people usually equated agriculture to poverty. “This is a $1 trillion industry and we are neglecting it; therefore my charge to you is that we invest in the agricultural sector, prioritize it, leverage it, transform our educational system to prepare our young people for this sector, change the mindset and trade with each other,” she explained.
Sobel Aziz Ngom pointed out the need for the youth to take charge in Africa. “It is time to not just serve young people, but to trust them to lead. The challenge that we have at the domestic and continental level is making the change in our structure and in the political system that give the place to young people to be 100% engaged,” Ngom stated.
In his own submission, Tolu Ogunlesi, said, “All over the countries young people are seizing opportunities, and we need to start thinking about how to make sure that this is not just for the age of COVID but for now and beyond COVID-19. Even if the pandemic was to disappear today, I hope that the lessons we’re learning, we’re not going to forget them and go back to where we used to be.”
For Roland Kwemain, more institutions need to tow the line of UBA in events such as UBA Africa Conversations. “If 100 multinationals in Africa were doing that UBA is doing, we would go far because CSR is an amazing leverage not just for the brand but also for supporting people & women in terms of activities. The truth is that we need partnership between the government, corporates and the civil society,” he said.
The United Bank for Africa is a leading pan-African financial institution offering banking services to more than twenty million customers globally. With footprint in 20 African countries and presence globally in the United Kingdom, the USA and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.
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CBN’s financial inclusion drive achievable with tech– Expert
Critical technology intervention such as CICOD Lyte would help businesses to thrive and scale above the hurdles of inefficiency, leakages and poor service delivery.
To help Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria achieve financial inclusivity and accelerated growth among Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), business processes will require integrated technology for optimum results.
This was revealed by the United Kingdom trained IT expert, Wumi Oghoetuoma, CEO, Crown Interactive. According to him, critical technology intervention such as CICOD Lyte would help businesses to thrive and scale above the hurdles of inefficiency, leakages and poor service delivery.
Ogboetuoma revealed this while unveiling Crown Interactive’s new offering, CICOD Lyte which will help grow and engender profitability among Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Shedding more light, the IT expert explains, “All organizations have business processes that enable them to deliver their products and services to their end-users. For many organizations in Nigeria, these processes are tracked manually, leading to inefficient operations, leakages and ultimately poor service delivery. Today, large organizations such as Eko Electricity Distribution Company and others currently use the CICOD Lyte solution provided by Crown Interactive to manage their key business processes and track their revenue flow.”
Explaining more, he disclosed, “CICOD Lyte provides customers with the ability to set up their online businesses immediately, manage orders, take payments and manage deliveries without the need for any technical skills. CICOD Lyte is currently offering a 30 days free trial period. Crown Interactive is offering fully integrated but modular systems that can be integrated into existing organizations’ software applications where required or operate independently to provide an unparalleled platform for automating key business processes.
Set up in 2005, Crown Interactive is a software company based in Lagos, Nigeria with a focus on delivering solutions that enable Customer Management, Workflow Management and Revenue Assurance. Wumi Oghoetuoma is a graduate of Computer Science from Kingston University, UK. His career spans over 20 years across various continents providing technology and business analysis services for global organizations such as Oracle Corporation, AOL, Virgin Media, Altech UEC and Thompson Reuters