The Nigerian FinTech industry is nascent compared to FinTech ecosystems globally. However, it is maturing at an exponential pace according to a report on the Nigerian FinTech landscape titled, “Nigeria FinTech Census 2020: Profiling and defining the fintech sector.”
This growth of the sector is reflected in the profile of the firms, the breadth of coverage, the increasing level of global connection and rising levels of profitability.
Nigeria is classified as a developing FinTech economy compared to its more mature global peers such as the UK, Singapore, Australia, Sweden and India. It is estimated that Nigeria’s FinTech revenues will reach $543 million by 2022, driven by increasing smartphone penetration and the unbanked populations.
In 2019, Nigeria officially recognized its first FinTech unicorn, with Interswitch achieving a valuation of $1 billion based on a $200 million investment from VISA. Following shortly in 2020, Stripe, a US-based financial services company, agreed to buy Paystack in a $200 million deal, just five years after Paystack was launched.
From the report, there are six broad FinTech segments supported by an ecosystem of enablers namely:
Payments, Mobile Money and Digital Banking
Payments continue to be a major focus area for investors with demand driven by favourable policies promoting financial inclusion, and growth in infrastructure supporting mobile payments. Nigeria is increasingly becoming a cashless economy largely due to the regulatory drive for financial inclusion promoting growth in digital payments.
Digital lending remains a thriving FinTech sub-sector driven largely by retail lending. A large number of Fintech’s are leveraging payments data to create unique credit scoring models to enable retail lending. Some examples include Carbon, Fairmoney, Aella Credit and Branch.
Commercial banks are also responding by developing strong digital retail lending propositions to compete with the FinTechs (e.g. GTBank QuickCredit, Access Bank’s QuickBucks and Sterling Bank’s Specta).
Savings, investments and crowdfunding
Savings, investments and crowdfunding are growth opportunity areas for Fintechs, however recent regulations are expected to spur significant industry changes. Fintechs in this space offer an attractive bouquet of products often with better interests and return on investments compared to traditional banks.
Enterprise Services & Infrastructure
FinTechs are also providing solutions and infrastructure to help banks digitize and extend their services. FinTechs in this space are providing critical infrastructure to help banks digitize and extend their services. This includes API providers who connect bank accounts to third-party applications (e.g. Okra, OnePipe, Mono), credit infrastructure providers (Migo, Pngme), and banking enterprise solution providers (e.g. AppZone, FinTrak, Seamfix).
Strong growth in local cryptocurrency adoption has evolved a new crop of Crypto-FinTechs. However, recent CBN circulars on cryptocurrency adversely impact short-term sustainability. Nigeria has witnessed growing cryptocurrency adoption, driven by a predominantly young digital-savvy population, inflationary local currency, stringent foreign exchange policies on both inflows and outflows, and a high demand for remittances among Nigeria’s diaspora.
InsurTech remains a nascent but emerging segment of the Nigerian FinTech industry. Nigeria’s InsurTech segment is a relatively small but growing subsector of the FinTech industry, with less than 15 FinTechs estimated to be playing in this space.
Initial InsurTech solutions focused on improving access to insurance by providing marketplaces for insurance (e.g. Compare Insurance, Autogenius). These platforms provided improved customer experience, and have since extended their offerings towards providing more value-added services to consumers. For instance, Autogenius enables renewal and registration of vehicle documents.
As the Nigerian FinTech industry continues to grow, there is enormous potential for the industry to mature into a compelling force within the African FinTech landscape, as well as become a significant player on the global stage. Two fundamental foundations for continued success will include the level of effective collaboration with major players and the level of government support.