By Chiazo Ogbolu and Florence Onuegbu
Lagos – Mrs Omokehinde Adebanjo, Vice President and Area Business Head, West Africa, MasterCard said the mobile phone was a crucial tool that would drive financial inclusion.
Adebanjo spoke on Wednesday at the Cashless Africa Expo 2017 held in Lagos with the theme: “Future of Finance”.
“More households in Africa own a mobile phone than has access to electricity or clean water.
“Nearly 70 per cent of the poorest of the population in developing countries own a mobile phone.
“Mobile transcends demographics, economic disparity and location and proven to be a crucial tool for driving financial inclusion,” she said.
Adebanjo said that one of Africa’s most important resource to its people, especially the younger generation was to have a digital revolution.
She said that Africans needed to tackle one of its biggest challenge over the past five years, which was how to reconcile the demands of its youths.
She said that there was need to expose tomorrow’s leaders to critical thinking and radical innovation, nurture and inspire them to join in the journey of digital and financial inclusion.
“In order to develop a digital economy, all citizens need to get behind the shift toward digital solutions.
“We all have one common enemy and that is cash. There is need to focus on driving cash out of the economy and ensure smarter and secure solutions are introduced, adopted and correctly supported.
“Digital payment solutions are here to stay and usage will explode in the coming years with the adoption of mobile solutions,” she said.
Adebanjo said that being financially included would give people opportunity to protect their future and give business owners the opportunity to grow and for the youths to achieve their dreams.
She said that the challenge of the future was not finding solutions to solve challenges facing the country but to ensure that once solutions were identified, they would be supported and implemented.
Mr Ayo Olademeji, the Director at E-Transat said that the future of transaction would be through the mobile phones as such people and businesses should position themselves in the right space.
He urged businesses to leverage on what consumers want by giving solutions that would solve present and future needs.
”The essence of economic activity is to create value and there be should solutions that will provide seamless services to the target to achieve financial inclusion.
”There is need to create awareness by leveraging in the National Youth Service Corps,” he said.
Dr Tayo Adesoji, the Executive Director, Grooming Centre, a microfinance institutions said that to talk about financial inclusion was about knowing people that would be included.
” There is need to feel the pulse of the people, their social issues and the value that will be added to them.
“Things should be made simple for the common man or woman and whatever will be done should be leveraged on what they are used to,” he said.
Mr Uwana Ekanem, an official of Netplus said that collaboration would enhance the way people do their services.
Mr Adeyinka Shorunbiased, an official of Ecobank said that cashless was not for financial institution but for the benefit of the economy and customers
He said that interoperability was important to make the process work.
“We need to educate people on the cost of cash; it being imported and for them to understand that electronic money is the same as ones cash,” he said.
The Cashless Africa Expo highlights the challenges and opportunities in the Financial Technology (Fintech) space in Africa.
It will provide knowledge and networking platform that will bring the African Fintech industry at par with its counterparts across the globe.
The summit will empower stakeholders to devise strategies that will help them keep pace with the evolving financial eco-system in this digital age.