On Friday 19 October, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) organised a workshop in Lagos on the theme of 'Digitisation, Disruption & Financial Inclusion' bringing together more than 500 attendees, and 28 speakers and panel discussants.
In his opening remarks, Chief Executive Officer of NSE, Oscar N. Onyema, OON, said that over the past few years, the finance industry in Nigeria has experienced tremendous transformation caused by disruptive technologies, with Nigerian customers becoming accustomed to the digital experience offered by companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook with the use of smartphones. "According to research, smartphone penetration in Nigeria is estimated at 28%, with 76% of internet traffic routed through the mobile phone. In response to the exponential growth in mobile phone usage by an exploding young population, banks are adopting new technologies with a customer-centric focus to make financial services more inclusive and to provide a superior customer experience in the access and use of capital. In the capital market eco-system, digitalisation is fast gaining momentum, as purpose-built solutions are being developed to reduce redundancies, cut costs and increase efficiencies for greater transparency and alpha returns. To ensure that Nigeria remains a globally competitive investment destination, we need to deepen the collaborative effort among market stakeholders to determine which emerging technologies to pursue within our markets and local context.”
Mary Uduk, Acting Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) spoke about how the regulatory body was focused on serving as an enabler for innovation and technology that will drive financial inclusion in the country, and commented: “The SEC, together with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other sister regulatory agencies, have made important contributions to the progress of financial inclusion through valuable guidance and active involvement in the National Financial Strategy (NFS), aimed at reducing adult exclusion from financial services to 20% by 2020. NSE is poised to contribute to and share even more insights in the collaborative quest to make the Nigerian economy a financially inclusive one." She added that financial inclusion is an integral part of inclusive growth strategies and should be closely integrated into macroeconomic and financial policies, using digitised finance mechanisms. “When financial systems become more inclusive, they help broaden financial markets and make policies more effective. By bringing more sections of the population into the formal sector, the effects of market-deepening initiatives are better expanded."
Senior Special Assistant to the President on ICT, Mr Olarenwaju Osibona congratulated the NSE for hosting the workshop, and told stakeholders that the Federal Government was working to reposition Nigeria as a strategic nation driven by digital technology.