Kantar TNS, a consumer and marketing strategy company recently held a summit on Fintech in Nigeria with the theme: Payments of tomorrow and the changing consumer. The summit focused on the challenges and opportunities digitalization presents in the Fintech Industry and helps identify how to win in today’s market place. After the summit which attracted players in the Fintech industries, Aggrey Maposa, the CEO of Kantar Nigeria told BusinessDay in this interview that strategy and consumer insight matter in a world where digital technology has created seemingly endless new financial payment possibilities.
Aggrey Maposa, CEO of Kantar Nigeria
What are you taking away from this forum on Fintech?
There is a lot of hope and positivism around the development of Fintech and payment system in Nigeria. Different stakeholders in Fintech have expressed themselves today and the message is very clear that Fintech is here to stay. It is not just talk but it is here to stay because there is a real need for change. The task for many people and those offering the service is to understand the consumers’ need that would make the industry sustainable. The regulatory sector plays a very much part in helping us build the industry and make it grow.
Why do you think the topic is apt this time?
It is very important because the world around us is changing. In 2009, we began to look at how digital is affecting the economies and consumers. The economy has changed, the world has changed. We now live in global, digital economy and because of that, one of the key things that makes money gets to businesses is through payment. There is no way that payment can be left out of the whole changing environment. It is critical that in line with all the changes we are seeing that payments are involved. It is also essential not only for companies to change, but that Fintech companies generate substantial profits like Remita. It is not about following because the world is changing but it is about business opportunities that pay well, that is sustainable. For instance, MPESA is now a part of SafriCom in Kenya. Companies that did not transform themselves enough against MPESA are struggling. Businesses are transforming and if companies don’t do it now as there is a time window, the opportunity is gone and somebody else will utilise it.
You are into research and marketing strategy but you are organising a forum on Fintech, what is the correlation?
We are a consulting company and we help our clients grow, solve their problem and their challenge is our challenge. When we see that there is a real need, it is important for us to bring our clients of like minds together so that we can discuss strategies for growth. The event is part of Kantar renewed strategy to get closer to solving our clients’ problems.
Fintech in Nigeria has come to stay, but what is your assessment of the industry in Nigeria today?
It is vibrant and what is very exciting about the Fintech industry is that though it is coming later, and considering that Nigeria is an economic leading nation in Africa, we would have thought that the Fintech market would have grown further than the present stage. We are coming a bit late but the nation is doing so well compared to other nations. In the last 3-4 years the industry has grown by over 90 percent. It is said that there is over 400 Fintech organisations working with Africa Fintech organisation. These are all entrepreneurs and different groups providing solutions.
What is driving this growth in the Fintech industry?
The growth is driven by the real need. There is a need and there is an opportunity. When GSM entered Nigeria, Nigerians where happy that they can phone each other and most people did not realise what was happening. What happened was a whole change and creation of a new platform for business. The whole GSM and network industry created a huge opportunity that is allowing businesses to follow through. The network, digital and the need from the consumers are there looking for solutions. The banks now realise that it is not how many bank branches, as many people are not using those branches as before. There is real need and huge opportunity in the economy.
Are you saying that Fintech has impacted hugely on the economy, assist to solve clients’ challenges and provide job opportunities?
It is already doing so. Imagine the 400 Fintech firms working with Africa Fintech Organisation and many of them are at infancy. And each of them has its own niche of providing solution to a particular sector. This is the new economy. Before now we had an economy that is based on crude oil, manufacturing and others, but the new economy is digital. Look at top 10 companies in the world, they are the Apples, Googles, Facebook and others. In fact this is the new economy and Kantar wants to be seen to promote it. Therefore the point on regulation has to be looked into. Another point is collaboration and we need to be looking at how ministries and institutions within government can collaborate with each other. It is clear that Fintech needs a lot of support from technology departments of government but it also needs the guidance, advice and monitoring from authorities like the CBN. There is need to have the government and public departments working together to see that they can support this new platform for business development.
Are there examples of countries that employed Fintech to drive their economy?
Fintech manifests in different forms and that is why speakers at the forum said that they do not see Nigeria being a follower in Fintech market. They see Nigerian being a leader because it is leading its own form of Fintech which is different from countries like S/Africa. Though South Africa is doing so well in Fintech with its peculiar needs and penetration of banks to customers. You can send money to someone and he would collect it through ATM. Kenya is a classic example where their GDP goes through MPESA, the mobile platform. Fintech manifests in different forms. There are certain things that have given consumers trust and security like BVN, banks are coming up with USSD platforms which they use to pay. Nigeria is now growing from a combination of these models. But there are some models, where Nigeria is yet to get to which have been done so well in other markets. For instance, Econet which has worked very well in Zimbabwe where the number of people who are insured through the mobile platform are higher than the number of people insured in Nigeria. Under Fintech, people can borrow money like in Kenya without going to the bank because the whole system can read all your transactions as the system knows how money comes in and how it goes out. So when you ask for loan, they know that you are trustworthy and then they can lend you money easily.
What is your take on Fintech and Cyber Security?
Cyber security remains a challenge but not only to Nigeria but globally. But there are a lot of security strategies beyond what the consumers know. We need to educate people on how secure the platforms are. Secondly, there is the need for the technology companies and Fintech companies to have a very strong back end. You need to have the check and balances that if there is too much activity in your account from different angles and all happening close to each other, there should be intelligence system that should monitor and block the account and confirm to the account owner whether he/she is the one making the transactions. It is only when the customer gives go-ahead that transactions can continue.