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Tech experts call for innovative business models at Nigeria’s inaugural TechNovation conference


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STAKEHOLDERS in Nigeria’s fintech sector say embracing innovative business models and tech stacks will help build a thriving tech start-up ecosystem and create more opportunities.

This was disclosed at a virtual conference via Zoom titled ‘NGX Technovation Conference’ organised by the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), one of the leading markets in Africa by market capitalisation, on Thursday.

Speaking at the event,  Founder of Flutterwave, Africa’s leading payments technology company, Olugbenga Agboola, in his keynote address, said scaling Nigeria’s technological infrastructure would build a thriving eco-system for small tech companies.

“It is my personal opinion that founders and regulators are the biggest stakeholders in bridging the technology infrastructure gap in the country. Unless founders and regulators collaborate more, we can’t improve the value chain in the tech ecosystem,” he said.

Agboola also said that developing adaptable business models would help facilitate the growth of small fintech companies and create an enabling environment for tech companies.

“Tech companies need to be adaptable. For instance, they should be able to merge payment, commerce and logistics infrastructure together like Jumia did a few years back.

“It is when we are able to achieve things like this, when we have built tech infrastructure, that small companies existing less than 10 years can scale to be able to list on the floor of Nigeria Stock Exchange,” he said.

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Also speaking at the event,  President of Africa Fintech Network Segun Aina noted that COVID-19 fast-tracked technology innovations by 10 years and was now Africa’s future.

During the event, a panel session provided a perspective on the strategies for innovative new technologies that would shape the emerging market in Nigeria.

The panellists included: Olumide Bolumole, Divisional Head, Listings Business, NGX; Iniabasi Akpan, Country Manager, Opay Nigeria; Abasi Ene-Obong of 54Gene, Iyin Aboyeji of Futures Africa and Kola Eyitope -Oyeneyin, of McKinsey & Company.

Eyitope identified three key technology trends that would shape Nigeria’s tech ecosystem in a few years, namely, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing.

She explained that affordable access to digital training for youths was a catalyst for technology innovation.

“Fintech founders need to understand the problem first before building solutions, and digital fluency is a key requirement to participate in the global economy. 

“Anything that can be done by different stakeholders to massively (re)skill people to be digitally fluent will go a long way to giving people access to job opportunities globally,” she said.

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Olumide said long-term growth and goals of fintech companies over short-term profitability would ensure that fintech companies meet the listing metrics to be on the floor of the Nigerian Stock exchange.

A second-panel session also shed light on Beyond Tech –Partnerships, Business Models, Innovation, Data and Regulation in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem.

The panellists included: Dayo Obisan, Executive Commissioner (Operations), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); Kola Aina, Founding Partner, Ventures Platform; Andreas Itern, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, F10; Alessia Balducci, Seedstars Nigeria, and Chidinma Iwueke, Partner, Microtraction.

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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