“Financial inclusion must be complemented by education”


In this interview with BUNMI BAILEY, Lekan Akinjide, Director of Partnerships at NowNow, a fast-growing digital finance and banking platform, expresses the company’s commitment to deepening financial inclusion in rural and urban communities in Nigeria. through innovative financial solutions and financial education.

Excerpts:

NowNow has a unique commitment to deepening financial inclusion through financial education and innovative payment solutions. Please explain this direction and progress towards this goal?

We are committed to contributing to Nigeria’s financial inclusion campaign. We have a unique process for achieving this that we believe is incremental. We strongly believe that financial inclusion must be complemented by financial education.

In this regard, we recently partnered with a world-renowned leading Nigerian educational institution to provide financial literacy directly to Nigerians. Our initial offer will be centered on women before extending to students and then to other sub-categories.

Our strategy to focus on women builds on the statistics that women are among the most financially vulnerable groups and represent a higher percentage of financially excluded people in Nigeria.

NowNow Digital Systems was founded in 2018. Can you tell us about the company’s product innovation since launching in Nigeria and the outlook for the future?

We are not only building a strong financial ecosystem for the underserved population overlooked by traditional banking services, but we are also providing innovative financial services to a generation that is happy to conduct financial transactions with Fintech solutions.

The NowNow mobile wallet allows users to easily perform secure financial transactions such as money transfers and bill payments. In addition, our technology is agile and scalable, allowing us to adapt at any time. Soon we will introduce revolutionary financial services and solutions to make transactions easier for Nigerians.

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Your company has been recognized with several awards, including the award for best fintech mobile solution in the Leaders in Fintech Awards. How would you describe NowNow’s impact on the fintech ecosystem in Africa?

These awards show that the company is playing a positive role in deepening financial inclusion in Africa, but financial inclusion is only one facet of our goal. We are also aware that with only 6% fintech penetration, there is still a long way to go. To begin with, we are extending our services to Nigeria and other African countries.

What product and service benefits does NowNow bring to Nigerians looking to access transparent financial services?

Our product team has developed many exciting products. Our products for small and medium businesses and consumers provide Nigerians with simple and secure solutions along with an extensive list of integrated third-party offerings, ranging from simple bill payment to large retail entities. Behind it all is a customer-centric approach with a 99% transaction success rate as one of our pillars of success.

Individual users of our platform can send and receive transfers, purchase airtime and top up data through their mobile phones, while small and large businesses can collect payments from customers using our platform. A central vertical of the NowNow ecosystem is the agent network. NowNow agents use the merchant application to provide access to financial services to customers with or without a bank account.

With fierce competition in Nigeria’s digital banking space, how does the company ensure that it stays at the forefront of innovation?

During the first years of our existence, we focused on developing in-house products that the market would not only want but also easily absorb. Thanks to our product team, we have designed innovative products that solve our users’ problems and ensure fast, secure and transparent payments and financial transactions.

You were recently selected as one of the few startups in the world to join Mastercard’s Start Path program for the year. Can you tell us more about this?

NowNow is one of eight startups and is the only African startup selected to participate in this global program for the year. The Mastercard Start Path Global Program is an award-winning startup engagement program within the Mastercard Developers Portfolio that aims to support startups and help them scale technology solutions for the payments and financial services industries at scale. world. Building the future of commerce, Mastercard Developers provide the services and tools fintech innovators need to iterate through every stage of their journey, transforming bold ideas and scaling at the pace needed to attract more people to the digital economy. .

Through Start Path, Mastercard will provide us with operational support, business engagement and a strategic investment opportunity.

This program will undoubtedly provide us with support to co-create, gain expert knowledge and reach a global customer base for the world’s brightest startups. At the core of it, we aim to provide best in class financial services in Nigeria and Africa would surely benefit from the opportunity to collaborate with other innovative startups across the globe, to achieve this.

What should the public expect in the future with NowNow regarding financial solutions and digital banking services and products?

We aim to be a constantly evolving solution and service provider. We understand that our current product offering is what our consumers need to solve their financial payment issues today. However, our technology allows us to adapt to the needs and desires of our market. Our goal is to be inclusive in our wide range of upcoming offerings.

How does NowNow ensure that its business strategies and operations are aligned with the current business environment in Nigeria?

NowNow has always focused on operational efficiency since its inception. This allows us to build a diverse portfolio of products and be the engine to meet the demands of an incredibly diverse market like Nigeria.

How would you describe the future of banking and fintech in Africa with regard to emerging technologies?

Fintech is not the future, but the present. Change will always come, and we have to be ready for it. With only 6% fintech penetration in Africa, NowNow is positioning its brand as a leader in the African space. We will continue to provide a range of solutions that will facilitate payments in Africa.

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