West Africa has undergone several transformative changes over the last few years. In Nigeria, the fall of oil prices led to a recession and a shortage of foreign currency reserves that lasted into the first half of 2017. Things have peaked since and Nigeria‘s economy has seen growth. Meanwhile, the population of Nigeria’s commercial city Lagos has continued to grow at an astounding rate and foreign direct investment has fuelled many industrial projects around the country. These macroeconomic conditions have prompted the need for sweeping change across the spectrum of financial services; where there is need to be less dependent on commodities and more reliant on sustainable domestic growth, namely in agriculture, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and telecommunications.
Banking and financial technology are said to be the tools helping emerging economies all across the world leapfrog into the 21st century by helping bridge the service gap to financially excluded populations, particularly through the use of mobile apps and agency banks. Digital channels promise to expand outreach into rural areas, where bank branches do not exit. However, while investing in technology, and the infrastructure that supports it, is relatively easy, making adequate use of it and building an organisational culture that embraces it can be a roadblock for many. Being able to maintain your banking institution agile enough to face continuous challenges in an evolving economic climate are essential in today’s world.
It is a decisive for banks, regulatory agencies, and fintech players, in Nigeria and West Africa to seize the opportunities and face existing challenges. The Future of Finance, West Africa 2018 will gather experts from the financial service industry to explore new ideas on modernising financial services in a way that will be both beneficial to customers and profitable for financial institutions.
Key working sessions include: