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Africa’s Fintech space jam-packed but there’s room for more

Pelumi Aboluwarin, CTO of  Nomba.
Pelumi Aboluwarin, CTO of Nomba.

Despite intensive and growing interest in Africa’s Fintech space, there is still room to accommodate more service providers.

This is according to Pelumi Aboluwarin, CTO of Nigeria-based omnichannel payment platform Nomba (formerly Kudi).

“We believe that everyone is entitled to have their payment needs met, regardless of their degree of technological adoption. Our job in this space, like many other Fintechs, is to create solutions that welcome everyone into the digital economy, giving them access to the payment tools they need to thrive, whether they are connected or not,” Aboluwarin told ITWeb Africa.

The Fintech market, including Fintech-focused start-ups, has been on the receiving end of funding and global attention. Research shows that in 2021 alone half of the US$5-billion raised by African start-ups was directed to Fintech companies on the continent.

A report by KPMG on the rise of Fintech funding states, “There is a race to scale unfolding, as entrants look to deploy their funds and acquire customers. In what remains a fragmented market, we are likely to see some consolidation over the coming years as winners (and losers) emerge. One thing is for sure - it won’t be dull.”

Statista states that Nigeria had 144 Fintech alone in 2021. The growth of the number of Fintech companies in Nigeria has led to online debate, with some people describing the market as a lot of companies solving the same problem.

The analysis and market research firm ranks South Africa first in terms of the number of Fintech startups at 154, while Kenya is in third place with 93 entities by half-year 2021, according to Statista.

Regulatory challenges

Regulation is another influence that continues to impact digital payments.

Aboluwarin refers to the situation in Nigeria as an example and said there has been a regulatory push to establish an open banking model to promote competition and “liberalise” the Fintech space.

“The regulators in Nigeria are consistently working with fintech, neo-banks and all significant stakeholders to maintain balance, growth and innovation in the financial ecosystem,” the CTO added.

Nomba currently has about 150,000 businesses on its platform and is processing US$500-million in monthly, underpinning the demand for digital payment and banking products.

It plans to raise the number of businesses on its platform to 350,000.

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