The 10th edition of the Standard Bank West Africa Investors’ Conference (WAIC) has commenced. The three-day event holding in Lagos, began on Tuesday, 17 September 2019, and will end on Friday, 20 September 2019. The year’s edition is themed: “Prism of Possibilities.”
The West Africa Investors’ Conference is hosted by Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC and provides a platform for bringing together foreign and local institutional investors, fund managers, regulators and policy makers, bankers, businessmen and captains of industry among others, to engage and explore growth potentials and opportunities in Nigeria.
Dr. Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC said that this year’s edition is geared towards deliberately showcasing investment potentials in Nigeria. He said: “The West Africa Investors’ Conference serves as a veritable platform to match investors to investment opportunities. The idea is to be able to showcase the potential investments inherent in Nigeria to individual and institutional investors who are looking to invest in the different sectors in the Nigerian economy.”
The highlight of the opening day of the conference was a panel discussion on advancing FinTech frontiers in Nigeria. According to Dr. Sogunle, this year’s edition of the conference dedicated its panel session to FinTechs due to their significant role in the Nigerian economy. He said: “The Nigerian financial system as we know it is being disrupted with the introduction of innovative products and services. There is also the need for FinTechs to see potential areas of alignment with financial institutions. We hosted this panel session to create a platform for FinTechs to interact with serious minded frontier-market focused fund managers for possible areas of engagement. We also carefully chose the panelists based on their professionalism and years of expertise.
Speakers at the panel session were Akeem Lawal, Divisional CEO, Switching and Processing, Interswitch, Olugbenga Agboola, Co-Founder, Flutterwave and Iniabasi Akpan, Country Manager, O’Pay.
Interswitch’s Akeem Lawal stated that banks that don’t evolve, risk becoming extinct. He further added that 95% of financial transactions in Nigeria are still cash-based; which presents an opportunity for FinTechs and financial institutions to tap into in terms of expanding the frontiers of financial inclusion in Nigeria. He further advocated for a collaboration amongst FinTechs and financial institutions.
In his remarks, Akpan, Country Manager of O’Pay said he does not foresee a future where the rise of FinTechs will negatively impact the services of banking institutions. He however stated that banks need to be more agile in service delivery while also upgrading their infrastructure to enable seamless connectivity with FinTechs.
Gbenga Agboola, Co-Founder and CEO of Flutterwave stated that the Nigerian FinTech industry was not lacking in talent to take up roles. He added that his company, Flutterwave, has attracted skilled employees from leading banks and consultancy firms. He also reiterated the need for collaboration among FinTechs, financial institutions and telecom companies for better service delivery to customers.
Nigeria still remains an attraction for foreign investments as the country’s economy continues to experience growth.
Perhaps no organization is better positioned to host an Investors’ Conference than Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC.
According to the Nigerian Capital Importation report of the National Bureau of Statistics, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, was responsible for 30.34% of the total capital inflow into the country in 2019. The bank has so far recorded $1.765 billion worth of investments this year.
The WAIC event featured one-to-one meetings amongst investors, aimed at offering further insights into investment opportunities in Nigeria.