Nigeria will be the focus of a groundbreaking conference for Africa’s leading players in the fields of finance and telecom this May. Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), supported by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the MSME Project which is a joint pilot of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the World Bank, and the global microfinance body CGAP are pleased to announce “Transforming Access to Finance Through Branchless Banking.” The conference will highlight technologies used by pioneering organizations in the financial services industry, including microfinance organizations, to reduce costs and reach new customers.
“Nigeria has a great opportunity to unleash the economic potential of branchless banking. CGAP and GSMA estimate there are more than a billion people globally who have a cell phone but lack a bank account. This is a critical moment for increasing access to basic banking services,” said Jennifer Isern, Director for Africa at CGAP.
Over 300 delegates from more than 12 countries will hear from industry leaders from around the world as they provide in-depth and critical analysis on technology use and to increase access to finance. The event will provide a multi-sectoral, global view of mobile banking solutions and their potential for financial institutions. It will also enable lenders to assess different products and establish contacts with global providers of cutting-edge technologies attending the conference.
“One of EFInA’s key objectives is to promote innovation in the development and deployment of financial services and this conference will help spread knowledge regarding the huge potential there is to transform Nigeria’s financial sector at a time when it is urgent to draw more capital into the formal financial sector in creative ways. Working with our partners to create this event, we also want to draw together organisations and individuals working in the financial services sector throughout the country, to encourage collaboration, develop partnerships and exchange ideas to promote creativity in this rapidly evolving sector,” said Modupe Ladipo, CEO of EFInA.
“Transforming Access to Finance Through Branchless Banking” is being held as part of the annual Banking & Payment Technologies West Africa Conference, to be held at Muson Centre, Lagos, over 4-7 May. Organised by AITEC Africa, the overall theme of the conference is “Serving the customer through payment technologies”.
The event wil
l include an exhibition which will provide suppliers and developers of fi
nancial service technologies and innovations an opportunity to showcase their products.
EFInA’s mission is to make the Nigerian financial system work better, especially for the poor. Over the next three years, one of the core approaches that EFInA will use to extend financial inclusion in Nigeria is by establishing and operating an Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund is a special facility created within EFInA to promote innovation in the development and deployment of financial services by funding the excess risk associated with expanding financial access to the lower income segments in Nigeria. The Innovation Fund will award two types of grants: seed grants and innovation grants. Seed grants are small grants provided at an early stage to provide support (including research) for projects in design or development. Innovation grants provide larger funding ) to projects in EFInA’s target sectors. More at http://www.efina.org.ng
CGAP is an independent policy and research center dedicated to advancing financial access for the world's poor. It is supported by over 30 development agencies and private foundations who share a common mission to alleviate poverty. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP provides market intelligence, promotes standards, develops innovative solutions and offers advisory services to governments, microfinance providers, donors, and investors. More at http://www.cgap.org
About AITEC Africa
Established in 1987, AITEC Africa is the continent’s leading organizer of ICT conferences, exhibitions and training courses. It has pioneered the spread of ICT knowledge in a wide range of African countries through its publications and events. Founded and headed by Sean Moroney, it currently has offices in the UK, Nigeria and Kenya. More at http://www.aitecafrica.com
About the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Project (MSME)
MSME is a joint pilot project of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the World Bank designed to increase employment and value added in non-petroleum industries in the three target states of Abia, Kaduna, and Lagos. It has four components – Access to Finance under which it is supporting technical services to seven microfinance institutions, Business Development Services supporting at present 60 institutions in the three states, Investment Climate (including work on credit bureau regulation with the CBN, alternative dispute resolution, and secured lending against movables), and Public Private Dialogue. The assisted microfinance institutions serve over 400,000 clients and have over 50,000 outstanding loans.