Osinbajo: FG Will Partner African FinTech Foundry to Boost Technology Innovation

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Emma Okonji

Impressed with the level of technology innovation at African FinTech Foundry (AFF), a technology hub that is financed by Access Bank, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the federal government will support AFF hub to further boost technology innovation in the country.

Osinbajo, who made the promise on Tuesday during a visit to the AFF hub in Lagos, assured Nigerians of the federal government’s commitment to establish a technology hub at the University of Lagos, and in six additional universities across the six geopolitical regions of the country. The Vice President also called on well-meaning organisations to support government on the initiative, insisting that it is the best way to grow the Nigerian economy technologically.

“The federal government is currently working on an initiative to take Information Technology (IT) challenges to tertiary institutions across the country, designed to groom the best technology innovators among students,” Osinbajo said.

The future is about innovation and I am happy to know that Access Bank is already ahead of technology innovation through its African FinTech Foundry. I am impressed with what Access Bank is doing with its tech hub to cause a lot of disruptions in the technology space, and I am excited to know that the bank is creating job opportunities through its AFF hub, Osinbajo added during the visit.

Chairman of the bank, Mrs. Mosun Belo-Olusoga, said: “Technology has enhanced access to capital, expertise and distribution and has supported the storage of data and the way data is used. It presents opportunities of financial services to people and organisations across continents. At Access Bank, we align with global standard, best practices, while maintaining cultural identities and digital knowledge that enable us to react to local realities.”

Access Bank is driving financial inclusion by extending banking services to new businesses and individuals. We take advantage of technology revolution that is changing the face of banking globally, she said.

“Our target is to activate 35 million new customers in the next five years, and we are leveraging technology to achieve it. We recognise that access to financial services is key to national development, and as such we remain fully committed to promoting financial services to the excluded and underserved Nigerians,” Belo-Olusoga added.

The Executive Director, Information Technology and Operations at Access Bank, Mr. Ade Bajomo, in his welcome address, said
in order to drive financial inclusion, the bank is ken about three initiatives about Artificial Intelligence (AI) Products and Services, PayDay Advance and Managing Bank Risks.

Our AI initiative allows customers to do banking transactions from any location, using their mobile phones. PayDay initiative allows us to serve customers better in the digital age, while focusing on available data. It enables us to use data in a very smart way to serve our customers better. Risk Management is another initiative that we take very seriously in order to save bank customers from internal and external theft, including bank robbery. We take significant measures and steps to protect all forms of financial transactions across all our channels, Banjomo said.

Speaking on the bank’s support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the Executive Director, Business Banking at Access Bank, Titi Osuntoki, said: “In Access Bank, we are committed to growing the Small and Medium Enterprise sector in Nigeria, because we had since realised that SMEs are the fulcrum bedrock of any economy.

“We started SME business as a bank about five years ago, and within a space of five years, we have given out loans in excess of N60 million to SMEs. We identify the viable sectors of the economy and we support them with loan facilities that will help them in their businesses.”

According to her, today the bank has about 250,000 SME accounts, with plans to double the number in the next five years, leveraging on digital solutions to achieve the feat.