‘Digital Enterprise Will Boost Future Development in Nigeria’

Leland Rice

Emma Okonji

The Chief Executive Officer of Dedalus Global, an investment advisory focused on emerging technology in emerging markets, Mr. Leland Rice, has said Nigeria’s future will be built on digital enterprises and not on oil.

Rice, who is also the Founder of Africa Fintech Summit, said this in an opening remark at the maiden edition of the Africa Fintech Summit held in Lagos recently.

The summit, which came up on the heels of its earlier edition in Washington, D.C. last April, discussed critical issues around emerging technologies, payment innovation and regulation, blockchain, investment, lending, and financial inclusion in Africa.

According to Rice, “The overall level of investor capital, political will, and collaboration around technology in general reflect a growing awareness that Nigeria’s future will be built not on oil and industry but on digital enterprise.”

He said Nigeria, with all its challenges, offers some of the greatest opportunities adding that its young people, endowed with entrepreneurism and accustomed to finding ways around barriers, possess a bias towards innovation.
That combination, in concert with demographic-driven demand, according to him, positions Nigeria as an important spot to watch on the global Fintech map.

“If you are into demographics you know that Nigeria is Africa’s largest market and that a whopping one-third of its 186 million people, which are between the age bracket of 15 and 35 years old, are tech savvy that are pure hustle and entrepreneurial in nature, and full of energy.

“There’s no doubt that Nigeria’s infrastructure and policy gaps hinder Fintech growth, but in many ways, they also fuel the innovation fire,” he said.

The summit, which was attended by more than 50 speakers and 500 finance professionals, tech enthusiasts, investors, and regulators, also featured a roundtable for the Global Start-up Virtual Conference 2019, which will air in February 2019.

It also featured an open banking roundtable on the development of API standards and a regulation roundtable on the industry responses to the draft guidelines for licensing and regulating payment service banks.
Outcomes from these roundtables would be published in the coming weeks, Rice said.

In a bid to recognise excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship, the summit also hosted awards ceremony, where winners emerged in different categories, such as Innovation, Excellence in Blockchain, Excellence in Payments, Excellence in Lending and Financing, Excellence in Artificial Intelligence (AI), among others.