For the nation to achieve the 95 per cent target for financial inclusion by 2024 set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the country needs to accelerate the growth rate in the industry, the General Manager, Mobile Financial Services, MTN Nigeria, Usoro Usoro, said at the weekend.

Usoro made this known this during an interactive virtual session by The Economist Intelligence Unit based on a report entitled: ‘State of Play: Fintech in Nigeria’, sponsored by MTN Nigeria and Mastercard.

The webinar hosted by Camelia Oros, Managing Director, CT Productions, featured presentations by Irene Mia, Global Editorial Director, Thought Leadership and Melanie Noronha, Senior Editor, Thought Leadership, EMEA both of The Economist Intelligence Unit.

The webinar also featured presentations by Usoro and Ebehijie Momoh, Senior Vice President, General Manager, West Africa, Mastercard.

The session reviewed topics tackled in the Nigerian Fintech report, assessing industry drivers and impediments to further growth.

He said: ‘Fintech and financial inclusion is an important area for MTN Nigeria. We always see ourselves as a company that drives economic growth and development everywhere we operate.

Working with The Economist team and similar stakeholders to produce reports, such as this stimulate debate and conversation around the challenges in the sector and how we can work together as an industry to drive our desired objectives.

‘The CBN’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy, which was revised in 2019, has set a financial inclusion target to 95 per cent by 2024.

It is barely five years from now and we need a collaborative approach by stakeholders in the industry to ensure that all players can leverage their various assets to meet that target. Relatively, Nigeria has more sophisticated products than many other countries on the continent.

The challenge is in accessibility and how these products will not only improve convenience for the already banked but further drive inclusion while addressing how we can bring this last batch of 40 million customers that are traditionally excluded into the fold.

Overall, I think we are in the right direction, and studies, such as this, serve the purpose of stimulating conversation that will provide solutions to the challenges we face as an industry.’

Plans to launch the report to a wide selection of stakeholders in the Nigerian Fintech industry were underway but had to be postponed due to the restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Economist Intelligence Unit confirmed that details of the physical event will be shared at a later date.