By Niyi Tabiti: Today, we are bringing you live updates from Accion Microfinance Bank Financial Inclusion Seminar 2018. The event is taking place at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island,Lagos. Gistmaster will be bringing you news and photos from the event.
Accion financial inclusion seminar is intended to offer a platform for attendees to connect, engage and learn from each other about the challenges and opportunities they face in leveraging digital technologies to scale up and deepen outreach to the financially underserved and excluded segments of the population in Nigeria.
In this pursuit, Accion Microfinance Bank brings together visionary key speakers and power panels to provide insights on emerging trends, challenges and updates on digital technologies that are changing this space in Nigeria.
Disruptive technologies and changing customer demands are driving fundamental transformation of the financial service industry and the related regulatory environment that deserves a conversation.
This year’s financial inclusion series aims at engaging a larger and diverse community of experts, regulators, practitioners and other stakeholders.
About the seminar
The theme is “Digitization as a tool for deepening financial inclusion and the role of regulation” and the conversation revolves around three critical sub – themes as follows:
- The very nature of digitization entails engaging non-financial services providers in a web of complex partnership arrangements. Such arrangements may not guarantee service quality and might lead to malpractices.
- Digital Finance is a low human touch service continuum. The provider and the ultimate consumer may never meet face to face. In order for the newly banked to have trust and confidence in storing and accessing their little savings in digital formats, there is need to explore emerging risks for DFS usage and approaches in establishing consumer protection frameworks that can instill confidence and trust among the newly banked population.
- Multiple regulatory jurisdiction is an evolving aspect of the digital space. The most common dual regulatory jurisdiction is the one between the Central bank and the Communications Commission. The major question is mainly coordination and collaboration among the regulators in manner that guarantees efficient flow of transactions within the eco-system. For example, where is the convergence in regard to financial product pricing and the channel pricing?
- Digital finance technology has ushered in new providers such as nonbank e-money issuers (EMIs), that creates a key role for agents in serving clients, and reaching customers who have otherwise been excluded or underserved. This in turn brings new risks and new ways to mitigate them. This is likely to create panic among regulators leading to over regulation. The conversation should then be on how regulation might have to adapt to enable digital finance models that have potential to advance financial inclusion and how these enablers have been implemented in practice.
- Lastly there is the question of inter-operability and the extent to which institutions are able to interconnect. How can this be supervised at regulatory level.
- Customer Centered Product Design
The conversation around customer centered product design revolves around two major questions:
- What are the emerging best practices and approaches that financial Institutions are using to develop market relevant and quality digital products and services?
- What kind of digital products are being offered in Nigeria, and what are the existing barriers for scaling them up?
- Emerging Business models
The growth of digital finance is enabling new business models, financing schemes, and payment mechanisms that can help expand access to financial services and improve the lives of low-income people. This conversation entails a discussions around the following questions?
- What are the emerging business models that are shaping the state of bank branch distribution under the era of digital financial services? And what are the emerging non-finance and financial services partnerships?
- What kind of opportunities should providers seek, in the partnerships that have emerged in the digital space?
- To what extent does the partnerships between financial and non-financial actors in the digital finance eco-system shape and strengthen the financial super structure.
Established in 2006 Accion Microfinance Bank has been at the center of a wave of evolutions and innovations in the provision of financial services to the financially underserved and excluded markets in Nigeria. Over the 10 years Accion Microfinance Bank together with its shareholders and partners, have been able to gain a wealth of practical knowledge and experiences that can help to enhance the growth of the financial services industry and also contribute to development of initiatives across the industry aimed at demystifying financial exclusion in Nigeria.
In this pursuit, in 2017 in order to commemorate its 10th Anniversary, the Board and management of Accion Microfinance Bank resolved to conduct a Financial Inclusion Seminar on an Annual basis. On one hand this provides an opportunity for Accion Mfb to enrich innovative initiatives for financial inclusion in the Nigerian Financial services space by disseminating and sharing practical knowledge and experiences gained over a decade of our existence operating in this market; and to create a platform for collaborative learning and experience sharing that shall help inform policy initiatives and standardization of best practices more especially in offering digital products and services more responsibly.