Fintech and digital talents are top priorities for Nigeria financial services

08 July 2019 4 min. read

Productivity is high on the agenda for financial services firms in Nigeria, while the biggest challenge for the sector at present is tackling the growing threat from mobile payment firms and financial technology applications, according to a new report from global professional services firm PwC.

Nigeria is among the largest economies in Africa, which positions it as a major driver for economic growth on the continent. The country is also home to the largest population in the region, which makes it a substantial market in terms of scale. The prosperity and size of the market combine to make it a forerunner in terms of economic trends.

One such trend is the rapid evolution of the financial services sector, a phenomenon that is currently prevalent across the global economy. The biggest change that the sector appears to be going through is the advent of digital applications that are changing the nature of financial transactions.

Where productivity benefits most

A range of financial activity can now be carried out on digital platforms, which increases the speed and scale of transactions, in addition to transforming the entire infrastructure required to facilitate this activity. Nigeria has been grappling with these changes significantly in recent years.

Fintech has become a major part of the Nigerian financial services sector, which has posed a significant challenge to the major banking corporations in the country. As a result, larger financial institutions in the country have been pushed to develop their digital capabilities in order to feed the growing demand across the country.

The advent of Fintech has also presented an opportunity for a number of smaller firms, which are able to eat into the market share of larger banks by virtue of developing advanced and highly convenient Fintech applications. Businesses are beginning to recognise this potential of Fintech in Nigeria.

Where agile is being used

PwC itself recently launched an Innovation and Experience Centre in Nigeria, which was established to focus on driving growth in Fintech. Crucial to realising the potential of Fintech, however, is to have talented individuals who have the skills to use Fintech to their advantage.

Therefore, high on the agenda for the financial services sector is to develop digital talent. Fostering this ability also serves another goal that is high on the agenda at present – that of boosting productivity in financial services. PwC reports that the sector is currently suffering from a deficit in productivity.

Financial services firm have made a number of efforts recently to boost their productivity. These include a focus on cost-cutting, skimming the workforce, investing in automation and artificial intelligence, and even offshoring. Nevertheless, these measures have reportedly not produced the desired results.

Where agile benefits

PwC recommends some potential solutions to this scenario. “Creating a 'task catalogue' of key responsibilities specific to particular roles and positions can facilitate disciplined time tracking in areas beyond IT, allow for comparability across employees and locations, and enable financial institutions to better examine the nature of work inherent in various roles and divide work into more efficient bundles,” says the report.

The firm also reports that agile approaches have strongly benefitted the sector. “The agile management approach, draws from a broad set of practices, including; scrum, extreme programming, DevsecOps, lean, humancentered design and continuous improvement. And when organisations employ these techniques across the company, we call it 'enterprise agility,” explains PwC.