LAGOS, Nigeria – Interswitch, Africa’s leading integrated payments and digital commerce company, has emphasised the need for more innovative solutions to effectively address issues hindering the growth of intra-continental trade.
This submission was made by Akeem Lawal, Managing Director, Payment Processing & Switching (Interswitch Purepay) during a panel session at the recently concluded 2023 Zenith Bank International Trade Seminar held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to Lawal, he noted that the prevailing issues limiting cross-border payments can be solved through advanced digital payment platforms that enable seamless intra-continental transactions.
He acknowledged the prevailing issues affecting cross-border payments, positing that existing infrastructure can be improved to create opportunities for businesses within Nigeria to transact with businesses beyond the borders of the country.
He said, “Businesses can achieve greater strides by embracing digitisation. This opportunity cuts across private businesses, government parastatals and financial institutions. Digitisation is critical for designing platforms for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the export business to enable them complete transactions successfully with little to no constraints.”
The seminar themed, “Nigerian Non-Oil Export Industry: The Present, The Future”, also identified the impact of Nigeria’s service industry, with a focus on the creative and technology sectors and their impact to the country’s development.
Speaking on the critical significance of these sectors, Lawal emphasised the need for fortified public-private partnerships to drive growth in Nigeria’s service industry which has consistently played a substantial role in the country’s overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He noted that Nigeria was a high exporter of technological expertise and that a significant investment in technology-focused companies would augment the sector’s contribution to the economy.
As part of the collaboration between the government and private sector players, Lawal highlighted necessary interventions that would support the growth and development of the service sector including training workshops, the promotion of innovative systems, and conducive policy implementation.
In the same vein, Lawal stressed the need for more robust investment vehicles targeted at the country’s fintech sector to drive tremendous growth in Nigeria.
In his welcome address, Dr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Group Managing Director/CEO, Zenith Bank Plc, underscored the need for Nigeria to recognize its huge potential as a continental powerhouse, shifting its focus from oil products to non-oil commodities to derive value for the economy.
He called for the need to tap into the country’s rich resources and to establish production bases that will support development, to create a ripple effect on a continental level.
The trade seminar drew major stakeholders from both public and private sectors who expounded on the way forward for Nigeria and Africa at large.