TeamApt, a Nigerian fintech startup has disclosed that it working on tech for non-interest financing for small businesses in the north of the country.

“We expect to have banking partnerships to bring the product to life,” Tosin Eniolorunda, founder and CEO of TeamApt, told Salaam Gateway. The company plans to launch the product in the coming quarters after regulatory approvals.

Nigeria’s bustling fintech scene raised more than $600 million in funding the past five years. In 2019 alone, the West African nation attracted a quarter of the $491.6 million solicited by African tech start-ups and is now home to over 200 fintech standalone companies.

Financial technology is seen as a huge enabler to improve financial inclusion and there has been a lot of regulatory as well as private sector focus on fintech.

However, a lot more regulatory support seems inevitable or Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN) won’t achieve its ambitious goal of having 95% of the population financially included by 2024. Financial inclusion was 63.2% in 2018 and as it stands, the goal of 80% financial inclusion this year is unlikely to happen.

“Many of these [unbanked] individuals are in the informal economy, often in remote areas that are not easily accessible,” said Eniolorunda.

“Fintechs and banks must be ready to adopt a more flexible approach to onboarding these individuals than what has been done to date.”

Fintech adoption is highest in Lagos and growing in the South. However, it remains nascent in the North, a region with a high Muslim concentration.

As over 53% of Nigeria’s estimated 214 million population are Muslim, this segment is underserved. This is the big gap that TeamApt is addressing.

Developing this underserved segment requires focused investment in digital ID growth, financial education, and telecommunication infrastructure, explicitly targeting Muslim demographics and geographies, Eniolorunda reckons.

Musa Suleiman
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